PDA

View Full Version : Eckhart on Death & Dying



DaBee
03-25-2011, 06:41 AM
Q: How does one be with the process of death in such a way that it can be celebrated?

ET: Death is a great opportunity because death is one way in which the formless dimension comes into this life. Itís precisely at the moment of the fading of the form, that the formless comes into this life. But if that is not accepted, and the fading of form is denied, then itís a missed opportunity.

As people around you pass away, you become increasingly aware of your own mortality. The body will dissolve. Many people still, in our civilization, they deny death. They donít want to think about it, donít want to give it any attention.

There is enormous potential there for spiritual flowering. Even in people who, up to the point of the beginning of the fading of the form, were completely identified with the form. Itís your last chance in this incarnation, as your body begins to fade Ė or you are becoming aware of this limited lifespan. Itís your last chance to go beyond identification with form. This is true whether itís to do with your body, or somebody elseís body.

In the proximity of death, there is always that grace hiding underneath the seemingly negative event. Death in our civilization is seen as entirely negative, as if it shouldnít be happening. Because itís denied, people are so shocked when somebody dies Ė as if itís not possible. We donít live with the familiarity of death, as some more ancient cultures still do. The familiarity of death isnít there. Everything is hidden, the dead body is hidden. In India you can see the dead bodies being carried through the streets, and being burned in public. To the Westerners, itís terrible.

As the consciousness is changing, I feel that more and more death will become an important part of the evolutionary process, the process of the arising consciousness on our planet.

At any age, the form can dissolve. Even if you are very young, you may encounter death close to you. At any age, it is extremely helpful to become familiar with, or comfortable with, the impermanence of the physical form.

I recommend to everybody, to occasionally visit the cemetery. If itís a nice cemetery, that makes it more pleasant. Some cemeteries are like beautiful parks, you can walk around and feel extremely peaceful. But even if itís not nice, spiritually it is just as helpful to walk around the cemetery and contemplate the fact of death. I still do that, quite often, whenever I have a chance.

In Europe, in the villages and so on, you have a cemetery next to the church very often. I love walking around there. My favorite thing is reading the names on the gravestones. Sometimes if the gravestones are very old, youíll see that the name is not there anymore Ė it got eroded by the weather.

Itís the contemplation of death and the acceptance of the impermanent nature of the human form that opens up, if you accept it. Donít intellectualize it. Donít come to some kind of conclusion about it. Just stay with the simple ďisnessĒ of the fact of the impermanence of the human form, and accept that for what it is without going any further. If you go further, you get into comforting beliefs, thatís very nice too. But what I am driving at is something deeper than comforting beliefs Ė instead of going to some kind of conclusion, stay with the fact of the impermanence of the human form, and contemplate this fact.

With the contemplation of the impermanence of the human form, something very deep and peaceful opens up inside you. That is why I enjoy going to cemeteries. When you accept the impermanence, out of that comes an opening within, which is beyond form. That which is not touched by death, the formless, comes forward as you completely accept the impermanence of all forms. Thatís why it is so deeply peaceful to contemplate death.

If someone close to you dies, then there is an added dimension. You may find there is deep sadness. The form also was precious, although what you loved in the form was the formless. And yet, you weep because of the fading form. There too, you come to an acceptance Ė especially if you are already familiar with death, you already know that everything dies Ė then you can accept it more easily when it happens to somebody close to you. There is still deep sadness, but then you can have the two dimensions simultaneously Ė the outer you weeps, the inner and most essential is deeply at peace. It comes forward almost as if it were saying ďthere is no deathĒ. Itís peace.

PMilam
03-26-2011, 11:07 AM
this is beautiful, Deb.. thanks for sharing it.
I'm reading some interesting stuff on death.. and thinking about it a lot.. some days it seems very close, other days.. I feel that I will live on for a while.
I don't fear death itself.. I had a death experience in my early 20's. It was total peace.. interrupted by the shock of being "saved". I was depressed for some time, from being robbed of that peace. So.. I know that actual death will be ok.

I just feel that I've had all the physical pain I can bear.. of course.. we can usually bear a lot more than we think we can. That is the fear that I battle... the fear of pain.

My nephew said he thinks of his own death as becoming a drop of water that drops into an ocean, a return to the whole.
A loss of separateness. I like that image.

I wish more people were willing and able to speak of death. I think we could all benefit from the conversation. Years ago, I watched a documentary on how different cultures deal with death. Most are very different from our stoic, don't-let-em-see-you-cry ways.

I am sad for people that see death as something to fear.. that think.. heaven or hell. Not a living soul knows what comes after this body fades out. No one.

DaBee
03-26-2011, 10:13 PM
I too wish that more folks felt comfortable about discussing death. I think it is fascinating. I've taken my grandchildren to several different cemetery's. It allows for conversation about death and dying, which I feel is good to be open about with kids. They have some very interesting questions and comments and it becomes easier and less frightening for them to talk about. I'm realizing, too, that we adults don't have to have answers to everything. It's OK to say, "I don't know".
My focus is of tomorrow being a day of ease and comfort for you, Patt.

