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Lions Roar : January 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 30 He said, “It’s not sad. It’s just true. You are making it sad by your commentary about it.” I wonder. I think the awareness of tem- porality, of the inevitable losses that are integral to life experience, compels the mind to pay attention. I think that’s a good thing. I think I can be aware of the inevitable loss and disappointment that are part of the human experience without being depressed by it. In fact, I think it’s awareness of the vulnerability to sorrow that human beings share that keeps me kind. As I watched the graduates file across the stage and get their diplomas, I wanted so much for each of them, along with their parents, to thrive that I could not have brought to mind a grudge, or found fault, or done anything other than be grateful for that moment. It was as if I understood, newly, the gratitude blessing I had learned as a child, a thanksgiving for having been “kept alive and sustained until this moment.” Being moved by the precariousness of life turns the mind toward gratitude. Celebrating passages—birthdays, gradu- ations, marriages, funerals—are all ways of saying your life is (or was) meaningful to me and that something important is happening, or has happened. The ritu- als that we use for passages—Elgar for graduations, Pachelbel for weddings, Bach for memorials—are comforting. They mean, “Everyone does this.” We can allow ourselves to feel delighted or sad- dened, knowing that the feeling will pass as the event becomes part of the past, and knowing that we are supported by caring company. ♦ Celebrating passages— birthdays, graduations, marriages, funerals—are all ways of saying your life is meaningful to me and that something important is happening.