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How will you face death?

JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
edited June 2014 in Buddhism Today

Not long ago I would say just rest in my own mind. Just let whatever be there be there.

But I notice times in my life when I am fulfilled more often than not I am remembering or seeing old photos. My lama gives the instruction "relax into your heart connections" (at death). "heart connections" is somewhat cumbersome, but I think it is intuitive. All the kids you played with on the playground. All the people you don't remember when really depressed, but who you could remember if you were really thinking. I liked what @dharmamom said about not fitting everyone into your personal puzzle as your heart connections drift in and out of your life. Oh the sadness of moving on, but the freshness and sustenance of the 'heart memories'.

zombiegirlZetsuVictorious
«13

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    This past Sunday we visited two relatives graves, one by a crematorium. My jokes about being roasted at death were considered inappropriate and I had to adopt the appropriate solemnity. However my prayers/mantras are always welcome as no one else knows what to say at graves, too busy getting phones and iPads to take selfies . . .

    I feel I will be as bemused at the dying process as at the living. My personal identity will disintegrate soon enough. How will I engage with this process in reality as opposed to theory? Who knows.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 2014

    Kia Ora,

    How will you face death?

    The same as the last time/s I guess....(Part serious part non serious answer)

    Metta Shoshin :)

    Nele
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Two become one...

    yagr
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    A friend of mine summed it up best: "I'd like to die with a smile on my face, but I guess I'll take what I get."

    BunksBuddhadragonsndymornNichy
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    "I'd like to die like my old dad, peacefully in his sleep, not screaming like his passengers."

    More seriously though, I don't know. I have plenty of ideas on how I'd face being gravely ill and dying. But I think how we deal with it we just don't know until it happens. I think it's a good idea to prepare so you aren't scared and resisting, but I think most of that comes from family not wanting to let go. Almost everyone I've known who was dying, was very much at peace and ready to go, from a 15 year old who died of leukemia to my 98 year old great grandma.

    Bunkssndymornpersonrocala
  • poptartpoptart Veteran

    Woody Allen famously said, "I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

    I think Buddhist practice is the opposite of this. It's preparing to welcome that last visitor, instead of pushing the experience away like every other aversion.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Unless you've sat there or laid there and thought, "This might very well be my last night to live", you don't have the foggiest.

    ChazBuddhadragonEarthninja
  • robotrobot Veteran

    I think if someone practices realization of impermanence, then death is real regardless of whether it may happen tonite or in 40 years. You are not living with the illusion that you will never die, and can start to visualize what your death might be like.
    It's true that if you are actually dying, you can say that "this is how I am facing it".
    For many of us death will come while we are unconscious or demented.
    In my line of work, death sometimes comes with varying degrees of panic, anguish, and/or pain. Pretty hard to predict how I would face that.
    Lately, I've been having symptoms of artery blockage at my heart. While the doctors are not acting like there is any serious risk, and I have medication, my mind sometimes goes to thinking about what death from heart attack might be like while I'm at sea, and the complications it would present for my deckhand.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @robot said:

    ...

    Lately, I've been having symptoms of artery blockage at my heart. While the doctors are not acting like there is any serious risk, and I have medication, my mind sometimes goes to thinking about what death from heart attack might be like while I'm at sea, and the complications it would present for my deckhand.

    Exactly the kind of situation I'm talking about. You are actually facing a potentially life-ending medical problem. It's more real then, than something simply conceptual.

  • robotrobot Veteran

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things keep running till the fall and I can get a stent installed or something.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2014

    Until then of course, you're going to improve your diet, eat healthier foods, walk a lot and drink plenty of fresh water.... in other words, do as much as you possibly can to implement preventative measures..... ;) .

  • taiyakitaiyaki Veteran

    @Jeffrey‌

    I contemplate death pretty much like an object of meditation.

    Each moment I attempt to prepare for death. And then you die before dying.

    Hopelessness. Then you can make a good tea and just have fun.

    anataman
  • Woah93Woah93 Veteran

    As someone extremely curious, I think I will focus on rejoicing the fact that I will finally be able to figure out what actually happens after you die. I don't fear it or mourn it as that just makes no sense when every living being on this world will die. It's pretty much a part of existence. I might not think this way when it actually happens though... you never know :P

  • robotrobot Veteran

    @federica said:
    Until then of course, you're going to improve your diet, eat healthier foods, walk a lot and drink plenty of fresh water.... in other words, do as much as you possibly can to implement preventative measures..... ;) .

    Definetly trying to cut down on the salt and saturated fat for sure. Not sure about getting more excersize tho, on account of the angina. I couldn't really get a straight answer on whether or not to power through it.
    My health had always been pretty good. Not obese, non smoker/drinker. I didn't think I needed to worry about my diet because it seemed to be working. Turns out that's a pretty dumb way to look at it. It only works till it doesn't. Now I'm trying to not get any more blockage when I could have been trying to prevent it in the first place.

