A Conversation About Dying

Tuesday 19 May, 2020

Two days ago I talked with someone about death and dying. It was an open, accepting and honest conversation full of liberation and beauty. The person with whom I spoke has suffered so much for so many years that, even at their relatively young age, they are ready for an end to it all. If life happens to improve soon, then great, that’s one way for the pain to end. But they are no longer holding out any hope, having already sailed over that particular horizon. Another way for the pain to end is death, and the more we talked about it and embraced the idea as a realistic possibility imbued with permission and blessing, the lighter and more beautiful the conversation became.

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We Are Wonderful. All Of Us.

Wednesday 7 August, 2019

At the start of this year, in the middle of Winter, I was committed to the realisation of the True Self – that which lies beyond the conditioned, worldly self. It felt as though, after all the self-development work I had done, I had the finish line in my sights and all I had to do was move deeper and deeper into the richness and beauty of spiritual freedom. Spring and Summer, however, brought inescapable insight, and as we approach the out-breath transformation into Autumn, things look very different.

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A Tragic Breakthrough

Thursday 1 August, 2019

We hadn’t spoken for well over 20 years. Not because we’d fallen out. We weren’t close enough for that. We had know each other as kids at school and through football, and we drank in the same pubs growing up. In time, he began travelling the country with work, and eventually I left the country. I hadn’t seen him since. But two years ago he contacted me, having read some of my writing. This was his first message to me:

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Life Is Unimaginably Large

Tuesday 31 January, 2017

Everyone at some point in their life – whether out of desperation or curiosity – has wondered about the meaning or purpose of life. It’s the biggest question there is; and the reason the answer is so elusive is because life itself is so unimaginably large. We struggle to wrap our heads around the size and scope of it and yet, paradoxically, we are life. Fortunately, as I discovered years ago, the solution lies within the paradox. It helps to see life as a fractal, in which the whole is contained in every part: we are a fraction of life, and yet every feature of life is within each of us.

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Lighten Up With A ‘Deathpresso’

Wednesday 27 July, 2016

She pointed to a place across the main road. I registered an immediate aversion, but was carried forward by a strategy I tend to employ with her: Go wherever she goes. (Not in a subservient way, but because she so often appears fearless, and it really is a joy to behold.) We were looking for somewhere to have an iced coffee on a hot day in Hamburg, and she was intent on crossing the road. My reluctance stemmed from the name of the establishment: Deathpresso. And just in case that were not enough, peering down onto the pavement tables was the logo: a smiling, mischievous-looking skull, hollowed out and filled with coffee.

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A Story Of Two People

Monday 21 April, 2014

There’s a woman who treads the pathways of the park where I take my morning walk. She pushes an old pram filled with bread and the treasures she finds in the bins she systematically searches, stopping periodically to feed the ducks, swans, seagulls, pigeons and the park’s resident heron. My first sightings of her triggered my judgmental side which quickly concluded that she is probably crazy and really shouldn’t be feeding the animals, but I kept my thoughts to myself and said ‘Good morning‘ whenever we passed each other. This morning I saw her up on the hill, inspecting the contents of a bin flanked by two benches, each supporting a sleeping bag, doubtless filled with the same homeless people I had seen the previous day.

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From Curiosity To Reflection

Saturday 8 February, 2014

I ended the first post of this series talking about having the curiosity of a child in a brand new playground. As I wrote that line I questioned whether the analogy was still appropriate. Yesterday, during our most illuminating conversation so far, I got my answer. Karaj asked me whether I could recall at what point in my life my journey of self-development had begun. It felt as though he was searching for information to satisfy his own curiosity, rather than to make a point for my benefit. It felt different to how our relationship used to be.

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Saying Goodbye

Saturday 24 May, 2003

The common thread of this 3-day weekend was Ishwar’s letter to his dying father. We began early, in the first supervision. Ishwar needs to say goodbye but he was not sure how to. I told him he’ll find the words. Karaj added, as an aside, that I have not been in Adapted Child since I sorted things out with my dad.

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Dying

Saturday 5 May, 2001

06.30 E&M 100 mins. Dad phoned to say that Gran was still in hospital and not doing very well. He has not been doing very well either – his health has suffered since his mum collapsed. I debated whether or not to go and see him. Seven days ago I had written this:

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