KBG agent Yuri Bezmenov claims he was assigned to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram to research what kind of Americans were studying there. His opinions on meditation are hilarious.
I just posted a short summary on the IDP blog of my project last year, to imagine that I was dying.
Here’s a copy:
Last year I decided to imagine that I was dying. For the whole year, I held a contemplation that this was it; that I only had this final year, as if I had a terminal condition. Or I tried to hold it, it was incredibly difficult. But I learned a lot about my mind nonetheless.
I wasn’t sure how well it would go but I’m tired of what I normally do: which is to completely ignore my death. I based this exercise on the book “A Year To Live” by Stephen Levine and wrote about it at the start of last year on the OneCity blog.
I was shocked at how difficult it was to hold this as a practice. My mind really didn’t like to rest on it. It was ok to think about it conceptually, but to go deeper into the feelings or resting in any idea that my life was ending was really quite unbearable. I knew it would be tough but not how much my mind would rebel.
In January I only eased into the practice; I wrote about it at OneCity and let the idea sink in mostly. But I started noticing from the start that I had friends of friends who were really dying, and health impaired friends who will probably live shortened lives. Life was short all around me.
In February I started mixing the contemplation with my meditation practice. That could include visualizing that I had cancer and really was terminal. Then I would rest in the feeling and meaning of that. Off the cushion I would consider what I needed to do with the remaining time: connecting more with friends and family, unsaid apologies, or not leaving a mess behind.
About midway through the year, I was finding it harder and harder to do this. The novelty had worn off and in my gut I really disliked the whole project; then a relative died; then a fellow practitioner that I knew well. I wasn’t sure how to go forward. So I started to work with it more conceptually for awhile and more actively. For example, if I died today what would my family have to relate to? Not just physical things, how would they find all of my online accounts and identities and access them? I compiled a list of things for them, from financial accounts to how to access my facebook. And I went through my possessions, getting rid of things or at least organizing it all. I’m sure most of it would — in the event of my death — just go to charity. But I started to realize how much effort all that would take. It would be quite unkind to leave that sort of hassle behind.
That reminded me of a story of an old Tibetan lama, who would leave his begging bowl turned over each night. Apparently that was traditionally done only when a monk had died. But he would turn it over each night before bed, so that if he died in his sleep no one would need to go to the trouble for him. Then when he awoke in the morning, since he hadn’t died yet he would right his bowl.
As the year came to a close, I felt both like this project had been very useful to me and insightful and also that I hadn’t gotten very deep with it. It would take me — in other words — a lot more motivation or discipline to keep holding it as a contemplation. And it probably would have helped if I had a group of people taking it as a practice all at once, and meeting about it monthly, to have periodic support and camaraderie. This was a difficult practice for me.
One thing I’d like to do is dedicate the benefit of this practice to those who died and to those who lost someone they loved this last year. In particular to those who didn’t have friends and family to turn to and to hold them.
well it was fun to blog on beliefnet for awhile — even though they’re owned by Ruport Murdock — but the interdependence project blog has now left the news corp building.
the new version of the interdependence project blog is on their theidproject.org web site.
and now anyone can post to it… it’s setup such that you too can create an account and write for it, and then the site moderators can promote great articles to the front page. it’s a somewhat democratic blog design. cool, eh?
Cheerfulness is not just a good idea, it’s the dharma… at least in the Shambhala dharma we say you could “cheer up” now and then.
Bill Schwartz is planning his funeral and taking suggestions on twitter, then writing about it on elephant:
samsara sucks even if you enjoy it
thank you, bill.
Author Daniel Siegel talks about education and self-reflexive awareness training in school, at a ted talk three months ago.
my next blog post should be live on onecity later today, about a recent study released showing greatly increased media usage by kids under-18 in America.
my plan for 2010 is to visualize that i’m dying, and that i have only one year left to live. this is a contemplative exercise, and an opportunity for me to work with fear more directly.
i may journal on this blog from time to time about it.
i’m not really dying. don’t worry. this is just an exercise, which i described first here:
i’ll take care of myself in this process, and only engage with it insofar as it feels like a spiritual practice and growth process. if you’d like to be involved in this with me though please let me know. i’m inviting you to involve yourself if you’d like; if you think it would be valuable to you too. we could make it a group practice and compare notes, or i can just tell you more about how it unfolds.
i’m still writing semi-regularly for one city. i posted something for new years here:
and some earlier posts: