One of the truths of this life is that no one is getting out alive.
Another important lesson is that ultimately, the only real Truth (or "Truth" with a capital T" as I like to call it) is "that which does not change."
Think about that for a moment. What in your life does not change?
Bodies change, seasons change, things grow and decay, emotions change with the drop of a hat and thoughts change faster than we can follow them.
At the core of every human being however, there is an aspect that does not change. It's that part that rests below the surface, the part of us to which nothing has ever happened. Call it Consciousness, Soul, Higher Self, Divine Spark, God or the Universe, this un-changing Truth is at the core of human experience.
When a person is born we rejoice, and when they're married we jubilate, but when they die we try to pretend nothing has happened.- Margaret Mead
Thinking today about the physical death of a dear spiritual teacher I receive another lesson.
An important question is, "Where am I placing my reference point?" "What do I choose to identify with."
When we identify with the Outer Self, or changing day to day life events, circumstances and opinions, we are tossed about in a tremendous sea of ups and downs. Our reference point is always changing. Today I'm good because I accomplished this. Tuesday was great because I did something my family was happy with. Today I avoided gluten, dairy and sugar and I feel great; I'm doing good.
Each of those "up waves" has a "down wave" counterpart. Today I suck because I only got two things done on my to do list. Tuesday was terrible because my decision disappointed my friend. Today I'm falling short because I ate junk food and feel like crap; I should know better. It's very difficult to cultivate a healthy body, mind or spiritual path when our reference point has us riding the waves.
No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.- C.S. Lewis
When we plant our reference point of identity and worth in our inner world, on that Truth that never changes, we have a lighthouse for our journey. Although things get cloudy, busy, emotional, etc. when we stop to check our reference point, it's always there, and we can stand on it.
We still strive to achieve in the outer world, cultivate harmonious relationships, take care of our health and bodies, but we do so with the knowing that we are skillfully playing an outer game, not as if our identity depends on it.
She was no longer wresting with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. - George Eliot
We can also cling to this reference point when people physically die and leave this world.
When our reference point is on "that which does not change" we may feel the emotions of loss or grief but they move through us while we stay steady, experiencing emotions without riding them as waves. The essence of those we love and are connected to is that unchanging mystery wearing different masks. No One and No Thing is ever really gone when they are held in our hearts and we carry the gifts others have given us into our own lives.
May we plant our reference point on Truth.
May we see through the noise and distractions of the outer world.
May we turn towards what matters and
Have the discrimination to know the difference.