Jul 15, 2011

birth and death

at noon, six of us showed up for meditation practice. 
afterwards, we began our discussion with a chapter from Chogyam Trungpa's book, Smile at Fear and wound our way round fear to the subject of death.
a fine traditional Buddhist topic for a beautiful summer afternoon. 
awareness of one's fear of death, and appreciation of the impermanence of life, can have a beautiful effect on how you live.

the six of us, all women today, all know we are going to die, have been dying since we were born. 
as Buddhists, we are accustomed if not comfortable with that understanding, although knowing it and KNOWING it are not really the same.

only one of us has an actual doctor's assurance that she is dying... and barring some strange accident, she knows what she will die of...in the near future.
she described for us what that is like, and how you can't comprehend that you are going to die in quite that mind-stopping way until a doctor tells you that this is it.  
she described some of what she has wrestled with; she said often people say they'd like to die in their sleep, but she wants to be there for her death -- she said "i missed my birth, but i want to be present for my death!"

another of the group said that giving birth, which 3 of us have done, seems similar to dying. 
for one thing, she said, we couldn't possibly convey a full understanding of what it is like to give birth.
those of us who've borne children agreed, it is an experience beyond transmission. the non-moms looked like maybe they thought they knew quite well what childbirth is like.

the moms smiled to themselves remembering how manners, poses, learned behaviors, modesty, ego, fall away and become irrelevant when you are aware and giving birth... and so also, can we assume?... when one is aware and meeting death.


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