The Wisdom of No Escape

The meditation master Ajahn Chah would often begin his Dharma teachings by addressing the listeners as “my brothers and sisters in ageing, ill-health, and death.”

Take a moment to notice how reading that impacts you. There may be space and relief, there may be contraction or turning away. What happens when you open to the impact and remember to breathe? To ground in the body space?

Stay steady with whatever is arising right now.

Ageing, ill-health, and death are inescapable for all of us and yet not easy to face. As conscious beings, it’s important that we open to these truths of loss in ways that we can hear them.

As we continue this exploration, check in with what you need. Remember that you can return to breath, body or Metta practice at any point to re-gather, calm and rejuvenate the body, heart and mind.

When you’re feeling stable and ready, drop in Ajahn Chah’s greeting again, either out loud or silently: “brothers and sisters in ageing, ill-health, and death.”

Stay with whatever resonance or response arises. Feel it in the body, in the heart. Let yourself know it.

Repeat this several times, patiently, slowly and kindly. Be interested in what is revealed. Let yourself be surprised, if something unexpected shows itself.

What supports you to be spacious and grounded as you intentionally open?

Is there anything nourishing or beautiful that arises from these words?

In your practice this week, explore beginning each session with this contemplation. Notice what impact it has, and how the impact changes from day to day, moment to moment. You can also focus on only one part of the contemplation; ageing, or ill-health or death. Notice if the different aspects have a different resonance for you.

This is also something to include in your non-formal practice; as you pass by people or interact with them, drop in “brother/ sister in ageing, ill-health, and death” internally. How does this affect how you relate to others, or feel around them?