I stumbled across a film by chance the other day, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation (full movie embedded below). For me the film is more like what it is like to be alive, than dead. The drama; the mystery; the illusions; the concepts; the confusion; the laughter; the tears — the dance of it all. The beauty & ugliness of it all. The sacredness of it all. It’s represented as the experience of death in the film (for the dead & the ones dealing with death), but I see it as life.
Finding the balance between material & metaphysical is imperative. And why would we ever believe otherwise, since we are of the two? One way to realize such balance is by reverence. Deep respect for both aspects of ourselves — both aspects of life. In this reverence, our life is sacred, as all lives are sacred. Everything becomes a gift. Humility becomes the ultimate virtue. Not a false humility, that we sometimes present to each other, but a real humility. A humility that is honest, that knows its place in the universe. That kind of humility is not immobilizing, but liberating. It sets one free of any self-importance based on confusion.
Arrogance can create so much disharmony & unhappiness for people. Considering all of the privilege, intelligence, creativity, & abundance Western culture has, or any modern-day culture (that the west has more than likely influenced), they haven’t figured out how to be at peace (with life, or with themselves), or how to be content (even thought they have more than enough). It’s easy to see the truth in this quote by Robert Thurman: “In contrast to Western ideas, the Tibetan view is that the mental or spiritual cannot always be reduced to material quanta and manipulated as such —- the spiritual is itself an active energy in nature, subtle but more powerful than the material.”
Modern-day culture, is so focused on the material side of life: be it money (the number one goal for most people’s day), processions (the number two goal for most people’s lives), or physical looks (the obsession people have with the body’s appearance is extreme — to the point where surgery, as well as toxic grooming procedures is the norm). Where is the other side of life? And I don’t mean religion, because to me that doesn’t mean spiritual — it means ritual. When I say spiritual, I mean that which can not be labeled. There would be no words I could use to represent it. No ritual I could do to capture it. As well as no individual that has exclusive rights to it.
I found a great comment on Youtube. It was posted in regards to the film on The Tibetan Book of the Dead: “We are constantly dying, each moment. Where is the You of 3 years old? That is not you. That 3 year old is long gone. Consciousness is constantly morphing into something else but it will never know Non-existence. Non-existence doesn’t exist and cannot be known. The mistake is to identify with the contents of consciousness, rather than consciousness itself. It is your history that makes you believe you are a person. ‘You’ are not the Dreamer. ‘You’ are the Dreamed.”
I loved reading this line: The mistake is to identify with the contents of consciousness, rather than consciousness itself. If you look back on much (or all) of one’s personal suffering, how much of it is based on this false identification? For me I can easily say all of it. It’s clear to me that when I am most happy, or when I truly feel free or content, it is when I am simply awareness. In that moment, the fixation on something or to be something, or to have things go my way, completely disappears. What is left is only the force which moves all things & unites all things. Everything becomes a dance, a play of energy. A moment to moment expression in form. Death & birth are equal, like seasons, they simply give way to the next phase of life. Therefore, death is not the end of life, but life itself. When we can’t embrace death, we aren’t embracing life.
That being said, for most of us, the idea of death, or of change is a scary one. A topic most wish to avoid or coverup. The fear that our physical form (or form in general) is temporary, is an overwhelming thought. It’s overwhelming because it forces us to give up control. To give up any idea that we can take things with us; to give up the idea that we know all about life (including all stages of it, like birth or death); to give up and accept, that the bodies of those we love are only here for a short time; to accept that we can’t stop our decaying process, as we move closer to death with each passing day.
What we can do, is love & appreciate. Take good care of the body we temporarily get to use as we experience the world; gently use the resources that we have available to us & give back to those resources by helping them to flourish & stay beautiful for future generations; have compassion towards all life & this includes all living beings (regardless of species); love as best we can & as much as we can (ideally, loving unconditionally); & finally, laugh with life & enjoy it all. Enjoy every minute as an opportunity to love, to learn & to evolve. Freely & humbly enjoying all that life is — at whatever season or phase it may be passing though.
I posted this quote on my Facebook page this week, & I think it’s a perfect quote to end on: “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
[The last quote is by George Santayana.]