“The most important thing is to remember the most important thing.” Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi
In his fine recent blog, Ron Epstein wrote that for his mother, who had dementia & stage IV lung cancer, "Remembering the most important thing and forgetting the rest helped her to live with calmness, agency, gratitude, & dignity." https://mindfulpracticeinmedicine.com/remembering-and-forgetting/
This wonderful human capacity to thrive, even in situations that we usually fear & try desperately to avoid, is also found among : serious meditators & contemplatives, those who've had post-traumatic growth, near-death experiences, taken entheogens in carefully-controlled settings, etc. http://www.johnlovas.com/2021/03/fascinating-overlap.html
Fear and our survival instinct's (understandable) obsession with keeping us alive, despite the inevitability of death, keeps most of us at least a little disturbed for much of our life. The above groups, probably accounting for more than half of us, experience a radical shift in focus of attention from fearful, closed-down self-centeredness, to a profound heart-opening & loving connection with others.
“We suffer to the exact degree that we resist having our eyes & hearts opened.” Adyashanti
“All the joy the world contains
Has come through wishing happiness for others;
All the misery the world contains
Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.”
As we age, we can't help but notice how even our most basic physical, and some of our intellectual skills, are progressively diminishing. Then as we look at our aging loved ones, friends and even strangers we finally know through direct experience that indeed "everyone is carrying a heavy load." And so, our competitiveness & judgmental tendencies gradually evaporate, and we begin to wish the best for all the rest of humanity limping home.
"meditate one-pointedly on patience & love until
they take root in your being.” Dilgo
“… the larger ties that bind us – ties of love, connection, purpose – have ripple effects on our health and the world at large.”
Kelli Harding. “The Rabbit Effect. Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness.” Atria Books, 2019.
|Light Voyagers, oil on canvas, © Copyright, Mark Henson Markhensonart.com