At this very moment, as I write, a small group of friends are gathered around a bed near London. A man is dying; body and mind are dropping away.
The greatest gift anybody can offer the dying is simply to sit still. Not grasping after life nor wishing it’s ending before time has ripened and marks it’s moment. That’s the very same sitting still we call meditation. Meditation is to sit like a dying person allowing body and mind to drop away, there is nothing to do. The difference between just sitting, and a dying person just sitting, is that when the bell rings we get up and step into life. And when the ‘Golden Bell that rings but once’ rings for the dying there is just stepping out into The Great Unknowing. That’s Eternal, Unconditioned Love if we must have words, and sometimes words are helpful in order to give expression to silent faith.
How very easy it is to get caught up in doing life, and forget to live. Living does not mean to gather more experiences to retrieve latter when health, youth and vitality have drained away. Grasping at life, rather like gathering ripe cherry’s into a basket to eat latter, regurgitating and eating them, again and again is to live in the past. Stepping into life, the cherries fall into our basket, they are eaten and digested and forgotten. Life nourishes in the living of it. That’s to live with a pure and gentle heart when time and space loose their usual meaning. And life and death do not stand apart.
Many thanks to the group of trainees who have gathered around to sit still and who have kept me informed. A special thanks to John who reads this blog and who has remained a pillar of strength these last long weeks and months.