A flowing and mystical Jack Kornfield opens our hearts to the vast spiritual mystery of death and impermanence.
Just in time for Halloween and the transition into the winter season, Jack Kornfield shares a timely lecture on death from his ongoing Spirit Rock Monday night livestreams.
October Holy-Days: Woven With Death
Welcoming us into a seasonally apropos lecture on death and dying, Jack Kornfield begins the podcast by noting how the holidays (holy-days) which encompass this part of the year—Halloween, Day of the Dead, Indigenous Peoples Day—are integrally woven together with death, birth, and the mystery.
“These holy-days are woven in with death itself. And if we want to change the world, if we want to serve the world in some beneficial way, we have to face death.” – Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield explores death, identity, and the heavenly messengers, on Ep. 110 of Heart Wisdom
Taking Death As An Advisor (15:45)
What does death have to teach us? Contemplating “death as an advisor” through the metaphysical warrior lens of Carlos Castañeda & Don Juan’s “keeping death on your left shoulder,” Jack recalls his times at the monastery, sitting at the charnel grounds watching bodies being burned throughout the night, as well as formally meditating on the decomposition of corpses.
“We did meditations on death—we watched the decay of the body. As I sat and got deep in meditation, I had these amazing experiences where my consciousness floated out of my body. My body was still sitting there and I could look out the window of the hut I was in and see things that were happening. I realized, ‘Wow, I’m not this body!’ My body would dissolve into vastness, into light. Things would arise and disappear, the whole world would disappear and reappear. And I began to see, from the quietest, deepest place, that who we are is a play in consciousness, a play of consciousness.” – Jack Kornfield
Mirabai Bush & Ram Dass ‘Walk Each Other Home,’ sharing on death and dying, on Ep. 133 of Here & Now
Bodhisattvas: At the Bedside of Impermanence (39:45)
Jack reflects on how those of us on the spiritual path are always at the bedside of birth and death, beginnings and endings, and impermanence. From this perspective, he shares Gary Synder’s timeless environmental wisdom, “Don’t save it because you feel guilty; save it because you love it” – exemplifying how we can move past suffering to cultivate a loving awareness and trust for all sides of the polarities in life.
“Those of you who practice the life of compassion to reduce suffering for yourself and all those around you—that’s you, you Bodhisattvas—always at the bedside of birth and death, of beginnings and endings, of impermanence. This is our role: to be with all things that change, with an open heart.” – Jack Kornfield