Friday, December 21, 2007

Excerpt from A Thousand Names for Joy

What's not okay about dying? You close your eyes every night, and
you go to sleep. People look forward to it; some people actually prefer that part. And that's as bad as it gets, except for your belief that says there's something else. Before a thought, there's no one, nothing-only peace that doesn't even recognize itself as peace.

What I know about dying is that when there's no escape, when you
know that no one is coming to save you, there's no fear. You just don't bother. The worst thing that can happen on your deathbed is a belief. Nothing worse than that has ever happened. So if you are lying on your deathbed and the doctor says it's all over for you and you believe him, all the confusion stops. You no longer have anything to lose. And in that peace, there is only you.

People who know that there's no hope are free; decisions are out of
their hands. It has always been that way, but some people have to die bodily to find out. No wonder they smile on their deathbeds. Dying is everything they were looking for in life: they've given up the delusion of being in charge. When there's no choice, there's no fear. They begin to realize that nothing was ever born but a dream and nothing ever dies but a dream.

When you're clear about death, you can be totally present with
someone who's dying, and no matter what kind of pain she appears to be experiencing, it doesn't affect your happiness. You're free to just love her, to hold her and care for her, because it's your nature to do that. To go to that person in fear is to teach fear: she looks into your eyes and gets the message that she is in deep trouble. But if you come in peace, fearlessly, she looks into your eyes and sees that whatever is happening is good.

Dying is just like living. It has its own way, and you can't control
it. People think, "I want to be conscious when I die." That's hopeless. Even wanting to be conscious ten minutes from now is hopeless. You can only be conscious now. Everything you want is here in this moment.

~ Byron Katie

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