Monday, April 1, 2013

An Unnerving Stranger

I often find, in my coaching and in my conversations, that a common thread will establish itself for a day or two (or week or two). Recently, it has been a discussion of our unhealthy dependence on external validation. In that vein, this passage from Sogyal Rinpoche's "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" has struck a chord with me tonight.

“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography," our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn't that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?” 

He has also been quoted as saying,

“...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.” 

I actually really get that, and like to think that I am moving closer to that state every day.

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