Teresa DeVito
04-09-2011, 07:45 AM
My ex husband use to get horribly upset about the prospect of death and he was perfectly healthy. I use to tell him he was spending his whole life dying.

I too have no fear of death but at the same time, want to stay here for a long time and be with people I love. I figure that's just survival instinct and just being human.

Sometimes when life is moving so quickly that I can't keep up, the idea of death actually keeps me mentally balanced. I tell myself, yes, it's important to get all those tasks finished but in the end, it's just stuff. Have another cup of coffee before jumping back in.

I love you two ladies. That's the important stuff.

Teresa DeVito
04-10-2011, 02:34 PM
How are you, Patt? I've been thinking about your post and it got me wondering,,,, will pain medication be able to help you through the pain? Are you opting for trying to not use it? I was just thinking that if given the choice of pain or being more present through the experience, which would I choose? I hope you aren't in pain. I hope I'm not being too personal. I also thought that everything must look different from the perspective of someone who is terminal. But then, we all are. And maybe therein lies the answer on how to live. Like there's no tomorrow.

PMilam
04-10-2011, 10:29 PM
Mostly I feel weak, no energy.. and belly pain.. it's very different.. it's hard to tell hunger from fullness from gas.. I described it as the gut reaction when your teen in 3 hrs late doesn't answer the phone.. and none of her friend have been in touch with her..
and today I have felt better than I have in close to two weeks. I cleaned the hummingbird feeders, filled them.. Craig hung them up. I walked, very slowly, to the river... it was gloriously beautiful! Got part of the way back up... and had to stop.. then sit.. then lie down for about 15 min.. and slowly, slowly got back up the hill.
then I sat in the recliner.. and that was that.. nitie nite

Teresa DeVito
04-11-2011, 07:06 AM
Sounds like a wonderful day, Patt. Hope today is a great one too! XOXO

DaBee
04-11-2011, 09:30 AM
So happy you made it to the river yesterday, Patt.......even if you did have to practically crawl back! Hope you can getcha a golf cart soon - can just see you toolin' around the place.....make sure it has a horn :).
Let me know how the Hospice plan sets up for you - and put me on the schedule!
Love you, P.
Love you, T.

Teresa DeVito
04-11-2011, 11:13 AM
Patt, I am available for you any Wednesdays. I will alter my work schedule if you needed anything any other days.

PMilam
04-12-2011, 08:44 AM
Mostly I feel weak, no energy.. and belly pain.. it's very different.. it's hard to tell hunger from fullness from gas.. I described it as the gut reaction when your teen in 3 hrs late doesn't answer the phone.. and none of her friend have been in touch with her..
and today I have felt better than I have in close to two weeks. I cleaned the hummingbird feeders, filled them.. Craig hung them up. I walked, very slowly, to the river... it was gloriously beautiful! Got part of the way back up... and had to stop.. then sit.. then lie down for about 15 min.. and slowly, slowly got back up the hill.
then I sat in the recliner.. and that was that.. nitie nite......

well, I wrote that yesterday.. today I woke throwing up.. just up for my ovaltine & meds..
One good day.. I think I wrung out every ounce of energy.. today.. I ain't got it..
Heading back to bed.. I guess hospice is postponed another day.. ??.. maybe she will come out later.

and again... I'm not hitting reply.. slept til 7pm... up for about 3 hrs.. back to bed... feeling better today.. hospice is on their way out. I'm feeling like a ping pong!!

Deb, Teresa... sweet hearts.. I will put you on the list.. maybe they can do a better job of scheduling that I do! Thank you!!!

Teresa DeVito
04-12-2011, 09:37 AM
Patt, I am still good to go on painting your bedroom. How are you feeling about that?

PMilam
04-16-2011, 09:06 AM
You have already done so much by doing the living room.. not a day goes by that I don't look around and think of how grateful I am to have this color surrounding me and give thanks to you. Just the other day.. someone that just knows you from geekfest was here... and was talking about the wonderful paint job and colors.. I told him you did it... he looked stunned... " a woman did this all by herself!?!?!?!"
I don't want to overtax you.. or take advantage.. and how could I say no??.. you know how doubtful I was when you said you would paint it a month or two down the line.. I doubted that I would be here to enjoy it.
Of course, I still don't know.. but.. I am still here.. and finding joy and love in every day. If you have the time and energy, I would adore you even more!!

DaBee
04-16-2011, 09:55 AM
Could I come watch and get some painting tips? Can't wait to see what the colors will be. Love the big room colors!

Teresa DeVito
04-16-2011, 10:25 PM
Patt, you are still here and that's great!!!! I would love to paint the bedroom and it would be so cool if you were there, Deb.

April I'm free Tues and Wed. In May we open Tuesdays so if you feel like it, next week or the following. Do you remember the 2 colors off hand? I've got it written down somewhere. It might take a minute to remember where since moving. I am very excited to be there with you all again! :)