April 2006

I Am Going To Die

I am going to die.

So are you.

There is nothing else to know. Everything you think you know about the next moment, or the next week, or the next month is only pretend. Or call it denial. The only thing you can know beyond this immediate moment is this: "I will die."

That is the beauty in the release of every exhale, it gives me this: the certainty that I will die.

Here's a picture to ponder: You are on a vast and empty plain. You take a step. As your foot touches down, creation appears. There are plants, trees, streams, meadows, buildings, animals, people, who knows? You lift your foot for the next step and you are again on the empty plain. The plain of pure potential. Your foot swings forward for the next step, and all is formlessness. You know nothing but that you will die. Your foot touches down. Again, the moment is created. You live. With each step, you create your life from the plain of your own potential.

That is the beauty in the inspiration of every inhale, it gives me this: the certainty that I live.

This is what we can know, if we will, in any given moment: I live, I will die. This is what we can know, and this is all we can know.

The more thoroughly and intimately we know we will die, the more joyfully we experience that we live. A friend said to me: "I was washing the dishes, and I loved it, because I knew I might never wash another dish."

During your 15 minutes of breathing in the morning, begin with and focus on your exhale. Experience the release, and experience the certainly of your death. "I will die. Nothing else is known." With every exhale during the day, know that the only certainty is your death.

During your 15 minutes of breathing in the evening, begin with and focus on your inhale. Receive life, experience the joy of living. Hand-in-hand with death, know the wonder of life. "I live!" The certainty of death, the wonder of life -- there is nothing else you can know.

The next day, switch the order. Begin with inhale in the morning, with exhale in the evening.

The next day, switch again.


If all you can know is that you will die and that you live, what about all that other stuff you think you know?

Begin to discern between what you think you know and what you do know. More than likely, what you think you know is something you placed as a buffer between you and the certain knowledge that you will die. Pay attention to your thinking, pay attention to your language. Catch yourself assuming that you know something that you really don't know.

Can you dwell in "I don't know?" Can you experience the formlessness of the step in motion? Can you feel the wonder of life in the midst of the certainty of death?

Keep going with the breathing pattern, one day one way, the next day the other way, so on and so forth, for as long as it takes for you to notice something.

Then please report back to us. What do you notice during your breathing? What do you notice during your day? What do you notice about your dreams? What do you notice in your life at large? What does this all mean to you?