    Jeffrey
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    You just never know. I have far less than a stellar diet and hardly an avid exerciser. And when the heart issues suddenly appeared 3 years ago, my cardiologist and regular doctor said my dietary habits and sedentary life style, while not helping, had little to do with the heart issues. All hereditary.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think this article is quite interesting, with regard to the question of having to face one's mortality; time was when, assisted suicide, and euthanasia were (and still are) illegal, but it was ok for a Doctor within a Hospital to decide to withhold life-saving treatment, in the event of a terminally ill patient 'crashing', by legitimately putting "DNR" on their medical chart ('Do Not Resuscitate').

    That has now been declared illegal and unlawful, after this land-mark case, in the UK....

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    @robot said:
    My health had always been pretty good. Not obese, non smoker/drinker. I didn't think I needed to worry about my diet because it seemed to be working. Turns out that's a pretty dumb way to look at it. It only works till it doesn't. Now I'm trying to not get any more blockage when I could have been trying to prevent it in the first place.

    My dad takes a baby aspirin every day because aspirin can help if taken early in a heart attack.

  • In India, they cremate dead bodies in open spaces.
    In the west, we put make up on dead bodies and let them wear
    the nicest clothes. Some even inject formaldehyde to delay the process
    of decomposition (sad to say the Asians are doing it too).
    The fear of death is irrational.
    Why do we celebrate birth and dread death?

    Earthninja
  • The Buddha said death follows us like a shadow.
    You will die but you dont know when.
    It could be today, tomorrow or 10 years later.
    Every 2 seconds, someone dies in the world.
    From illness, accidents, old age, murder etc.
    Just accept that death is a part of life.

    Earthninja
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @hermitwin, nobody here is denying that death is inevitable. Or, if I missed the post, please tell me who.

    Most people do think of death for 2 reasons:
    1. How bad (as in painful) will it be for them.
    2. What really happens after death.

    And when your time nears, you'll dwell on it to.

    "And each one there,
    Has one thing shared --
    They have sweated beneath the same sun,
    Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
    And wept when it was all done,
    For bein' done too soon."
    -- Neil Diamond

  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    edited June 2014

    Every time I've ever had a death scare... be it a sudden drop in elevation while flying, or my body doing scary things that could be a really bad sign or completely innocuous or, even sometimes, the thought of taking my life into my own hands... My concern has always drifted to those that I perceive need me, and that's what makes me the saddest. I don't have many dependents, just the family, pets, my partner... but I just hope that when I pass, it won't be so untimely that I will still feel that burden.

    I know that this thought is somewhat irrational... For example, I will never stop missing my grandmother or feeling like there could have been so much more for her to teach me, had she lived a little longer... But I just hope that in the end, I know that everything will be okay for those left behind. The thought of the end does scare me, but it sort of pales in comparison when I think about those whose forevers are still open-ended.

    person
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Looking it straight in the eye

    BuddhadragonEarthninja
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 2014

    Kia Ora,

    How will you face death?

    When I think 'of' death (or about facing death) I'm venturing into the unknown...

    I'm under the impression that physical pain will end at death (when the consciousness leaves the body) but it's possible mental pain (one's unwholesome thought patterns etc) could carry on once the conscious physical form shuts down...

    So I would like to welcome death as a dear old friend whom I haven't seen in a while and look forward to catching up on things and spending time together, before the next journey/ adventure..."The next flash of lightening between two darknesses"

    Metta Shoshin :)

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    I feel like I've lived a long time already, I can only hope that when I die I understand what life is about. If I drown at least for a while my head was above water.

    I'd also like everybody to be around me, drinking champagne and wishing me a safe journey! Catch you in the next life!

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @Earthninja said:
    I feel like I've lived a long time already

    That's because you're young, @Earthninja.
    When you reach 43 like me, you feel as if you had lived several lives in one... and yet not long enough.

    Earthninja
  • yildunyildun Explorer

    hi Like this
    FROM

    Let Me Die A Youngman's Death - by Roger McGoug

    Or when I'm 104
    and banned from the Cavern
    may my mistress
    catching me in bed with her daughter
    and fearing for her son
    cut me up into little pieces
    and throw away every piece but one

    Let me die a youngman's death
    not a free from sin tiptoe in
    candle wax and waning death
    not a curtains drawn by angels borne
    'what a nice way to go' death

    slainte

  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran

    How will I face death? Who can say? Having not died, how can I offer an opinion?

    vinlyn
  • ShakShak Veteran

    Right now I'm trying to deal with my fathers impending death from cancer with what little wisdom and insight that I have. My own death? I'd like to thick I'd face it stoically, but who knows...

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    How is he dealing with his death @Shak?

