We all live in a world of movement. The seasons cycle, there is birth and death moment to moment. We witness it within ourselves as simple as our breath cycling in and out and as profound as how much we change from birth, through adolescent all the way through old age and finally we come to death…if we live a long life. For others their path may be shorter. Regardless of length, there is a cycle of birth and death.
Nature carries the same cycles within the seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter. In the growing of a plant and flowering and dying. Everywhere we go we see change. And yet, being open to change is one of humans biggest resistance. Why?
With so much information going around with Robin William’s recent death, people are talking. People are looking. Looking for answers, looking for understanding and looking for meaning and comfort in what seems to some a selfish act on his part. Everyone seems to have an opinion. And ultimately who is the opinion benefiting?
Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?
Where does one turn to when everyone is looking for the same answers and comfort?
The same grasping.
Some turn to religion, some turn to addiction and some turn to friends, family, social media while others go and search within. What are the answers? Answers to depression. Answers about mental illness. Answers about how someone so funny and so obviously committed to others well-being care so little for themselves or family? Who’s opinions are these? How does it relate to you?
What is it that we are really afraid of? Why are people so rattled? There is death around us all the time. Do you not see it? Our mortality is real and how one dies apparently is becoming the universal point of expansion in our lives.
Change brings both fear of death and fear of the unknown to a pinhead.
I want to share a story here. At least 10 years ago (maybe more), I once went on a retreat on Salt Spring Island (in British Columbia) and the Buddhist nun there was incredible. I told her that I have been to many teachings and read several dharma books and they all say to reflect on death. Some say even 10 x a day. Not to dwell on it but to understand the nature of impermanence. I asked her does this make it happen? As in would we manifest dying because we would be thinking about it so much. She said no. Then she explained that death is a law like gravity. It’s going to happen no matter what. So being afraid of something that happens no matter what isn’t worthy of running from. Rather facing it and understanding it so when the time comes you are at ease with it.
I have learned by reflecting on death it allows us to grasp the quality of its reality. That all things are impermanent. When we train our mind in how to die, we directly influence ourselves on how to live. It brings a profound view of how precious everything is. It brings a deeper gratitude into our beings. It brings joy and love and other precious gifts fuller and deeper into our being. The quality of life expands and opens us up to being more available to what possibilities exist instead of resisting things out of fear. I have found many religions bring so much fear to people. Unless your faith about death is unwavering from a near death experience, most people fear the unknown. I believe this unknown is more of the issue then death itself.
The Buddha says, “Everything is like a bubble. You never know which comes first, tomorrow or the next world.”.
These words are engrained deep inside of me. For I continue to train my mind to know what’s most important. In doing so, when life events happen, I have developed resilience to what I see and fear. My faith in the unseen is protecting me. My faith in myself is stronger and I will be a person others can lean into for support during tough times. Without this foundation, my mind will blow like the wind and have nothing to cling on to. It will pass through all the stories not knowing which one to grasp and cling to for dear life.
Robin Williams really has given us many many gifts if you want to know. The most important one I believe is the gift of just how precious human life is. What more do you want? What more can you say? Ultimately it is our own path to walk alone on and it is our passion for living that will touch others. It is with this hope that we may reach out to one another in humanity and lean on each other and bless each other with the grace of love.