My Mother died two weeks ago

My Mother died two weeks ago and death seems real.

This semester we are invited to consider time and space as an intrinsic living presence, but what about death? I did a computer search of “death” as it appears in all of the TSK volumes and found numerous references. These references always mention death and life in the same breath. Rinposhe presents birth and death as existing in the realm of opposites along with other dichotomies; joy and suffering, victory and defeat, success and failure. He does not write of “life” in opposition to death. Is it so that  in the TSK vision “life” has no opposite and is intrinsic?


About Hayward

Clinical Psychologist and practicing psychotherapist for thirty seven years. Studying Time Space and Knowledge since 1980 and integrating this vision into clinical practice as seemingly appropriate and useful.
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7 Responses to My Mother died two weeks ago

  1. Hayward says:

    Thank you Caroline
    I love your summary statement, “So, it seems that, ‘we’ both die and do not die (in parallel but ‘different’ times!). Identifying ourselves as material and past-based, we die. Realising our true nature to be not material and partaking of Great Time, we are deathless.” Perhaps we are the same as light which can be viewed as either a point or as a wave. As a point we pass. As a wave we are without beginning or end.
    Our lived issue does seem to be one of identity. As a psychologist working in conventional time, the crux of the problem people bring seems related to who they think they are and what is the world they identify and to which they react.

  2. csherwood says:

    Time and Death
    Thank you, Hayward, for what you opened up for us by telling us of your mother’s death.
    My mother died in 1972. I was 21, she was 59. I have now outlived her, which is an extraordinary feeling. The night she died I had nothing in my experience to deal with it and had (as Stephen Levine so vividly puts it) to Braille my way through the process. It was as though an existential carpet had been torn from beneath me. Looking back, I see a huge space of time and knowledge opened within and around me. It was excruciatingly painful (a pain that, at the time, I simply thought I couldn’t survive) AND it gifted me with a vastness which I have been integrating ever since. I always count my mother as my first teacher, and, indeed, Death has proved to be my greatest Teacher.
    A paradox here:
    Joyful to have such a human birth
    Difficult to find, free and well-favoured
    But death is real – comes without warning
    This body will be a corpse
    (Traditional Tibetan Buddhist prayer, emphasis mine)

    ‘Be joyful as you go, there is no death.’
    (Barry Long – maverick western teacher)

    Please bear with the rambling nature of my presentation…

    What we refer to as ‘death’ seems to share both the linearity of ‘dualistic time’ and the open vastness of Time as the energy of life (which we’re working with as the Future at the moment).

    A favourite writer of mine, Thinley Norbu (‘White Sail’ and ‘Magic Dance’) has coined an intriguing and very useful phrase: he says that westerners generally suffer from ‘materialising habit’ which colours everything we perceive and experience. I think this is very relevant to our TSK studies.

    So, it seems that, ‘we’ both die and do not die (in parallel but ‘different’ times!). Identifying ourselves as material and past-based, we die. Realising our true nature to be not material and partaking of Great Time, we are deathless.

    How marvellous!

  3. Hayward says:

    The above schemata did not print as I typed it…Picture a circle with empathic joy at the top and compassion at the bottom, love on the left side and equanimity on the right side.
    This give a pictorial representation of the balancing/harmonizing possibility.

  4. michaelg says:

    Hayward, I hope your mother’s death brings a cherished life into focus–and yours too. Both my parents died so long ago (’83 and ’91) that I can hardly remember how it affected me except in terms of scattered feeling. I feel like a different person now, but I know that the death of a loved one today would ransack the calm surface of my present life.

    Since you have shared this sad event and tied it into the how life and death are referenced in the TSK books, you raise an interesting question. Is death the opposite of the fact of life, but the life which manifests in a sense of aliveness, its own irreducible quality? Like the Four Immeasurable Catalysts of Being (Love, Joy, Balance, and Compassion), which I don’t believe have opposites, merely their local absence? — Michael

    • Hayward says:

      Thank you for your sensitive personal comments. Death does bring a cherished life into focus……….Regarding the Four Immeasurable, I always thought of them as counter balancing. The heaviness of “compassion” can be lifted with the lightness of “empathic joy”. “Loves” attachment can become possessive and can become balanced with “equanimity”; making it love without attachment and thus unconditional.

      Empathic Joy

      Love Equanimity


      Thought of in this manner “the opposite” keeps any one of the qualities from being
      a problem…..Too much compassion can be depressing and can be lifted with empathic joy. Too much joy can be mania and can be grounded in compassion.Too much love becomes possessive and can become attachment. Too much equanimity can be indifference and can be enlivened with love.

      Once we see death, not as an opposite to life, but the opposite to birth, (for all that is born does die) it opens the possibility of life without opposite. Perhaps this makes life intrinsic to Time and Space. Time and Space become intrinsically alive.
      What do you think?

  5. Hayward says:

    Thanks David for your kindness
    At these times I find myself reexamining the reexamined

  6. Very sorry for your loss, Hayward. My thoughts are with you. Take care.

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