Lessons from dying folks

Been thinking about lessons dying folks taught me. Here are a few.

Be curious…..it encourages the mind to open instead of ignore…..it’s the doorway to joy.

Embrace paradox….hang out with contradictions. Often when we embrace paradox a third option we could not have imagined emerges. Ask counter intuitive questions. Pay attention to coincidences.

Be a day-dream believer…. We spend so much of our day focused on outcome. Walking with purpose toward a single direction we often miss beautiful sights along the way. Listening only to the foreground we miss background sound. Open the mind… let it wander. Awareness doesn’t need to be focused to know.

Be surprised….babies love surprises …..play peek a boo with a baby and they giggle. Throw an adult a surprise party and they want to know who is responsible. Surprise teaches us about flexibility and resilience. The Inuit people say that there are two plans to every day….my plan and the Mystery’s plan.



Frank Ostaseski is the founder of the Metta Institute and cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project and author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully. www.fiveinvitations.com

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Discovering What Death
Can Teach Us About Living Fully

Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.

Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves.


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