A GUIDED MEDITATION ON DYING
© 1991 Stephen Levine
(To be read slowly to a friend or silently to oneself.)
Find a comfortable place to sit and let your eyes close.
Bring your attention to the level of sensation. Feel this body you sit in.
Let the body be still.
Focus on the sensation of being in a body.
Notice the body’s substantial quality.
Feel the solidity of the body. Feel its weightiness, how gravity pulls on its substance.
Receive this quality of solidity.
Feel the weight of the head resting on the neck. Feel the musculature
of that neck, its strength, its thickness.
Feel the long bones of the shoulders and the thick bony sockets that
support the weight of the arms.
Feel the heaviness of the arms as they rest on either side of the body.
Feel these heavy hands.
Feel the torso, its thickness, its weightiness. The earthen quality of this body.
Feel this heavy body in which you live.
Notice the solidity, the density, the earth element, of the dense body.
The pull of gravity as the buttocks is drawn into the cushion or the
chair, as the feet press against the floor.
Notice gravity’s action on this earthen body.
In this solid body, sensations arise. Tingling, hot and cold, rough
and smooth, soft and hard. Sensations arising in the body.
Recognize this flickering field of sensation.
Don’t grasp at sensation. Just allow these sensations to be received as
they arise in this body we inhabit.
Open to the sensations in the legs, their density, and heaviness. Feel
the solidness of this body.
Explore this container for the life-force.
And explore the life-force as sensation arising and passing away.
And as you note these sensations, notice how though they arise in the
heavy body, they seem to be received by something subtler within.
Something lighter within this heavier form.
Within this heavy body is a body of awareness, a light body which
experiences hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, received through the outer body.
Feel the body of awareness, this inner body, this light body, perfectly
nestled within the heavier form, receiving experience-experiencing.
Sense the lighter body within. The body of awareness that
experiences all that enters through the senses. It recognizes sound as
hearing. It delights in music. It experiences images as seeing. And
recognizes great beauty. It experiences food as taste. It knows it is alive.
Enter this light body of awareness.
Observe how each breath drawn in through the nostrils of the heavy
body is experienced as sensation by the light body, by the awareness within.
Notice how each breath connects the heavy body with the light body within.
Each breath allowing life, awareness, to remain in the earthen vessel.
Observe the light body receiving the heavy body.
Feel this contact between the heavy body and the light body that each
breath allows. Feel how each breath sustains the light body balanced perfectly within.
Breathe the connection between the outer body and the inner body
drawn in as air, received as sensation. Each breath so precious. Each
breath maintaining the connection, allowing life to remain in the body.
Feel how the breath connects the solid body with the light body.
Experience each breath.
Just awareness and sensation. Each breath. Experience this delicate
balance, moment to moment, as sensation, as awareness itself.
And take each breath as though it were the last.
Experience each inhalation as though it were never to be followed by another.
Each breath the last.
The last breath of incarnation.
Let the breath come. Let the breath go.
The last breath of life leaving the heavy body behind.
Each breath ending. The connection severed between the heavy body and the light body.
The end of a lifetime. The final breath.
Each breath the last.
Let go. Don’t hold on to it.
Let each breath go, finally and forever, don’t even be attached to the next breath.
As the last breath leaves go with it. Don’t hold on. Let yourself die.
Let the light body float free now.
Let yourself die.
Let go now.
Gently, gently, let it all go. Let it all float free. Let yourself die.
Leave the body behind and follow the light into luminous space.
Go into it. Let yourself die into space.
Each breath vanishes. Each thought dissolving into space. Don’t
hold now. Just let go once and for all. Let go of fear. Let go of longing.
Open to the wonder.
Let yourself die. Open into death. Nothing to hold to. That is all
past. Die gently into this moment.
Holding on to nothing, just let you die.
Let go of your name. Let go of your face. Let go of your
reputation. Float free into the vastness.
Leave the body behind. Moving into the vast space of being.
Light dissolving into light. Just vast luminous space. Let go now.
Have mercy on you, let yourself float free.
Merging with space. Space dissolving in space. Light dissolving in light.
Vast, boundaryless, space, expanding into space.
Such enormous peace.
Dissolving. Dissolving. Edges melting. Vast, luminous space, dissolving in space.
Shimmering clouds dissolving at the edge. Clouds dissolving in
space. Dissipating. Dissolving. Merging in space.
Let go into that spaciousness. Hold nowhere. Let your heart merge in your own great fire.
Dissolving. Radiating into space. Merging with light. Dissolving in luminous space.
Let go into the light. In this vast luminosity is all that you have ever
sought. Dissolving into the Great Heart.
Floating free in vast space.
Let go of your knowing. Let go of your not knowing. All that
comes to mind is old. Any thought is just old thought. Nothing to hold to.
Just the simple fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.
Just the light entering the light.
Space within space.
No inside, no outside. Just am-ness. Edgeless being in endless space.
Dissolve into it. Floating free of the body, free of the mind.
Merging in boundaryless space.
Space expanding into space. Dissolving into space. Floating in the vastness.
Peace. Mercy. Space.
And from across vast space notice now something gently approaching.
It is the first breath of life.
Watch the breath approaching as if from far away. Experience it entering the body.
Each breath the first. Each inhalation the first breath of life.
Each breath completely new.
Each breath bringing us back into the body.
Taking birth once again.
Born back into the body.
Taking birth again to serve and be served. To learn. To teach. To care and be cared for.
Awareness once again entering the body as consciousness.
Pure awareness re-inhabiting pure form. Birth.
Born again into the body. Each breath the first. Born again to bring
mercy and healing to the injured world.
Taking birth for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Taking birth to heal.
The light body once again re-animating the heavy body. Each breath
connecting, maintaining the light body within its momentary vehicle.
Once again the light clothes itself in form so as to act and to complete whatever healing remains.
Have mercy. Born again to the world. Born to bring peace, to bring
kindness. To bring healing to our pain and the pain of all sentient beings,
unto the last blade of grass.
Born to learn, to be.
Each breath so precious, allowing us to stay a moment longer.
Allowing us the healing we took birth for.
Born to take the teaching. Born to bring mercy.
May all beings coming and going know the peace of their own great nature.
May all beings be free of suffering.
Let your eyes gently open.
Look around you. Here you are.