“Author David Deida writes, “Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing from the moment you are born.” I had encountered this sentiment before during my time in India. According to the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, all fear roots back to abhinivesh, the fear of death. For example, we fear shame because it is a death to the ego. We fear aging because it is a death to our youth. In Buddhist teaching, all moments are born and die into each other. Leaving the womb is a death of one state of existence and a birth into another realm. Childhood dies into puberty and the elderly have experienced the death of their young adult years.
While I appreciated Deida’s insights about our fear of death, his reflections on suffering moved me to tears. He writes, “You were born as a sacrifice. And either you can participate in this sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering.” So much of my own suffering resulted from resistance to the reality of life’s impermanence.” ~Amy Wright Glenn, Birth, Breath, & Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula
Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes