Death as Teacher

Playful Words
A Poem Each Moment

Plowing the field in Half Moon Bay.

Life is a journey.

Death is a return to the earth.

The universe is like an inn.

The passing years are like dust.

–Buddhist Poem

This poem is used to describe the Buddhist concept of impermanence (The World’s Religions by Huston Smith, pp. 116-117).

Of course, we are constantly changing . . . our bodies, our personalities. It’s like we are born in each moment.

Is death our enemy or our friend . . . or both? Death is our teacher . . . our traveling companion during our journey through life.  When we need to know which of our actions in each moment are most life-affirming, we ask death.

Talk about death doesn’t have to be morbid. It can be freeing.  Death as a helper can rip away our personas, our social masks. We then live from our authentic selves . . . our deeper selves. We are dead in life . . . dead to the superficial and the meaningless. Our attitude becomes like “the life-enhancing, high-spirited attitude of the Taoist sage or Zen master, who is also a ‘dead man in life’” (The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience by Ralph Metzner, p.148).

Writing this article inspired me to compose the following poem:


a seed

deep in

dark earth


toward the


Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Scoble at Flickr Creative Commons.

Playful Words
A Poem Each Moment

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