In Short…

Sadness comes of missing what is no longer there or never was: a lover, friend, material gain, a piece of the past, a harmony or wholeness. It may be what we have lost, or what we have wanted and cannot have. But beneath this sadness is a truth awaiting discovery, a truth that is meant to uplift us: the realization that our fulfillment will never be found in any earthly pursuit.

Fulfillment is not of this world. As soon as we think we’ve acquired it, it begins to wither or take its leave, leaving a sense of deficit and defeat. When we put our emotional stock in finite goals, we guarantee that we have elected to suffer.

But sadness can, and eventually will, lead us to its demise. As it ages into tedium and useless tears, it bids us to search beyond it for contentment and completion. Gradually, or in final desperation, it cracks open a door to an inner vista, casting light on a path that is not of this world, that is steep but loving and calming. This is the path we were meant to take all along.

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Grief is deeper than sadness. We think of it as a period of woe that we’re supposed to endure, meanwhile trying to push it away or push through it. This presupposes an “other side,” a time and place where it disappears, but such does not exist. Grief is not a problem to be solved or gotten over, it’s a process to be tended, a teaching to be absorbed. With maturity and reflection, it becomes a placid piece of who we are, an element of our perspective, and with it we see ourselves and everything else from a deeper dimension.

* * * * *

Just as we need to consider sadness and grief, there many reasons to study how to deal with death and dying. Otherwise, we come to it racked with fear and unprepared. The more deeply we delve into the art of dying, the more fully we learn the art of how to live. People are living longer today, but not necessarily better. For life extension to be worth the extra time, life expansion must always be at the heart of it. At every age, from youth to the winter of life, unless there is ongoing growth of a loving spirit, death has already begun.

* * * * *

As death draws near, its effect on the mind is oddly paradoxical. It makes trivial almost everything else and, at the same time, makes everything more important.

* * * * *

You cannot save your soul. It is meant to save you. Let it do its job.

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