Nov 25 2013

From moment to moment

Published by at 9:40 am under Other Voices,Poetry

I had an unexpected email dialog over the weekend, one I found deeply moving and inspiring. I am still sifting through my thoughts and emotional responses– A reader of the Poetry Chaikhana sent me a poem and a simple, honest discussion of his own death. The clarity and dignity expressed in his poem and accompanying note left me without words.

He has given me permission to share some of it with you.


Thanks for posting such great poetry.

I found “Naked in the Bee-Hive” [by Hakim Sanai] especially poignant since I now sit on my death bed with the condition of pulmonary fibrosis and a plan to fast out soon.

I write this not for your condolences. I accept this as a gift. So I send this note just to share thanks for posting thought-provoking poetry about living, loving and dying – the three most precious and sacred experiences we humans are gifted to have.

Perhaps, someday, the Mystic Poets’ words will guide all of us toward greater peace and love.

With that, I’m sending you my latest effort to express this moment in my life:

Moment of Wonder

it is written:
“…live from moment to moment…”
how is that?
what is the “to”?
is the “from moment” different
than the “to moment”?
is separation so absolute that
I am different from
you are different from
she is different from
they are different from
we are different?
is everything different
from the ultimate beginning
before time was time
and space was space?
what was the stone before
it was the stone?
what was the flower before
it was the flower?
what was the sun before
it was the sun?
who were you before
you were you
or before the earth?
what was this moment before
this moment?
and after?

~ ebj 11/14/2013

…The perspective I’ve come to adopt on life and death have been heavily influenced by the Mystics of history and present times. Through them, and many personal relationships, I have discovered the beauty of living with integrity, mindful that all experience is transient while still inherently meaningful, and serving others through one’s heart can serve us well along our path and help alleviate much of life’s suffering as is illuminated by the First Noble Truth.

With this belief as a guide, I’ve been blessed to experience the ineffable sense of Oneness where death is as sacred as birth along with all forms of conscious experience (perhaps even non-conscious experience!)

In peace and with love along our paths…


My sincere thanks and admiration to ebj for allowing me to share his insight and poetry at this profound moment in his life.

Sending love to ebj and to all of you!


20 responses so far

20 Responses to “From moment to moment”

  1. Alan Jacobson 25 Nov 2013 at 10:04 am

    If he is really on his death bed then the best adice is from the GITA


    Text 10

    prayana-kale manasacalena
    bhaktya yukto yoga-balena caiva
    bhruvor madhye pranam avesya samyak
    sa tam param purusham upaiti divyam


    One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and, by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

    In this verse it is clearly stated that at the time of death the mind must be fixed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For those practiced in yoga, it is recommended that they raise the life force between the eyebrows (to the ajna-cakra). The practice of shat-cakra-yoga, involving meditation on the six cakras, is suggested here. A pure devotee does not practice such yoga, but because he is always engaged in Krishna consciousness, at death he can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His grace. This is explained in verse fourteen.

    The particular use of the word yoga-balena is significant in this verse because without practice of yoga—whether shat-cakra-yoga or bhakti-yoga—one cannot come to this transcendental state of being at the time of death. One cannot suddenly remember the Supreme Lord at death; one must have practiced some yoga system, especially the system of bhakti-yoga. Since one’s mind at death is very disturbed, one should practice transcendence through yoga during one’s life.

    Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
    (combined commentary for verses 9 and 10)

    Without practice of yoga it is difficult to withdraw the mind from sense objects. Without withdrawing the mind from sense objects, it is difficult to constantly think of the Lord. Therefore one should execute bhakti along with some type of yoga practice. The Lord here speaks of such bhakti mixed with astangayoga (yoga misra bhakti) in five verses.

    The Lord is omniscient (kavi). But though one may be omniscient, like Sanaka and others, one is not eternal. Therefore, the Lord is described as purana, without beginning. Though he is both omniscient and without beginning, this does not indicate that he becomes the instructor of bhakti as paramatma. Therefore he is called anusasitaram, the teacher, by mercy giving instructions about devotion to himself when he appears as Krishna or Rama. Though he is merciful, he is still a difficult object to know factually: compared to the smallest he is even smaller. Then, is he like the jiva, the size of an atom? No, he is also of the greatest size, spreading everywhere, since everything is contained within him (sarvasya dhataram). Thus he is said to be inconceivable in form (acintya rupam). Though he appears of medium size, as a human being, his manifestation is independent of all others. Thus he has a form (varna), which is like that of the sun (aditya), revealing both himself and others. Thus, though he is the possessor of maya sakti (prakrti), his form is transcendental to prakrti or maya (tamasah parastat).

