Byron Katie on Death and Cancer

A doctor once took a sample of my blood and came back to me with a long face. He said he was bringing bad news; he was very sorry, but I had cancer. Bad news? I couldn’t help laughing. When I looked at him, I saw that he was quite taken aback. Not everyone understands this kind of laughter. Later, it turned out that I didn’t have cancer, and that was good news too.

The truth is that until we love cancer, we can’t love life. It doesn’t matter what symbols we use—poverty, loneliness, loss—it’s the concepts of good and bad that we attach to them that make us suffer. I was sitting once with a friend who had a huge tumor, and the doctors had given her just a few weeks to live. As I was leaving her bedside, she said, “I love you,” and I said, “No, you don’t. You can’t love me until you love your tumor. Every concept that you put onto that tumor, you’ll eventually put onto me. The first time I don’t give you what you want, or threaten what you believe, you’ll put that concept onto me.” This might sound harsh, but my friend had asked me to always tell her the truth. The tears in her eyes were tears of gratitude, she said.

No one knows what’s good and what’s bad. No one knows what death is. Maybe it’s not a something; maybe it’s not even a nothing. It’s the pure unknown, and I love that. We imagine that death is a state of being or a state of nothingness, and we frighten ourselves with our own concepts. I’m a lover of what is: I love sickness and health, coming and going, life and death. I see life and death as equal. Reality is good; so death must be good, whatever it is, if it’s anything at all.

Until you experience death as a gift, your work’s not done. So if you’re afraid of it, that shows you what to question next. There’s nothing else to do; you’re either believing these childish stories, or you’re questioning them—there’s no other choice. What’s not okay about dying? You close your eyes every night, and you go to sleep. People look forward to it; some people actually prefer that part. And that’s as bad as it gets, except for your belief that says there’s something else. Before a thought, there’s no one, nothing—only peace that doesn’t even recognize itself as peace.

What I know about dying is that when there’s no escape, when you know that no one is coming to save you, there’s no fear. You just don’t bother. The worst thing that can happen on your deathbed is a belief. Nothing worse than that has ever happened. So if you are lying on your deathbed and the doctor says it’s all over for you and you believe him, all the confusion stops. You no longer have anything to lose. And in that peace, there is only you.

People who know there’s no hope are free; decisions are out of their hands. It has always been that way, but some people have to die bodily to find out. No wonder they smile on their deathbeds. Dying is everything they were looking for in life: they’ve given up the delusion of being in charge. When there’s no choice, there’s no fear. They begin to realize that nothing was ever born but a dream and nothing ever dies but a dream.

When you’re clear about death, you can be totally present with someone who’s dying, and no matter what kind of pain she appears to be experiencing, it doesn’t affect your happiness. You’re free to just love her, to hold her and care for her, because it’s your nature to do that. To come to that person in fear is to teach fear: she looks into your eyes and gets the message that she is in deep trouble. But if you come in peace, fearlessly, she looks into your eyes and sees that whatever is happening is good.

Photo: Nic Askew

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The Reality of Continual Change by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

“Years ago I heard someone quote the Zen master Suzuki Roshi as saying, ‘We don’t need to learn to let go. We just need to recognize what is already gone.’ This is the reality we must face in every moment: the reality of impermanence, the reality of continual change, the reality of loss as part of a human life and the reality of our own mortality. No two moments of ‘now’ are same. It’s not that we lack the ability to be present. It is that we move away from the present moment in our desire to deny or at least minimize the experience of change and loss that is life. In our war with the reality of impermanence we move away from our own experience in this moment and so lose access to that which can take us to the essential and infinite stillness within that sustains us even when those losses are painful.”
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer from The Call

“No One Is an Island”

by Liz Jansen

No one is an island. Not even a free-spirited, independent motorcycle rider. The relationship between motorcycle and rider teaches us how to create healthy, interdependent relationships.

Interdependent RelationshipWithout a rider, the bike just sits there. And without a bike, the rider walks. Or finds another form of transportation, which can’t help but pale in comparison to the joy and exhilaration of a motorcycle ride.

  1. Boundaries. Like a motorcycle and rider, each partner is a distinct being with clear, healthy boundaries. Each has their own source of power, origin and ability to function independently.
  1. Uniqueness. Like a motorcycle and rider, each partner has own identifiable characteristics and needs. A motorcycle is a very different entity than its rider. It looks different and operates in a completely different manner. Even though you’re headed in the same direction, riding a motorcycle any distance teaches you that the needs of both partners must be met if the relationship is going to go anywhere. Click to tweet quote.
  1. Common Ground. Unique in your own right, you are drawn together by a common purpose, cause or passion. You still have interests outside the relationship, but unite for a specific reason.
  1. Synergy. Coming together to create a third distinct being, i.e. the partnership, your energy, strength and effectiveness are far greater than the sum of the parts. This radiates beyond the time you’re together, leaving a legacy trail. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, synergy is an unmistakable byproduct of an interdependent relationship.
  1. Responsiveness. One partner’s desires cannot take precedence at the expense of the other. Quite often they’re not on the same schedule, but if one has an immediate need, it must be addressed. If your bike needs refuelling, you got to stop and gas up. If you need a break, even though your bike’s gas tank may be full, it’s time to pull off the road.
  1. Communication. It takes effort from both parties to communicate in a manner that gets the point across, enhances effectiveness and averts misunderstandings. Accomplish this through active listening, focus in the moment, attention to nonverbal signals and remaining open to the needs and desires of the other.
  1. Awareness. As you get to know each other, you become more cognizant of the other’s strengths and shadows. If you’re open and receptive, by understanding each other, you also learn about yourself. This enables you to grow both as an individual and as as an individual and as a partnership.
  1. Tolerance. Riding a motorcycle is not always comfortable. Nor are relationships. There are times when you need to be willing to tolerate discomfort to get to your destination, as long as safety isn’t compromised. Patience, compassion, focusing on common ground and keeping your eye on the goal will get you there.
  1. Evolution. As unique beings, you have your own life path, part of which you share. Recognize that change in one party affects the dynamics of the relationship and the road can get rough while things are resolved. As you gain awareness, self-confidence and trust in your partner, you naturally evolve to more challenging roads and situations. Your experiences together become richer and more gratifying.

An interdependent relationship is far more fulfilling than one where partners are independent, dependent or co-dependent. Looking for these characteristics and applying them to your own close relationships enriches your life, your Road and those you share it with.

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photo credit: bill barber via photopin cc

‘Disarming the Narcissist”

For those of you who are interested in Narcissim or are wondering if you are in a relationship with a narcissist…..the book “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy T. Behary can be helpful in providing insight into the challenging personality characteristics of the Self-Absorbed.

“Isness” by Eckhart Tolle

“Through allowing the ‘isness’ of all things, a deeper dimension reveals itself to you as an abiding presence, an unchanging deep stillness, an uncaused joy beyond good and bad. This is the joy of Being, the peace of God.”

Find the Self by Mooji

Don’t worry about your problems.
Don’t worry about the worst thing in the world.
Find the Best thing in the world
and it will take care of everything.
Find the Self.

~Mooji
from White Fire

Judging

Observe how the mind labels an unpleasant moment and how this labeling process, this continuous sitting in judgment, creates pain and unhappiness.

Eckhart Tolle

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