Risking All, Gaining More
We all change. Or do we? Do we grow, or do we decay? Lao Tse says that most people live either in fear of death, fear of life, or fear of change. Only the one who is released from all these fears is really alive. In embracing our own death we begin to live. Beginning to live, we encounter change. Accepting change we can become who we really are. Risking All, Gaining More.
Is Life Real?
Do we just consider an idea, and say, “yep?” If we’re not doing the change, we’re not making the change, are we? In some places a novice monk will spend a few weeks in the crypt, with only the bones of monks long dead for company. This helps him take it to heart that his own bones will one day join them. Having passed his time there he can join the living, with the liberating reminder, “brother, we are going to die.” We all change. Or do we?
Is Death Real?
Not all of us have this option. We can, though, take slow walks through graveyards and consider the brief “biographies” on the stones. “Beloved wife, 1887 – 1924.” Only thirty-seven years. Where there no children? How did she die? How did she live? Another one lived a long life, and has a tall, marble monument where the others are limestone. Yet now, who, even, was he?
We can visit people in nursing homes. Many have had rich lives, now live as prisoners. Some have raised children who now show up on the odd Thanksgiving, or maybe a birthday. Where – and how – will our own lives end?
Can We Have One Without the Other?
This kind of exercise hurts. If it doesn’t, then we’re not doing it right, are we? When we embrace death we find that is not only cold, but prickly. We all tend to be too full of ourselves until we’ve been properly wounded. But then, the choice is ours, to grow, or not. Either way, we change.
To Look a Little Deeper,
When we change, what stays the same, to see the change, or help it happen? Living, what dies? Dying, what lives? These questions may sound silly, but could that be just from our never having thought about them? Inside the lessons, opinions, styles, and preferences, what are we, really? The Tao of Prayer looks into what we really are, and aren’t with help from some of the world’s greatest minds from ancient time onward.