Good evening and welcome to Monday Group Meditation, we will be sitting from 7:30 to 10:00 PM EST. It is not necessary to sit for the entire extended time, which is set up to make it convenient for people in four North American Time Zones; sit for as long as you like and when it is most convenient for you.
Monday Group Meditation is open to everyone, believers and non-believers of all stripes who are interested in gathering in silence. If you are new to meditation and would like to try it for yourself, Mindful Nature gave a good description of one way to meditate in an earlier diary, copied and pasted below:
"It is a matter of focusing attention mostly. In many traditions, the idea is to sit and focus on the rising and falling of the breath. Not controlling it, but sitting in a relaxed fashion and merely observing experiences of breathing, sounds, etc. Be aware of your thoughts, but don't engage in them. When your mind wanders (it will, often), then return to focus on breath and repeat."
Death, life's final destination, the great equalizer, many people think the opposite of death is life, but actually the opposite of death is birth; they are two sides of the same coin, we cannot have one without the other. Everything that is born, dies.
In our culture we treat birth as the blessed event, on the other hand we have a full fledged aversion to death. I sometimes think we have it backwards, every baby is born into ignorance and suffering, and perhaps it is death that is the true blessed event, bringing with it liberation from the confinement of these earth suits that are our human bodies.
Meditating on death and impermanence is a powerful countermeasure for attachment to transitory pleasures and short sighted anxieties. I apologize if tonight's topic might be distasteful for some. At the moment I know several people preparing to make life's final transition who are quite confused and fearful. While I've been remembering them in my prayers, I'd also like to encourage everyone to spend some time thinking about how you want to approach the end of life.
As a spiritual practice, preparing for death helps us to really live well. I think in order to die, we have to release all our attachments and aversions-let go of all our judgments, and surrender. Life begins with inhalation/inspiration and ends on exhalation/expiration. This evening my prayer is for the eventual peaceful and graceful expiration of all who read this.
When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.~Tecumseh