I’m dying. Not today and not next week, but I don’t need both hands to count the number of months left to me. At the moment the pain is manageable and I can go about doing much of what I want to do (though I find myself wanting to do less and less). I’m writing to ask you how best to live my dying.
Rabbi Rami: I want to thank you for having the courage to share your question with me, and I want to apologize for my chutzpah in attempting an answer. I believe we live in five dimensions and we die in four. The five dimensions are body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit. Of these only spirit is birthless and deathless. The key to living your dying is to honor the four as you are surrendered to the fifth. Here’s how:
Body: Keep moving. For me, this means walking outside and attending to the beauty of nature—whether this is a forest, a mountain, a flowing stream, or a blade of grass peeking out of a concrete sidewalk. It also means practicing Qigong, the Chinese art of energy balancing. Find a teacher who can help you adapt the movements to your situation. My own teacher, Kathy Woods, practiced Qigo …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
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