Death is what makes us human.
We are spiritual beings moving on this Earth plane in these human shells. These physical bodies are alive, and so it is also natural for our bodies to eventually die. There are two common meditations on death in the Tibetan tradition. The first meditation focuses on the certainty and imminence of death, in order to motivate us to make the best use of our lives. The second meditation is a rehearsal of the actual death process, with the purpose to familiarize us with death and take away the fear of the unknown, thus allowing us to die skillfully.
Grief is not a feeling. Grief is a skill.
“Grief is not a feeling. Grief is a skill. And the twin of grief as a skill of life is the skill of being able to praise or love life, which means wherever you find one authentically done, the other is close at hand. Grief and the praise of life: side by side.” – Stephen Jenkinson
There are five stages of grieving, also known as the Kübler-Ross model. Applicable to grieving of all kinds, from relationship break-ups, to death and dying, referring to this model can be quite helpful during times of intense emotional work.
Stage 1: Denial
Stage 2: Anger
Stage 3: Bargaining
Stage 4: Depression
Stage 5: Acceptance
“There is a hole inside most of us and it’s in the approximate shape of a soul.” (Jenkinson)
Griefwalker: The Trailer
“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
One side. One boundary.
The wondrous Mobius strip is a non-orientable surface with only one side and only one boundary component. If you run your finger along the surface of a Mobius strip, beginning at any point, you will end up exactly where you began without ever losing contact with the strip, thus the Mobius strip is a never-ending continuation of surface.
The heart journey models the Mobius strip in that it never loses its way home. The eternal looping and journey of the heart is where we all eventually find ourselves. So you see, you never have to worry about getting lost or taking the wrong direction, because this heart journey has only one side and only one path. It is non-orientable, non-discriminating, and non-judgemental. The Mobius strip of the heart is what continuously guides our love.
The beautiful thing is that the heart can never get lost. Our hearts are on auto-pilot and the destination is the Now. All we have to do is sit back, and take in all the emotions, all the highs and lows we experience, letting them rush through and over us. Knowing that we cannot go astray, we can relax into trust of the heart’s compass.
Wabi-sabi comprehends Japanese aesthetic, surrounding the acceptance of transience, impermanence, and imperfection. We see this concept embodied in Japanese construction (zen gardens, tea houses) and the arts (Ikebana/flower arrangement, tea ceremony, Hagi ware/pottery). Wabi-sabi originates from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence: 1) Impermanence; 2) Suffering; and 3) Emptiness or absence of self-nature.
Wabi: Original meaning was the loneliness of living in nature, being remote from the rest of society. Today, wabi refers to rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and the beauty in human-error during construction of objects.
Sabi: Used to mean chill, lean or withered. Now sabi also encompasses the beauty or serenity that comes with age, as the object displays wear and tear.
The beauty in our world is derived from imperfection and impermanence.
We can find celebration in each day as we gracefully observe our physical bodies move through their life cycles. Let us embrace the progression of aging, and find the sweetness, stillness, and surprise in letting go. Our relationships, too, both with ourselves and with others, are impermanent, and it is surrender that saves us from the pain we feel from attachment. There is much to learn in aloneness. It’s about being gentle with our souls and recognizing the simplicity in our purpose for being on Earth’s plane.
Look around you, in this exact moment, and
breathe in the absolute beauty found in the thousands of imperfections.
I see artwork of trees bathed in sunlight framed by the windows, the gentle billowing of a curtain though a sliding door opened part way, and the mosaic of indentations of paw prints from my cat on the beige carpet. None of these forms have mathematical formulas, yet there is a precision and a knowing in their imperfections. It is about finding form in the unformed.