Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chapter 2 Verse 22

Chapter 2, Verse 22

"As a person lets go of an old garment
And puts on one that is new,
The soul leaves the mortal body
And then puts on one that is new."

Swami Satchidananda:

"You have a new shirt and you show it off, 'See how new it is? No wrinkles, so beautiful.' But when you start wearing it, it gets dirty and wrinkled. You keep on washing and ironing it, but at a certain point that can't be done anymore. So you just discard it. The body is like that, and that is a good way to think of death."

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

"I have a brown jacket with a Nehru collar, made in India, which has served me very well; I take good care of it, and I expect it to last me at least another five years. In just the same way, this body of mine is another brown jacket, made in south India and impeccably tailored to my requirements by the Master Tailor, whose label is in my heart. I hope this jacket lasts me longer than the other, so I am very careful with it. I give it the right amounts of nutritious food and exercise and keep it clean inside as well as out. But just like my Nehru jacket, this body-jacket will someday become too worn to serve me well, and having made this discovery that I am not only my body, when death comes I will be able to set it aside too, with no more tears than I would shed when I give my Nehru jacket to the Salvation Army.

When Ramana Maharshi's body was about to fall away and thousands of his Chelas [students] begged him to continue on, he said, 'No, this body is no longer able to serve you. As long as it can serve you, I will retain it, but when the time comes when it can no longer serve you, I am going to lay it aside.'

When you discover that you are not only your body, you discover simultaneously that others are not only their bodies either. You no longer see people as white or black, yellow or red or brown; you see people just like yourself wearing different colored jackets. You see everyone as an aspect of the Master Tailor…in disguise."

Eckhart Tolle:

"Of course you know you are going to die, but that remains simply a mental concept until you meet death 'in person' for the first time. When, through a serious illness or an accident that happens to you or someone close to you, or through the passing away of a loved one, death enters your life as the awareness of your own mortality, most people turn away from it in fear. However, if you do not flinch and face the fact that your body is fleeting and could dissolve at any moment, there will be some degree of dis-identification, however slight, from your own physical and psychological form, the 'me.' When you see and accept the impermanent nature of all life forms, a strange sense of peace comes upon you. Through facing death, your consciousness is freed to some extent from identification with form. This is why in some Buddhist traditions, the monks regularly visit the morgue to sit and meditate among the dead bodies.

There is still a widespread denial of death in Western cultures. Even old people try not to speak or think about it, and dead bodies are hidden away. A culture that denies death inevitably becomes shallow and superficial, concerned only with the external forms of things. When death is denied, life loses its depth. The possibility of knowing who we are beyond name and form, the dimension of the transcendent, disappears from our lives because death is the opening into that dimension."

[And not just the death of the body is an opening into the transcendent dimension…but those “little deaths” we experience during our lifetime present us with lessons by which we may learn how to enter that dimension while alive and well.]

Sally Kempton:

“In the Indian tradition, it is said that we practice Yogic disciplines so that they will be with us at the time of death. I’d say that we practice them for those little deaths that we face in the course of life. When you can meet your own vulnerability without armoring yourself against it, you begin to discover what I call ‘radical openness.’ Qualities such as generosity, gratitude, compassion, forgiveness and humility emerge from this place of
openness and vulnerability.”

Eckhart Tolle:

“People generally tend to be uncomfortable with endings, because every ending is a little death. Whenever an experience comes to an end…a gathering of friends, a vacation, your children leaving home…you die a little death. A structure that appeared in your consciousness as that experience dissolves. Often this leaves behind a feeling of emptiness that many people try hard not to feel and not to face.

If you can learn to accept and even welcome the endings in your life, you may find that the feeling of emptiness that initially felt uncomfortable turns into a sense of inner spaciousness that is deeply peaceful. By learning to die consciously in this way, you open yourself to Life.

Whenever a life form dissolves, God, the formless and unmanifested, shines through the opening left by the dissolving form. That is why the most sacred thing in life is death. That is why the peace of God can come to you through the contemplation and acceptance of death [both ‘the big one,’ signified by our own mortality, and those little ones we so often experience].”

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