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Why do we avoid talking about something that’s guaranteed to come our way? Which part of d-y-i-n-g scares me the most? What keeps me believing that others will and I won’t die tomorrow, makes me fuss with savings so I’ll be secure ‘when I get old,’ makes me hord stuff ‘just in case I need it,’ and why, pray, am I shocked when someone I know dies unexpectedly?

We smother our secret fears of impermanence by surrounding ourselves with more and more goods (writes Sogyal Rinpoche), more and more things, more and more comforts, only to find ourselves their slaves. All our time and energy is exhausted simply maintaining them. Our only aim in life soon becomes to keep everything as safe and secure as possible. … sogyalWhen changes do happen, we find the quickest remedy, some slick and temporary solutions. And so our lives drift on, unless a serious illness or disaster shakes us out of our stupor. 

O my! what will I do with my precious stuff? I wish someone would just come and take/throw/give it all away: I wouldn’t know the difference. What a relief that would be. But ask me to sort through the things I haven’t seen, used, or missed for ages … and I’d rather put it off for another day. What’s with that?

source: Sogyal Rinpoche (1992). The Tibetan book of living and dying. San Francisco: Harper, p.18.


One response »

  1. When my friend, Baba, a sadhu from India, came to visit me, he arrived with the clothes on his back, and a beautiful wooden pot that he used for holding his food, and bathing…nothing else. When I traveled with him in India, many years before, the freedom he experienced from not having possessions left a huge impression on me.


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