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Lions Roar : November 2017
move his body instead, running or lifting heavy things. This created a fracture in his sense of belonging. A core insecu- rity was that he could be controlled by forces outside his awareness that could sweep him away without warning. But as a spiritual teacher whom so many looked to for sta- bility, Michael felt pressured to contain, even hide, his own fragil- ity. Buddhist practice encourages not-knowing, and yet paradoxically expects complete self-awareness in its teachers. He worked hard. His capacity to hold and accept others with compassion was huge. He knew vividly what is true for all of us—the mind is more unstable than it seems. The goal of prac- tice is not shoring up a solid self; it’s waking up to the reality of the fluid, ever-changing ground we live on, a ground that cannot be fully knowable and can even be disturbing. In the face of this, Michael remained open, bright, and curious. In the book he was completing when he died, he wrote: “We are all going to die. Know- ing one another is very precious. At the moment of death, the only thing that really matters is the con- dition of your heart.” He gave so much to so many. After his death, the outpouring of love and support from around the world felt like a direct reflec- tion of this generosity. Three of his organs—his lungs and both kidneys—went on to save three lives. His heart had tired out too much for transplant. It’s for the world now. ♦ ANDRÉADEKEIJZER LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2017 25