Death is not a period, but merely a pause on a long journey
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This email-letter is about sadhana (practices) for Self-realization.
It is given in a spirit of selfless service, and is meant only to
offer loving suggestions for you to consider. Please enjoy what you
find useful, and set aside the rest. Feel free to circulate this
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(Dandi Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati)
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March 27, 2001
Here's a reminder from the Introduction to Sacred Journey, by Swami
Modern civilization is a marvel of technological achievement,
material wealth, and communications systems that have shrunk the
In spite of all the wealth and ease of modern life, people are not
content. They are not happy because of their attitude toward the
objects of the world and toward their relationships with others.
Throughout their lives they uphold the notion that they must have
more and more possessions.
They have a similar notion about relationships and maintain that
something is to be received from a relationship rather that given.
Instead of simply enjoying the objects and people in their lives,
they cling to them, own them, and fear losing them.
Over the course of a lifetime of needing, having, and clinging, the
fear of death grows and hovers, creating a spiral of more need,
greater fear, and inescapable pain. In this way life cannot be lived
effectively and is merely squandered.
Death is feared, denied, and pushed as far away from consciousness as
possible instead of being accepted as a natural and inevitable part
of human experience. Thus, no one is prepared for death.
This fear of death is the reason for the insatiable need for more
things, ever new relationships, material comforts, endless
entertainment, and the excessive use of alcohol and drugs. All of
these keep the reality of death in the distance. They are the tools
Unfortunately, they are not useful tools.
To understand death, a person must try to understand the purpose of
life and the relationship between life and death. The two are
partners, each providing a context for the other.
Death is not a period, but merely a pause on a long journey. When
life and death are accepted as having real meaning and purpose, and
death is understood and accepted as part of the human journey, then
the fear of death disappears and life can be lived fully.
Internal dialogue can be an extremely useful part of sadhana
(spiritual practices). It is actually a part of contemplation. Below
are a few to consider. Just sit quietly, allow your eyes to close,
and ask yourself some of these questions. Literally ask the words
inside. Pause. Answers will come.
1. What is the purpose of life? What do I want? What do I
2. In what ways am a already moving towards that, that I can
3. What little changes can I make that take me towards that
which I really want?
4. What is the relationship between life and death, in my own
words, not just what the books say?
5. If the "tools" of fulfilling insatiable needs are "not
useful", then what tools ARE useful? How can I go about using those
tools in daily life?
In loving service,