Deprive Death It’s Advantage

“To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one.

Let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it, let us have nothing more often in mind than death…

We do not know where death awaits us so let us wait for it everywhere.

To practice death is to practice freedom…a man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”

Michel de Montaigne

via cafe

Read the quote again.

And, this time, NOTICE the feelings and thoughts that are passing through your mind.  When you finish reading, just sit for a couple of minutes with your eyes closed.   NOTICE the thought or phrase that holds a dominant place in your heart.

If you are the ‘journaling-kind-of person’ , write about this experience.  This is a powerful meditation tool.  It’s short and simple and is, often, quite profitable.  Try it, You’ll like it.

When I re-read the quote this time, the phrase “let us have nothing more often in mind than death … to practice death is freedom” is what struck me most.    This is what I said I would be doing, am I doing it?  I think I am.   The only metaphor I can think of to compare “keeping death in mind”  is being pregnant:   the feelings and knowledge are constantly there; a peaceful acceptance that this body is doing something beyond my control; and it is very freeing.   We have a general idea of what the experience of birthing will be, but hey, things don’t always turn out the way we had hoped.

This is the summer of family responsibilities. I suspected that I wouldn’t have any time to blog but was fortunate to get one post out, and now this one.  It doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking notes though!   At the beginning of this marathon I knew I need to be ready to give it 100%+. I needed to be present to dearly loved ones who are going through a rough spot on the road.  There have been many tears, and through those tears was the experience of deep compassion; to really feel someone else’s pain.   And it’s a good thing.

During those times life no longer feels like a roller coaster, but a giant blender.  And we can get through these times without letting them disturb our inner peace – no matter how much we cry.  Even the occasional rant can’t disturb it.  Equanimity.  Dealing with things as they happen.  Even our 5-yr old understands “Doin’ The Tao”: letting go of self-importance, arrogance, craving, and other things in favor of going with the flow of life abiding a deep inner peace.

So, as I was falling asleep I thought “What happens at the end of this year that I’m practicing living as though it were my last?”  And the answer was there – Do it Again.

If you haven’t yet visited the “Death Cafe ” may I encourage you to so. You can get there via Facebook or at   I hope to be hosting one locally, at some point.   If you’re at all interested in The Tao, may I recommend “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff.


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