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    @Theswingisyellow said:
    How will I face death? Who can say? Having not died, how can I offer an opinion?

    I mean do you have a practice to lean on? A number of teachers point out that it is good to have a practice already in hand as a plan.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    I mean do you have a practice to lean on? A number of teachers point out that it is good to have a practice already in hand as a plan.

    "I still have no confidence that at the moment of death I will really implement all these practices for which I have prepared. I have no guarantee! However, sometimes when I think about death I get some kind of excitement. Instead of fear, I have a feeling of curiosity and this makes it much easier for me to accept death. I wonder to what extent I can implement these practices."
    ("Facing death and dying well" - HH the Dalai Lama)

    anatamanJeffrey
  • MeisterBobMeisterBob Mindful Agnathiest CT , USA Veteran

    Head on...

  • ShakShak Veteran

    @anataman said:
    How is he dealing with his death Shak?

    He's got a pretty good attitude. At this point he wants to spend as much time with his family as he can. But he accepts the fact that the days ahead are fewer than those behind. It's hard for him when he's run down from chemotherapy. We all have an expiration date. It's easier not knowing when it is.

    anataman
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited June 2014

    To quote Tyrion Lannister when confronted by an axe wielding barbarian how he would like to die.

    KundoToshEarthninja
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    @Shak said:
    He's got a pretty good attitude. At this point he wants to spend as much time with his family as he can. But he accepts the fact that the days ahead are fewer than those behind. It's hard for him when he's run down from chemotherapy. We all have an expiration date. It's easier not knowing when it is.

    Does he have a faith, and is he talking about it, or to someone within his faith? If he is having angst and worries about his impending death, there is always a time to address it. Is he under the auspice of the hospice movement or similar organisation?

    A relative died a few years ago from a haematological malignancy, and had undergone repeated chemotherapy. He was a well-respected lay preacher, and although he looked bloated and bruised and utterly brought down as a human being, the twinkle in his eye spoke volumes. His faith was the strongest I have ever come across in another human being having been given the wink his time was near. He had made his peace with his view of the divine many years ago, and he was just waiting, amused even by the people fussing and weeping at the loss they were going to suffer around him. Some people however just treated him like a human being, and he was pleased to have normal interactions without the stain of death marring them.

    I hope your father's spirit holds true.

    metta

  • ShakShak Veteran

    @anataman, He isn't really a person of faith. There's not a single bible in his house, but oddly enough there are several statues of Buddhha around his house. I think a little bit of Zen rubbed off on him when he was stationed in Japan in the navy. He always approached menial tasks as though they were therapeutic( or medatative). I think that's the hardest part for him is not being able to spend time in the firewood pile or in the gardens.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    If I drown at least for a while my head was above water.

    Ah that reminds me of when I nearly drowned, when very young, before learning to swim. I became very calm, just swallowed water . . . was not old enough to close my mouth even. Thoughts arose: 'I am dying, that was not much of a life . . .' My father rescued me before death. Thanks dad.

    JeffreyKundoEarthninjaBuddhadragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    How DO lobsters drown, exactly....? :screwy: .

    Glad you lived to tell the tale.
    Imagine all the cushions we would have missed...

    KundoShoshinBuddhadragonlobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    I imagine with a lot of fear and regret. Maybe with some wet underpants as well depending on the circumstances. Not looking forward to it, really.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Then I guess the best thing you can do is be with him in a way you are both comfortable with. Have you told him much about you and your life recently?. Tell me to FOff if you think I am probing too deeply, or asking difficult questions; I guess your hands are pretty much tied up at the moment with everything thats going on...

  • ShakShak Veteran

    You don't need to FOff. We're pretty close and talk quite a bit. If he has a spiritual side he keeps it private. All I can do is be there for him and hopefully be there with him when he passes.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    How DO lobsters drown, exactly....? :screwy: .

    In hot water? ;) ...

    ShoshinShaklobster
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I thought I was going to die two nights ago during my MRI. I kept starting to chant the Refuge Vows but when I thought it was the end, I burst out into uncontrollable sobs then I had a seizure and the next thing I knew, I was looking up at two very concerned nurses and the ER doctor.

    So much for looking death between the eyes. But I'll take the reprieve and keep practising.

    federicaBuddhadragonCittalobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Thinking of you @dhammachick. It's ok to break down sobbing imho.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Thanks @Jeffrey‌ _ /\ _

    I take it as a timely reminder to be ever vigilant in my practise.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    That's not really a 'heart' for 'awesome', @dhammachick, that's a heart for lots of love....

    Buddhadragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @dhammachick said:
    In hot water? ;) ...

    Eeewwww.....!

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @federica said:
    That's not really a 'heart' for 'awesome', dhammachick, that's a heart for lots of love....

    Precisely what I thought ..
    :) ..

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