Chapter 9 - Death & the Eternal

Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.

When you walk through a forest, you see not only abundant, fertile life, but also decaying and dying fallen trees and leaves. Wherever you look, there is death as well as life. However, when you look closer, you see that the decaying trees and leaves give birth to new life and are full of microorganisms and life itself.

Most people turn away from death in fear; however, acceptance that life is fleeting and impermanent can bring a sense of peace, as you lose attachment to form, to the human body. A culture that is in denial about death becomes shallow and superficial, concerned only with the external form of things. When death is denied, life loses its depth. Death is the opening of the possibility of knowing ourselves beyond our name and form.

Death is not the dreadful event that modern culture would have you believe, but the most natural thing in the world, inseparable from and just as natural as birth. Remind yourself of this when you sit with a dying person. It is a great privilege and a sacred act to be present at a person’s death as a witness and companion. Surrender completely to the moment—with the surrender comes stillness, and with the stillness comes Peace.

Actions to take

Principles to follow