First Breath, Last Breath
This morning a dear sangha sister passed away. She had a blessed life, even though her body suffered a disease that would eventually claim her. She was so beautiful in her last day. I could see she was actively traversing the bardo of dying with grace and grit. With her last breath, she offered us a renewed awareness about life. There is a saying in the East that the only thing we need to remember about being born is that our first breath brings us closer to our eventual last breath.
Walking in a body and negotiating the twists and turns of this momentary existence is an incredible gift—often squandered by our stifled breathing. We hold our breath and hope to have a happy life. A death always a reminds us of first and last breaths. If we live with this awareness, we can take a deep breath and reawaken to the life revealed in all the little deaths we experience in the bardo of living. We become more alive in our remembrance of death.
So, as we bear witness to another physical death in our midst, may it serve to awaken us, help us to live with the awareness we are now one breath closer to our last. May we remember to let go and breathe the light of love into this precious moment. May we recognize our shared breath in this grand experiment we call living.
May all beings be happy and breathe freely.