If we want to live fully, to risk intimacy and closeness with other persons, it is essential that we embrace the reality of death.
Being alive as a separate person is one end of a polarity which includes death. We do our best to deny this truth. Much of the anxiety that we experience arises from this unconscious fear of death. We and our loved ones may be healthy today, but we know in the back of our minds that sickness or death will soon be with us. There is also a shadowy intuition that accidental death is but a moment away. We say, "drive carefully" when we would more honestly say. "I am afraid that I am going to lose you in a car accident".
The contemplation of death occupies a central and honored place in Buddhist meditative training. Some people, when they hear of this, imagine that such reflections must result in a morbid and depressed outlook on life. Quite to the contrary however, when we openly face the previously unconscious fears, a new joy, freedom and aliveness appear.
During this day of practice, in the supportive community of PIMC, we will use mindfulness to bring stability and clarity to the mind. With this foundation we will turn our minds to a variety of contemplations of death.