By Eh’den Biber
“THE SUPREME UNDERSTANDING TRANSCENDS ALL THIS AND THAT. THE SUPREME ACTION EMBRACES GREAT RESOURCEFULNESS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT.”
(Tilopa’s Song of Mahamudra , Dutton edition called “Only One Sky”)
A few years ago my best friend was sitting next to her dad’s bed. It was a cold winter night, and he was dying of a stomach cancer. For more than six hours she set there, alone, tortured by her dad excruciating pain, and the fact she was unable to help him nor knew what to do. Late at night her dad took his last breath, and left this world. After he did, she called me, crying, telling me it was the most horrible experience she ever had.
Death, the final frontier, has been a profound element in what we call “self-awareness”. All human cultures that we know of – both in current days and in the past – have and had death-related rituals. Death is as integrated in the fabric of our existence as life is, and our ability to acknowledge is an indication of our evolutionary state.
The realisation of the notion of death is an evolutionary process. You first develop a sense of self (ego), and then you discover (or become “aware”) that this self is limited, that it must die at some point. The ego then depend on the information it will receive and how it will interpret it to devise plan on how to handle that fact, and that plan will be engraved in him and define many of his actions, consciously and subconsciously, becoming the young ego biggest challenge.