The Art of Dying
Death with Dignity, Conscious Dying and End of Life Issues
Paramahansa Yogananda—"The Last Smile"
A photograph taken an hour before his mahasamadhi (a yogi's
final conscious exit from the body); at a banquet held in honor
of Ambassador Binay R. Sen of India, March 7, 1952, in Los Angeles,
The photographer has here caught a loving smile that appears to be a
farewell benediction for each one of the master's millions of friends,
students, and disciples. The eyes that already were gazing into
Eternity are yet full of human warmth and understanding.
Death had no power of disintegration over this incomparable devotee
of God; his body manifested a phenomenal state of immutability.
The photographer has here caught a loving smile that appears to be a farewell benediction for each one of the master's millions of friends, students, and disciples. The eyes that already were gazing into Eternity are yet full of human warmth and understanding.
Death had no power of disintegration over this incomparable devotee of God; his body manifested a phenomenal state of immutability.
Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California, 1973, p.571
Contemplation of Death and Dying
"Of all footsteps, that of the elephant is supreme;
Of all mindfulness meditations, that on death is supreme."
Death is the great mystery. It comes for all of us sometime, but we don't know when. Most of us would rather not think about it. Not thinking about it, we protect ourselves from fear by creating illusion.
Death and Life
"Both despair and euphoria about death are an evasion.
Death is neither depressing nor exciting; it is simply a fact of life."
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Precious life slips and falls
We materially advanced westerners have few guideposts for managing our experiences with death. We gape at it on the movie screen-- images spiced with explosions, smoke, and flame, with short takes and quick cuts, but we rarely look it in the face. Never see it with unblinking eyes. We eat meat killed conveniently out of sight. Our executions are behind high prison walls. We turn away from the squashed opposum on the road. Our families give up their last breath all too often in hospitals that are to the spirit as a vacuum is to air. Some of us allow our nation's children to carry guns and shoot each other down in the street as we sit idly by insulated by newsprint and videotape.
Look around at those you share air with. Think of your family and friends. How would you respond if these individuals were gone for good?
How can you prepare yourself for the loss.
What has been left unsaid?
What has been left undone?
What amends would you regret not making?
What can you do now to bring a greater sense of completion to your life?
Interlude: An Internet Retreat - Information, resources, ideas, and wisdom from many spiritual traditions to enlighten, inspire and educate. Brought to you by the Cybermonks. A wonderful place to renew your spirit, regain your composure and bring a few moments of peace to your Internet experience. Some of the jewels to be found here are: Thought of the Day, Meditation of the Week, a very eclectic collection of Prayers, and an inspiring collection of Poetry from Keats, Rilke, Kabir and others. The Meditation Archive is a real treasure. Great links!
by Alex Grey
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