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DIVESTING…

There is a Persian proverb in a book called
The Last Adventure of Life: vase-hands1Every man goes down to his death, bearing in
his hands only that which he has given away.

When I read this a year ago it gave me pause. I sat with that proverb for days and days, contemplating it like a koan, chewing on it, working it over in my mind, taking it to deeper and deeper levels.

I started asking myself on a regular basis: What am I holding on to today? Because whatever it is, it will be left behind when I die—unexpressed and unoffered. Gone. Finito. Buried with my corpse. That’s the truth of it. So, why do I hold back? Is it a fear of being too transparent, vulnerable, embarrassed, depleted? Is it pride? Am I unconscious? Why do I hesitate to offer that which could be helpful to another? Is it simply an old, tired habit?

I am not talking about unloading all of my personal possessions, though living less encumbered recently has been freeing and sweet. It’s more subtle than that. When I am with people do I give them my full attention? When a compliment comes into my mind, do I offer it? Do I engage life authentically? Do I express my love when it arises? Do I rejoice in the fortunate circumstances of others? When I pass from this life, will I regret that there was much more I could have given that I did not?

A sublime Buddhist teacher Khentrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche says that generosity is a mind that offers freely. A mind that is not contracted around self-interest, but one that is open and spontaneously responsive. So beautiful. Sounds simple really, but I do not find this easy to do. I am inconsistent, swayed by my capricious whims.

I had an engaging conversation with a dear friend last night over a bottle of wine. We acknowledged that my writing is more personal these days. This is true. I find I have things to say, and if left unsaid, they will go down with me. Where’s the benefit in that?

My son-in-law said to me recently, “You are divesting.” I think he meant that in a positive sense. I am letting go. More and more, I cling to less and less. It’s like preparing for dying, and as a consequence, for being fully alive. My writing is becoming an offering, a part of my practice. If you are following this blog, we are taking this journey together. I  welcome your reflections.

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11 thoughts on “DIVESTING…

  1. Candace-your words are so powerful, gritty & sublime- at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing your heart in this way & for opening mine…

  2. Beautiful, authentic, poignant and real. Filled with wisdom and vulnerability, just as you are my friend. So blessed to be on this journey with you. Much love

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