2 - death 3
I believe in the
of the soul because
within me immortal longings.
There is, I know not
how, a certain presage, as it were,
of a future
and this takes the deepest root,
and is most discoverable,
in the greatest geniuses
and most exalted souls.
idea of full dress is preparation for a battle comes not from
a belief that it will add
to the fighting ability. The
preparation is for death, in case that should be the result
the conflict. Every Indian wants to look his or her best
when they go to meet
Spirit, so the dressing up is
done whether an imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a
sickness or injury at times of peace.
Why shed tears that you must
die? For if your past life has been one
of enjoyment, and if all your pleasures have not passed through your
mind, as through a sieve, and vanished, leaving not a rack behind, why
then do you not, like a thankful guest, rise cheerfully from life's
and with a quiet mind go take your rest.
Life is going
forth; death is returning home.
equally pointless to weep because
we won't be alive a
from now as that we were not here
Michel de Montaigne
Master Tanzan, on the day of his death, called upon
to send a batch of identical postcards. Each one said simply:
"I am departing this world. There will be no further
traditional Zen story
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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He is not
dead, this friend; not dead,
Gone some few, trifling steps ahead,
And nearer to the end;
So that you, too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
You fancy dead.
creator would never have made
such lovely days
and have given us
the deep hearts to enjoy them,
beyond all thought, unless
we were meant to be immortal.
I am not going
to die. I'm
going home like a shooting star.
is on my head but eternal spring is in my heart. The
nearer I approach the end,
the plainer I hear around me
the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me.
It is marvelous yet simple. For half a
century I have been writing my thoughts in
prose, verse, history, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode and
song--I have tried all;
but I feel that I have not said a thousandth
part of what is in me. When I have gone
down to the grave I can say like many others, "I have finished my
day's work," but I
cannot say, "I have finished my life's work"; my day's work will
the next morning.
The tomb is not a blind alley. It is an open thoroughfare.
It closes in the twilight but
opens with the dawn. My work is only beginning; my work is
hardly above its foundation.
I would gladly see it mounting forever. The thirst for the
infinite proves infinity.
and the Flowers
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
"Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he;
"Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is
sweet to me,
I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
"My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,"
The Reaper said, and smiled;
"Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.
"They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear."
And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.
Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;
'T was an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.
|If we really believed that those who
are gone from us were as truly
alive as ourselves,
could not invest the subject with such awful
gloom as we do. If we could imbue
our children with
faith in immortality, we should never speak of
people as dead,
passed into another world. We should
speak of the body as a cast-off
had outgrown; consecrated indeed by the
that used it for a season,
but of no value within itself.
Lydia Maria Child
It was not until after the coming of Christ
time and humans
could breathe freely. It was not until
after him that people began
to live toward the future. Humans do not
die in a ditch like a
dog--but at home
history, while the work toward
of death is
in full swing;
they die sharing in this work.
Death stands above me,
I know not what into my ear;
Of his strange language all I know
Is, there is not a word of fear.
Walter Savage Landor
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living deeply have no fear of death.
The deep pain that is felt at the
death of every friendly soul arises
there is in every individual something
to him or her alone
and is therefore
absolutely and irretrievably lost.
some persons died, and others did not die,
indeed be a terrible affliction.
Jean de la Bruyere
does not cease to be funny when
people die any
it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
George Bernard Shaw
"We must live," and seeks the means
increasing, facilitating and amplifying life,
of making it tolerable
wisdom says: "We must die," and
how to make us die well.
proud she was to die
It made us all ashamed
That what we cherished, so unknown
To her desire seemed.
satisfied to go
Where none of us should be,
Immediately, that anguish stooped
Almost to jealousy.
find by losing. We hold fast by letting go. We become something new
by ceasing to be something old. This seems to be close to the heart of that
mystery. I know no more now than I ever did about the far side
as the last letting-go of all, but now I know
that I do not need to know,
and that I do not need
to be afraid of not knowing.
God knows. That is all that matters.
Death is simply a shedding of
the physical body,
butterfly coming out of a cocoon. . . . It's like putting
away your winter coat when spring comes.
|Death is by no
means separate from life. . . . We all interact with death
every day, tasting it as we might a wine, feeling its keen edge even
trifling losses and disappointments, holding it by the hand,
as a dancer might a partner, in every separation.
We treat death as a tragedy, as an ending of
the good times. But what
could think of it as it
really is in nature, a process of physical change,
transformation, something you cannot alter and so
accept? Then it's possible to look
directly at it
instead of turning away
in fear, to examine it instead of
shunning it in denial.
Do not fear
death, but welcome it, since it too comes from nature. For just
we are young and grow old, and flourish and reach maturity, have teeth
a beard and grey hairs, conceive, become pregnant, and bring forth new
and all the other natural processes that follow the seasons of our
so also do we have death.
A thoughtful person will never take death lightly,
impatiently, or scornfully,
but will wait for it as one of life's natural processes.
one of the most revered spiritual teachers of this
century, once asked a small group of listeners what they would say
to a close friend who is about to die. Their answers dealt with
assurances, words about beginnings and endings, and various gestures
of compassion. Krishnamurti stopped them short. There is
thing you can say to give your deepest comfort, he said. Tell
in his death a part of you also dies and goes with him.
Wherever he goes, you go also. He will not be alone.
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is nothing to us, since when we are, death has
and when death has come, we are not.
day, which you fear as being the end of all things,
is the birthday of your eternity.
2 - death 3
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the
that our years are limited which makes them so
precious. It is the truth
that time is but lent to us
which makes us, at our best, look upon our
years as a
trust handed into our temporary keeping.
are born for a higher destiny than that of earth; there
is a realm where
the rainbow never fades, where the stars
will be spread before us like islands
that slumber on the
ocean, and where the beings that pass before us
shadows will stay in our presence forever.
moment comes when the great nurse, death, takes a human, the child,
by the hand and quietly says, "It is time to go home. Night
is coming. It is
your bedtime, child of earth. Come; you're tired. Lie down
at last in the
quiet nursery of nature and sleep. Sleep well. The day is
Stars shine in the canopy of eternity."
Nursing and Coming to Terms
With Patient Deaths:
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|Do not stand at my
grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled light.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
We enjoy some
gratification when our good friends die; for though their
death leaves us in sorrow, we have the consolatory assurance that they
are beyond the ills by which in this life even the best of people
are broken down or corrupted.
death comes, it respects neither age nor merit. It sweeps from
this earthly existence the sick and the strong, the rich and the poor,
and should teach us to be prepared for death.
|Death is the final stage of
growth in this life. There is no total death.
Only the body dies. The self or the spirit, or whatever you may
to label it, is eternal. You may interpret this in
any way that makes you comfortable.
An awareness of death enables
us to live each day each moment--filled
with appreciation for the unique opportunity we have to create
of our time on earth. I believe that in order to enjoy true
should live each moment as if it were our last. Today will never
We may speak of the past or of the future, but the only reality we
that of this present instant. And confronting the reality of
enables us to bring unlimited creativity, courage and joy
into each instant of our lives.
Day by Day
teaches us--if we want to hear--that the time is now. The time
is now to pick up the telephone and call the person that you
teaches us the joy of the moment. It teaches us we don't have
It teaches us that nothing is permanent. It teaches us to let
nothing you can hang on to. And it tells us to give up
let tomorrow tell its own story, because nobody knows if they'll get
tonight. To me that's a tremendous challenge. Death says,
Loving, and Learning