May autumn BLESSINGS be with you!

Now are come the days of brown leaves. They fall from the trees; they flutter on the ground. ... I hear them tell you of their borning days, when they did come into the world as leaves. ... Today, they were talking of the time before their borning days of the springtime. ... They told how they were a part of earth and air, before their tree-borning days. And now they are going back. They go back to the earth again. But they do not die.

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Lying alone in the pasture, dark except for the magnetic full moon. There is an overwhelming sense of quietness. My being is part of the earth and part of the pure white light of the moon at the same time. Nothing else is significant. For a second I wonder, "Am I dead?" It isn't important -- I am spending an hour in God's hands, and it will become part of me.

~ "But How Can I Be the Moon?" -- age 16
Anonymous But How Can I Be The Moon? death

In that moment of awareness, I had an epiphany, that the light we encounter on the road of death is our being in the act of coming home to itself. I understood that light is our natural state, but that we human beings must help each other as we move toward the shores of light. ...Being in the light is knowing we must get others into it. ...The light is where we belong. Everyone who is not in the light is looking forward to being there. So we leave the light to go and experience the need for light and thus come back to it anew.

~ from OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT by Malidoma Patrice Some
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We do not get to choose how we are going to die. Or When.
We can only decide how we are going to live. Now.

~ Nan Merrill
Nan Merrill death

The world is not a place but the vastness of the soul. And the soul is nothing more than love, limitless, all that moves us toward knowing what is true. I once thought love was supposed to be nothing but bliss. I now know it is also worry and grief, hope and trust. ... If people we love die, then they are lost only to our ordinary senses. If we remember, we can find them anytime with our hundred secret senses.

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This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless.
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done.
Thee fully forth emerging silent, gazing,
pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

~ Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman death

I am not sure at what point I realized that the man whom I had seen as my all-powerful and invincible father not only wanted me as I am, but also needed me to stand by him through the long journey into his own death. My father needed my friendship. It still seems to me to be an astonishing gift of God's grace that in the last years of his life I was able to stand with him as his friend who was his adult child.

~ from MEMORIES OF GOD by Roberta C. Bondi
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Mourn not for those that live, nor those that die,
Nor I, nor thou, nor any one of these,
Ever was not, nor ever will not be,
For ever and for ever afterwards,
All, that doth live, lives always! ...
That which is can never cease to be;
That which is not will not exist.

~ from SONG CELESTIAL by Edwin Arnold
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The only way to avoid death is not to be born in the first place. In death there is union with the Beloved. The real skill is to reach the secret of death before dying.

We prepare for death, or rather eternity, by consciously adjusting the focus of our life so that it is not upon our personality and the flowing world that spawns upon it, but instead upon our individuality and the Great Fullness with which we are one. This process of focusing our attention is called meditation. In meditation we die to the personality and are reborn as something much greater. That rebirth is not a sudden or one-time event, but is a gradual process in which we become ever more focused on who and what we really are behind the mask of personality ... the process of dying to death by being reborn to reality.

~ from "Death and Meditation" by John Algeo
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We each possess a deeper level of being ...
which loves paradox. It knows that summer is already
growing like a seed in the depth of winter. It know
that the moment we are born, we begin to die. It knows
that all of life shimmers, in shades of becoming
--that shadow and light are always together,
the visible mingled with the invisible.
When we sit in the stillness we are profoundly active.
Keeping silent, we can hear the roar of existence.
Through our willingness to be the one we are,
we become one with everything.

~ from SHARING SILENCE by Gunilla Norris
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Naturally, most of us would like to die a peaceful death, but it is clear that we cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment, or fear.  So if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life.

~ The Dalai Lama
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When I am dead, come to me at my grave, and the more often, the better. Whatever is on your soul, whatever may have happened to you, come to me as when I was alive and, kneeling on the ground, cast all your bitterness upon my grave. Tell me everything and I shall listen to you, and all the bitterness will fly away from you. And as you spoke to me when I was alive, do so now. For I am living, and I shall be forever.

~ inscription on the tombstone of St. Seraphim
St. Seraphim death

Teach me to treat my death as an act of communion.

~ Teilhard de Chardin
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