Notes & Quotes: Facing Death and Finding Hope by Christine Longaker

The following are my favorite quotes from Christine Longaker's Facing Death and Finding Hope.
  1. Once we accept that impermanence is the very nature of life, and that everyone suffers, including ourselves, at the hands of changes and death, then letting go becomes quite natural. Sogyal Rinpoche
  2. The key to unlocking our limitless resources of wisdom and compassion is in understanding the innermost nature of our mind. Sogyal
  3. How we are is so much more important that what we say or do. Sogyal
  4. There are two vital things you can do for someone at the time of death.  Giving your dying relative all your love, let him or her go.  Let him die in peace, feeling loved.  And whatever spiritual practice the dying person has faith in, encourage him to do this practice meaningfully and regularly, in preparation for the extraordinary spiritual opportunity dawning at the moment of death. A Tibetan lama
  5. You must pay attention and notice what is happening on a larger scale than our everyday lives; otherwise, you won't know how fortunate you are. Ray Bradbury
  6. The more we avoid thinking about or preparing for death, the more we are bound to suffer when we ourselves -- or a loved one -- are faced with it.
  7. Death is universal: it will come to everyone.  And it can come at any time, not just to the elderly or those diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
  8. Two things count at the moment of death: how we have lived our lives and the state of our mind at that moment.
  9. For someone who has prepared and practiced, death comes not as a defeat but as a triumph, the crowning and most glorious moment of life. Sogyal
  10. Life is a continual dance with change, impermanence, and loss.
  11. We are unaware of who we really are, and keep looking in the wrong direction for the source of true happiness.
  12. We need to feel that no matter what our experience or circumstances, we are respected and unconditionally accepted.
  13. When you speak, communicate clearly, with honesty and kindness.
  14. When our positive actions are motivated by compassion, when we keep our heart and mind pure in the midst of our work or spiritual practice, and when we dedicate the merit to others at the end, then whatever we have done becomes a meaningful part of our spiritual path, our evolution toward our highest potential.
  15. One of the most poignant and unnecessary sufferings experienced by the dying of loved ones is the failure to connect with each other before the moment of death.
  16. At the time in our lives when they are the most vulnerable and distressed, those facing death need comfort, reassurance, affection, and love.
  17. A person who is suffering or dying needs to feel a deep and meaningful connection with her closest loved ones.  To engage in genuine communication, no matter how painful the subject matter, is to tap into the healing power of love.
  18. The only freedom you have is to change yourself.
  19. Forgiveness frees us.
  20. When you observe a person doing harmful things, instead of judging him or her, remember that the real enemy is ignorance.
  21. Don't constantly judge yourself and hold yourself to an old or impossible ideal...when you see your mistakes or limitations, go easy on yourself, you are doing the best you can.
  22. Letting go is a process and it takes time.
  23. A large part of the unnecessary suffering of dying comes from this lack of familiarity with where we are in the journey, and not knowing what is coming or how to prepare.
  24. Don't hold something back for a later time, as later may never come.
  25. The Chinese character depicting the word "crisis" has two meanings: danger and opportunity.
  26. Holding onto your attachment only increases your suffering and theirs.
  27. Nothing we do is ever lost.
  28. When we forget to regard our life as finite and therefore precious, we fail to commit to any purpose or meaning beyond our immediate needs and personal gratification.
  29. The dying will not be able to accept their death unless they feel their life is meaningful. Rev. Mwalimu Imara
  30. 3 commitments we must make to find meaning in life: to become aware of and accept ourselves, to invest ourselves in authentic dialogue with others, to decide on a positive direction of growth.  Imara.
  31. Every story someone tells us is a snapshot of their inner world.
  32. If we have no direction or purpose, we're not really living, we're just existing.
  33. We must commit to a purpose in life greater than the fulfillment of our personal mundane desires, and find a way we can give to life.
  34. Too many people make the mistake of judging life by its length rather than by its depth, by its problems rather than its promises.  One is never too old or too ill to grow.  Life is a series of peak moments.  Such cherished moments -- when we bring dignity upon ourselves, when we take a stand, when we experience love, when we open ourselves to others and to the world -- give meaning to our lives. Rabbi Pesach Krauss
  35. Grieving challenges us to eventually die to our old way of life, letting go of our former expectations, identity, and all the associations we had with the deceased person.
