reflection on death as the mirror to life....

April 05, 2013  •  150 Comments

reflection on death, water-soluble oil on wood, 12"x12", 2013 a piece created for an upcoming group show at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco where the theme is "visions and reflections". I've been interested in understanding the deeper essence of life. Reflecting on death is a great place to start. Anyone familiar with Sogyal Rinpoche's book "the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" will recognize the influence... I wrote much more text outside the piece, but the following is what is in the piece itself. And for more info and to see other artists work in the show, please visit gauntletgallery.com. enjoy

"reflection on death... looking into the nature of death, is not without looking into the nature of life itself. The 2 are inseparable. And so to have any understanding of life, it is necessary to look into death. In this sense, death is the mirror to life. The dance of life and death is one of impermanence that is the nature of all that we experience."

and the following was the rest of the writing which I chose to leave out of the piece... "all that we give birth to in whatever form, relationship that may be, will surely at some point be lost. If one only look into all things in the universe, one will see this without exception. The constancy of life. And how we always try to build lives of security that are void of impermanence. We want that which we deem important in our lives, that which we attach to, to last forever. And how we suffer at their end in the inevitable cycle of birth and death. How we deny death when it occurs, developing a practice of denial so as to not experience the discomfort, the pain that comes with death. And so we never truly heal, and begin to live in fear, more and more afraid to experience anything fully, openly for we don't want to experience the re-occurying pain that is part of being human. We drift further away from our primordial nature. The nature of our mind, our heart that was initially in harmony with all things before we developed mental concepts that rationalize reality. We find happiness  in these concepts, that are merely perceptions of reality but not reality itself, and how we are confused and hurt when death removes them. The structures we that created our identity around disappear. And maybe thats why we are so afraid of death. Because in its nature, death presents us to our true selves, unfiltered. And when this happens, do we have any idea of who we really are? And so it is here that one person 'moves forward' building a new rationalized conception of reality, leaving from the past, trying to find a new happiness. But this only continues the pattern of suffering. To leave this cycle is not to constantly create new realities separate from true reality, but to live in reality itself. And the irony is that it is here that one will find that which we live our lives for. To live a life of contentment, inner peace with not confusion in harmony with the universe, free from suffering. Reality is impermanent, so to live here, to experience it fully is to experience the beginning and the end of all things without clinging to them, trying to manipulate or control them. We call the end 'bad', and the beginning 'good', and try as we will to avoid the 'bad' and invite the 'good'. This is the ignorance of our suffering. This is a distortion of reality. Reality is simple. It is here, it is now. It is constant. It includes life, it includes death. Both are human, both are natural. To exist in suffering as the result of disallowing there interdependent relationship is not. So let us have a relationship with death, so that we can have a relationship with life. And ultimately, live this life so as to be prepared when we are at the end and can rest in peace, content with the final death having the understanding and having living a life without regret in the true meaning of the phrase. 


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