Tuesday, June 2, 2009

At a Crossroads...

Up until this point, my practice has not changed a great deal over the past months..

As of 08 June, however (coincidentally the one year anniversary of this blog) the practice turns its focus outwards and manifests more on a physical level.

This physical manifestation is in addition to the internal work that I am doing, not instead of..

Beginning on the 8th, I will begin to meditate upon 'Life in the Body' - what is it to live in a body? Where does it come from? Where does it go when I die? How do I come to terms with the physical limitations and temporal limitations of a physical body?

A poignant and perhaps difficult process which will begin on that date... (well.. begin physically as I have been turning over in my mind and considering for some time now...) is the process of writing letters to my surviving friends and family members. I believe that the point of these letters is to write them and set them aside to be read after my actual physical death. I am, however, considering the possibility of writing them and sending them now. I have not yet made up my mind one way or the other.

Subsequent weeks will will include various practices, such as;
  • Death Contemplation Practice

  • Original Face Contemplation

  • Letting go of Control Practice - i.e. "Blind for a Day Practice", etc.

  • "Disposing of the Corpse" - Making arrangements for the disposition of my physical remains and also of my belongings, i.e., writing a will, compiling all of my pertinent documentation into a single location with clearly understandable instructions - as a courtesy to whoever is left in the position of actually making the arrangements upon my physical death, etc.

After my death (pertaining to this practice - I will 'Die' the night of 08 July 2009 - the eve of my 50th birthday. I will awaken on the morning of my 50th Birthday 'reborn' 'fresh' 'new' and fully prepared to embark upon the second half of my life - having sloughed off all of the baggage and accumulated detritus of the previous half. I intend to take that first step with my head held high, my eyes and my heart wide open, and with a 'soft belly' - ready to accept whatever life places in my path with trust and equanimity) I will probably take a few days to collect my thoughts, and then sit down and write an entry that best sums up my experiences during this year of Dying Practice.

I began this practice facing one major issue in my life; that of finding a suitable employment vocation, a career that I can fully involve myself in... work that I feel cut out for, where I can be paid a living wage by an honorable boss, and where my work will be appreciated and will benefit others. I have found this during my year of Dying Practice. I have found, and lost, many things during this year... but, I will discuss that in more detail in my final journal entry, which will be after my 'death'.

For now, I am pausing and taking a deep breath at this crossroads in my practice, and preparing myself for some of the more difficult practice methods yet to come.

For those of you who have completed this practice, I would dearly like to hear of your experiences at this point in the journey... for those of you who have not, I will do my best to chronicle both my outward and inward experiences to the best of my ability.

... with palms joined.


Pat Kerr said...

I am grateful to you for doing this. Last year I looked for others wanting to engage, but found no-one, so started the practice on my own. However, I lost it some time during the year. It is still alive for me, even more alive now to engage in this "year". I am inhabiting my body more than ever and listening to it as a source of inner wisdom. My zen practice is with Albert Low in Montreal, coming through Philip Kapleau and Yasutani Roshi. Soon I will read your posts and would love to hear as you approach your 'death' more and more. Pat Kerr

Bunan Unsui said...

Hello Pat,

Thank you for taking the time to both visit my journal, and for sharing your thoughts and comments with me.

Something that surprised me about this practice was precisely what you have come up against; It seems to have the ability to wear one down... where it seems that the vines and thickets that life has a way of leading us through cling to our arms and legs and make it very difficult to make any headway...

I have experienced this over and over throughout this practice (I am experiencing it *now* as a matter of fact...), but, just as in life, we simply have to continue on...

Remember that every breath offers a chance to decide what to do...

By the same token, I would advise against beating oneself up over-much about it... when the time is right and your situation is appropriate, you will find a way.... if it is not right for you, then you will not... there are very few accidents, you know..

Lastly, there are many roads that head in the same general direction... it may very well be that if you take a close look at your practice, you will find that you are already filling the need to learn whatever dying practice would otherwise teach you... and your subconscious mind is wise enough to recognize it as a redundancy...

Whatever the case may be... you may choose, at any time, to either pick up where you left off... to begin anew, or to scrap the plan until the moment is right... or decide against it entirely... whatever you decide to do, I would gently, and humbly suggest that you do it mindfully...

In Peace & Brotherhood, with palms joined....

Bunan Unsui