  36. Life is a continuous process of making mistakes, taking responsibility for them, and then learning to be more aware and compassionate so that we don't accumulate new regrets.
  37. Sorrow, like the joy we had felt previously, is an inescapable part of our experience of loving another person.
  38. Our fear and suppression of grief prevents us from living fully.
  39. It takes courage to live now and not postpone living until some vague tomorrow.  Judy Tatelbaum
  40. It is never too late to help and benefit your loved one, no matter how long ago he or she died.
  41. The moment of death and the period afterward are of enormous spiritual significance.
  42. Where our heart lies -- that to which we are most attached -- is the source of suffering in this life, and of untold continued suffering after we die.
  43. The point isn't to wonder and worry "Is my loved one suffering?" but to realize that we are uniquely positioned to help the person who died with our spiritual practice right now.
  44. Do not be distracted.
  45. For three and a half days following death, the consciousness may still be within the body.
  46. For three to four days following the death, do the Essential Phowa intensively.  Practice with a strong intention that the deceased may be released from any attachment to his life and from any suffering of his death, and that he may unite with the luminosity and all-pervading space of his true nature.
  47. Sincere prayers which are offered for the "highest good" for our loved one can bring him protection, blessings, and grace, whether he lives or dies.
  48. We must be grateful for every moment and for blessings, past and present.  We must also realize that losses are an integral part of life.  We must use the inevitable losses creatively, like rungs on a ladder, to achieve a higher awareness of our perceptions, feelings, emotions, and our humanity. Rabbi Krauss
  49. What a child needs to help her through her difficulties and pain is our genuine communication, affection, and love.
  50. To die with peace of mind, a child needs her parents' comfort, presence, and loving reassurance that it is alright to let go.
  51. The path of life is already a journey toward death, and once you decide to make that journey a spiritual one, then every aspect of life gives a positive momentum to your spiritual path.
  52. Training yourself daily to rely on the Three Noble Principles -- establishing a motivation of profound compassion, sustaining the attitude of nongrasping; and sealing the practice through dedication -- will shift your perspective on everything you encounter.
  53. Instead of getting lost in our reactions, we must remember our motivation -- to be of immediate and ultimate service to all beings -- since it is the motivation behind our actions that counts.
  54. Each day we can resolve to do better and become more aware, more compassionate, and more skillful.
  55. From the vast openness and clarity of your innermost essence, an unconditional love and compassion radiates toward all beings; allow this to resonate in your being as long as possible after meditating.
  56. Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion.  Practice good-heartedness toward all beings.  Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you.  What they do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream.  The trick is to have positive intention during the dream.  This is the essential point.  This is true spirituality. Chagdud Rinpoche
  57. Remind yourself, "may the kindness I do be unseen by others.  May I share with all others the merit and positive power of my practice and my work, so that everyone enjoys good circumstances in their life and is free of suffering.  May all my positive efforts contribute to the enlightenment of all beings."
  58. Along with learning to meditate, it's necessary to train these 5 points for integrating meditation and life: practice meditation every day, extend the meditation into your next activity, use every experience as a reminder of the practice, practice frequently throughout the day, make your spiritual development a priority.
  59. In the stillness and silence of meditation, we glimpse and return to that deep inner nature that we have so long ago lost sight of amid the busyness and distraction of our minds. Sogyal
  60. Bring the clear awareness of your true nature to the way you perceive and relate to others.  From that perspective, every moment is the flow of meditation, every activity is prayer, everyone you meet is a potential Buddha, worth of respect.
  61. The obstacles that can arise from both good and bad circumstances should never deter us or dominate us.  We should be like the earth, which supports all beings, without distinctions of good or bad, favorable or unfavorable.  The earth simply abides.  Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
  62. Discipline means having the courage and quiet determination to remember always what is most important in life.
  63. There are three common sources of burnout: loss of perspective; an accumulation of grief and unfinished business; and exhaustion and stress.
  64. Recognize that setting limits -- saying no to some requests or refusing to take extra shfits at work -- can be an important expression of a fundamental love toward yourself.
  65. If you can do something about your problem, then there is no need to worry about it; and if you can't do anything, then what's the use in worrying?" Shantideva
  66. There are some situations where you cannot really do anything to make things better, so relax.
  67. In the essence of their being, no matter how they appear, each person is perfect, whole, and complete.
  68. We must acknowledge our mistakes and then forgive ourselves, moving into the next moment with a clean heart and no trace of judgment.