As homo sapiens, the thinking two-legged ones, we are wired for questions. I think that’s true … you?
Each day we are immersed in self-generated questions, often along the lines of… what to eat, when will I finish my taxes, what about those Canucks, eh? Vancouverites are asking that question quite often these days.
Lets call those the mundane questions. They change all the time.
Then there are the bigger questions looming large over our daily concerns. Am I doing my real work? How can I live my life from the inside out? What is my true self?
Those can be considered the sublime questions. They don’t change much, but the answers might. If you can come to an answer.
I invite you now to consider the really real question of your life.
It concerns death. Of course. Its the one unavoidable destination we have in common.
Mark Twain wrote that imminent death focusses one’s thinking remarkably well.
We meet death every day in small ways; the ancients described sleep as a little death each evening, and awakening each morning is a little reincarnation.
We can ask the mundane questions about death, or stay open to the sublime ones. Or, as so often happens in our culture, avoid it altogether.
New thoughts can come through the deep listening offered by a few others, in a dyadic process. A tried and true way to open our thinking.
In North Vancouver, three Death Cafés have been held in the past year. A fourth will be presented on May 12, 2014 on the theme of the seeds of death.
What are the seeds of life given to you through a death experience? What are the seeds you wish to leave as legacy?
How do we experience the life-death-new life cycle, so celebrated in this Easter season, in our thinking, our relationships, our creativity?
I invite you to consider walking into a Death Café where the really real questions are the reason for conversation. Not grief sessions, not counselling or religious meetings, but gatherings which are simply open to new thoughts shared among strangers. There is always very good coffee and tea and a great large cake on the house. We feast on life as we discuss death.
At our Dia de Los Muertos on November 1, photos of beloved ones were on our festival table. We toasted them; listened to stories about growing up in Mexico with the calveritas – little sugar skulls – and the fear and joy of the parades to the burial grounds.
We shared the beginning of a social conversation about death. The really real questions bring us together every time because our longing is the same:
…when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps his purse shut…
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Lines excerpted from When Death Comes by Mary Oliver