Practicing the Art of Dying


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    Published on Oct 28, 2021
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    'I used to marvel at the saints who purposely subjected themselves to bodily abuses. Now I understand that this passion for pain, even in the torture of martyrdom, represents the haste and impatience to no longer be interrupted and disturbed by the evil that can come from this side... So great is my fear of the body's abuse of the soul...'

    —Poet Rilke, in a letter to his lover, Salome

    Dying, before you die, is an art. If we practice with commitment, and are lucky, it might take us a life-time to get it right. It has something to do with detachment and surrender -- not to our stubborn ego, or insatiable desires -- but to Something Higher.

    Below, are the words to my poem I read, if you wish to follow along:

    Embracing, We Let Go

    Perhaps, we are negotiating
    not just with one, but always two
    -who share the same soil, it is true-
    one who lives, another who is dying

    A shift in balance begins to take place
    once a love of silence is confessed
    its roots run deep, its shade a world
    and her fruits impossible to forget

    From the first, we surrender something
    and, gradually, consent to be emptied
    transfixed by so much soundless music
    drunk and sated through lipless mouths

    What use to name this silent master
    preparing us for dying or the Divine
    (I’m not sure there is a difference)
    but know in embracing, we let go.

    © Yahia Lababidi, author of Learning to Pray

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