28 September, 2009
When I read about this it just struck me… a grieving female senator, who’s rich, adventuresome husband died while climbing. Sounds like a new movie. Clifton Maloney, a millionaire invest banker died on a mountain climbing expedition in the Himalayas. Big deal you say? Well, he was happy (quoted by him) and died in his sleep doing something he liked to do. If we could all be so lucky. He could have spent years in a home or intensive care, or living with a stroke praying for death to come knocking. And they said, with some exasperation “but had been in excellent health."
I spent Sunday hearing dhamma by Theravada monks, meditating on a body, getting older every minute. Developing loving kindness for myself while this process is happening. It doesn’t take but a quick look in the mirror in the morning to say, Geez, I am gonna have to get a larger mirror to cover that expanse moving south. That is, if I can still see it! Now, I get it. The reason why our vision goes as we age is so that we don’t have to see this mess so clearly. Oh, you say… just think young! Thinking young doesn’t get me very far when I swim, do yoga, or run in the company of 20-30 somethings.
So, I know I have to work on my mind to accept natural process of aging, illness and the dependency on others. I depended on my family when I had my brain injury, much to my surprise. I had no choice when it happened. I could not even talk enough to say, just leave me alone. How silly would be while intensive care? And if I said to the nurses, well, I just would not be here at all. So, it is beginning to make sense to get as much wisdom by reflecting on the body. Because I don’t buy the 60, is the new 40. It is not a good game plan to count on this. This doesn’t mean we have to give up on taking care of our bodies. Just work on the subtle mind that tells us in so many ways: We won’t die, at least now, so just forget about it and this day will never come. This leads to saying things we regret, acting out or procrastinating on doing things like a trust. Our fear leads us in the wrong direction from wisdom. If we introduce the inevitability of this natural process often, we can make subtle changes in consciousness bringing awareness and acceptance. It will relax our natural tendency to hold on for dear life to something that is constantly changing.
After sitting, we did walking meditation thinking, on one foot: it is the nature of our body to age, and the other foot: It is the nature of our body to get sick while placing them. On the way back we would think, It is nature with one foot and the other, Get used to it. Later in the day, I walked an imaginary path of my lifespan, which I had marked in an area with sun(life, so far) and shade(the unknown future) and I had a slight hesitation walking into the shade each time. It was subtle, but it hinted clearly my fear of what will be next. This whole day of contemplation did not make me feel depressed at all, but instead make me feel happier and lighter. Just what wisdom is supposed to do.