Whatever prepares you for death enhances life.

Stephen Levine
Sit someplace where you can be quiet and alone. Try to find a place that brings you closer in touch with a sense of the natural ebb and flow of all life. In Tibet, this kind of meditation is often done outdoors in a cemetery, or beneath clouds moving across the sky, but these particular forms aren’t absolutely necessary. You can watch the waves move in and out on a beach; you can sit near a waterfall or in a park. In autumn you can watch leaves flutter to the ground. Other places sometimes suggested to increase awareness of impermanence would be the city dump, car junkyard, or hospital entrance.

Wherever you are, get comfortable. Release the muscular tension throughout your body. Breathe in through your nostrils; breathe out through your nostrils. Do this several times until you are feeling relaxed and settled.

Rest in the moment. Stay with this awareness of breathing. Be aware, attentive, and mindful. Feel what you feel and sense what you sense in the immediacy of the present experience. Breathe in through your nostrils. And then breathe out. And go through this cycle again and again.

Let your breaths come and go, rise and fall, like waves in the sea and clouds in the infinite sky. Again and again... like gently rhythmic waves.

Notice whatever comes to mind. Simply be with what you are presently experiencing, beyond judgment and beyond interference or alteration. Don’t suppress what you feel or what you think. But also don’t allow your mind to get carried away into trains of discursive thinking. For the moment, don’t try to work or figure anything out. Just be mindfully aware of whatever appears for you in the field of consciousness. Stay with breath-awareness; observe the breath flowing in and out of your nostrils. Pay attention.

When you are calm, still, and centered, reflect on the changing nature of the seasons in the places where you have lived and visited. Remember how they have flowed one into another, one season giving way to the next. Reflect on the heavy snowstorms, chilly winter days, and icy streets; reflect on the melting snow as spring arrives with its crocuses, daffodils, and tulips; reflect on rising temperatures and how spring becomes summer; reflect on long hot summer days; reflect on the coming of autumn with the changing leaves and shortening days and the return of arctic air.

Reflect on the changing nature of the globe, its geological formation and the aeons and eras of change; reflect on the disappearance of the gigantic dinosaurs who once walked the earth, the advent of man, the rise and fall of language, civilization, religions, cultures, and countries.

Reflect on the great saints and sages of history, how they lived and died, and what they left behind.

Reflect on the various great world civilizations and their rise and fall over centuries.

Reflect on what has happened in your own country during your own lifetime. Reflect on the elections and political leaders who have been part of your world. Reflect on how their views and times created changes.

Reflect on the major national and world events during your own lifetime and how important everything seemed at the time it happened. Reflect on how dreamlike and fleeting it all is.

Reflect on the various sporting events, sporting figures, and competitions that have been important to you. Reflect on the sports figures who have retired, grown old, or stopped competing.

Reflect on the powerful, rich, and glamorous celebrities you’ve seen featured in magazines and newspapers during your lifetime. Reflect on how fame and reputations ebb, wane, and fade. Reflect on how ephemeral it all is.

Reflect on the economy and the stock market with its various changes and surprises, ups and downs, over the past year, over the decades of your life, and over the past hundred years.

Continue breathing in and out through your nostrils. Rest in the ever-present present moment, without letting your attention stray.

Embrace your reflections with awareness, accepting everything as it is without judgment or any need to work things out. For the moment, just stay with the awareness component of this meditative reflection.

Let it all settle, dissolve, return back to where it all arose. Just sit and breathe. Relax and smile. Abide in the moment with nothing more to do, figure out, or achieve.

Let it all be, as it is. Love it and leave it, with a light, lovely touch. Let things fall as they may.

Everything is perfectly in place. Rest your weary heart and mind, and replenish your energy at the cosmic fountain of natural breath and natural mind.


In pursuit of the world,
One gains more and more.
In the pursuit of the Tao, one gains less and less.
Loss upon loss until at last comes rest.
When nothing is done, nothing remains undone.
--Lao Tzu,
Tao Te Ching

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