Common Themes

One of the many benefits that have come from hosting the Death Dhamma podcast is the opportunity to speak with Buddhist teachers from multiple traditions, plus a few people who might not call themselves Buddhists but are definitely Buddhist-friendly. And while I am based in the United States, podcast guests can be anywhere. I have connected with people from the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. And Death Dhamma podcast listeners are also a globally diverse group.

Across all of our traditions and our various cultures, we all seem to benefit from some common practices. In dealing with the challenges that come with being human and living with impermanence, we gravitate toward contemplation, we create art, or sing or playing instruments. Or maybe we spend time viewing art and listening to music.

Sukhema draws on poetry, while music is an important part of Ratnadevi’s path to peace.

Sukhema shared some beautiful poetry with us.

The poem he wrote after he helped his granddaughter bury her pet hamster ends with her asking him, “Can we have a cuddle?”

And that illuminates our need for community. Sometimes we just need that cuddle. Other times we just need silence and to have someone to sit next to us. Or to take walk with us in nature. By the ocean, or at a lake, or in the mountains.

What differs is which activities bring us peace and help us to restore our strength. I don’t have a prescription pad where I can write you a prescription right now to say, “Take one hour of meditation and throw in an hour of music and a half-hour walk in nature.”

It’s really about each of us finding the right blend. And being open to the fact that each day is different. Each day what you need – your dosage if you will – can vary.

It might be a half hour of meditation and a ninety-minute walk on the beach or listening to music while you journal.

How do you know? Allow yourself to engage in some quiet self-reflection, and ask yourself, “What do I need to strengthen my ability to work with impermanence?” A little self-awareness can’t hurt either. In this way, you can understand what approaches will best support you.

We are all here together, working with the truth of suffering, and the truth that there is a way out of that suffering.


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