Monday, March 25, 2013
DYING FROM ONE MOMENT TO THE NEXT---MINDFULLY
'Because God is full of life, I imagine each morning Almighty God says to the sun, "Do it again"; and every evening to the moon and the stars, "Do it again"; and every springtime to the daisies, "Do it again"; and every time a child is born into the world asking for curtain call, that the heart of the God might once more ring out in the heart of the babe.'
So wrote one of my favourite prelates, Fulton J. Sheen (pictured left), in Life is Worth Living. He often said those words in his sermons and public addresses. They are beautiful words, speaking as they do about the renewal---or renewing---of life each day.
Yes, life is all about death and renewal, and as we approach Easter it is appropriate to consider the matter.
Living is all about dying. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. We all must die, death is the gateway to life---all that sort of thing. No, it’s much deeper than that. In order to live fully we must learn how to ‘die’ from moment to moment, that is, to die, not just each day, but each minute and each moment of each minute. Jiddu Krishnamurti (pictured below) wrote:
'How necessary it is to die each day, to die each minute to everything, to the many yesterdays and to the moment that has just gone by! Without death there is no renewing, without death there is no creation.'
We cling to our likes and dislikes, our memories and beliefs, our predilections and prejudices, all of which is---the past, as well as the ‘self.’ The tragedy is not so much that we hold on to these things---although that is bad in itself---but we try to experience life through these things whilst clinging to them. The result? Everything becomes blurred and distorted.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, which marks the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion. As Jesus entered the city, riding on a donkey---how rich in symbolism that is----the crowds shouted ‘Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The word ‘hosanna’ means----save now. It refers to a calm surrender and submission, a letting go, a ‘not my will but thine be done’ mindset. Yes, it’s a bit similar to the Arabic word ‘Islam,’ which has the same idea of letting go, calm acceptance of what is, submission, and surrender.
The ‘secret’ is to practise dying---psychologically, that is---from one moment to the next. Dying to all our psychological images (our likes, dislikes, beliefs, predilections, prejudices, etc) and conditioning, in order that we might see things-as-they-really-are, not as we might want them to be. Unless we die to the past on a moment-to-moment basis, not only do we fail to see things-as-they-really-are, but those psychological images will simply be reborn again and again, further distorting our vision and experience of life as it unfolds from one moment to the next.
So, practise dying---psychologically, that is---until it becomes habitual. How? Don’t ask ‘how’---when you ask ‘how,’ you are seeking a method, a technique. Methods and techniques are conditioning---the past. Just do it. Look, choicelessly, at each image as it arises. Don’t identify with it. Don’t judge, evaluate or analyze it. Don’t try to drive it away. There must be no desire to change anything. Just look and observe. Stay with it---the feeling or whatever---until it is fully explored and understood. Then it will be discarded---finished. It dies by attrition, so to speak.
This is the only way to live. All religions teach this important truth---the need to die to self in order to be resurrected into newness of life. The wonderful thing is this---we can all be resurrected into newness of life whenever we start practising the gentle but noble art of dying from moment to moment.
Try it---today. Do it. Now!