    At the time of death (prayana kale), with unwavering mind, engaged in bhakti with constant remembrance of me as described above, he attains me. How does he attain unwavering mind? He attains it through the strength of his practice of yoga (yoga balena). The yoga process is then described. Fixing his prana in the ajna cakra (bhruvor madhye), he attains me.

  2. Lois Holubon 25 Nov 2013 at 10:25 am

    Thank you ebj, for sharing with such open heart and clarity, and thank you Ivan for providing such a place for us to be together in sacred space even through the internet. As a Threshold Singer for many years, I’ve been blessed beyond blessing and honored beyond words to sing for those who are indeed, at the threshold of this mystery called death (some in pain, some suffering fear. some waiting to let go, some actively dying, some having just passed) We all approach death uniquely and in accord with our own hearts & minds, I think. The need is so great – with family, friends, strangers, ourselves — in our dominant culture here in the US, to reclaim and allow ourselves a courageous, tender, and intimate relationship with dying, death, and grieving. Thank you, Ivan, and Chaikhana readers, for this place to grow in understanding and mindfulness and curiosity. Love to you ~ Lois

  3. MariaChristinaon 25 Nov 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you ejb and Ivan, for sharing these intimate insights, realisations and considerations. They leave me very still and in honor for what we all share: perceiving the miracle of being and not being. Thank you. May you pass well and in love and peace. Maria

  4. Warwick Onyeamaon 25 Nov 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you Ivan both for the regularity of the fine poetry you send us and specifically for this piece by ebj. May his good soul be blessed as it makes the transition that we will all eventually be required to undertake, each in our own way and particular circumstances. I am reminded of a statement by one of the Christian Mystics who advised living life as a gift from God and each day as though it were our last.

    God speed to each and everyone of us.

  5. Erinon 25 Nov 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you for this gift, both Ivan and ebj. I give you permission to use any of my photos from my “pilgrimage” walk this past weekend on my blog should you care to for any future posts. Each Poetry Chaikhana entry is a fantastic pause button to space and time, bringing me back to what is essential.

  6. Clareon 25 Nov 2013 at 1:24 pm

    pure beauty <3

  7. Steven Monacoon 25 Nov 2013 at 1:49 pm

    While it is true words dont touch the preciousness of life and its seeming changes at the time of what is called death. It is how we can transmit meaning to each other. Death has spoken to me a couple times as of recently, my teenage daughters death years ago, and my dance recently with cancer. I feel to face death IS our spirituality, the reason, if one is needed and the Essence.

    I read the words ‘transition’; which, I have also used many time to describe the dance with death… in this moment I question if there is a transition, or simply a change of a dream ( for us ). mere specs of consciousness falling, in and with humility, back into the sea of life… the Mysterious. I yearn for more dialog with those close and willing…

    ebj… Si! Embrace living loving and dying… (is there a difference?) I sense u are.

  8. maryon 25 Nov 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Hello, Ivan. I feel that we are friends as everytime that you send a poem that especially moves me I feel that you have sent it to me, personally, just at that moment. The other day you sent some lines that echoed perfectly my sentiments about a relationship that I am currently grieving. Today, I read with curiosity the note and poem from ebj. My own father is currently close to death from pulmonary fibrosis, so it truly touched a chord. It is wonderful to be united with like-minded poetry lovers on this site. I thank you for creating it and I wish ebb peace and a prayer for the ultimate healing.

  9. Danon 25 Nov 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful reflections…from ebb and those who have commented. May everyone continue to open to the loving presence carried in the poems….

  10. chitraon 25 Nov 2013 at 6:47 pm

    thank you for sharing. My prayers for him and all alike

  11. Kathy Stewarton 25 Nov 2013 at 8:26 pm

    thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!

  12. franon 25 Nov 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Ebj thank you for your quires & questions that taunt and reach out to Another for a responce or just to Listen to you very important…….wishing you pain free life and Oneness in transition. fran

  13. Patricia Summerson 25 Nov 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Truly sacred. I am so thankful for your sharing these words. I feel quite similar, though who knows when my death approaches- maybe tomorrow…the magic of love continues. We are Spirit on our way back Home. I will see you there maybe? Namaste my brother with Soulful love. Xoxo “Wholly Unique– I asked, “Who are you like in your overwhelming beauty?” He replied, “Only myself, as I am quite unique.” I am love, lover, and the Beloved.
    I am Beauty, I’m the mirror,
    and the longing eye.”
    ~Abu Sa’id Abi ‘l-Khayr

  14. Shashikant Sawdekaron 25 Nov 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Dear EJB,

    I am so happy to read your account and see that one more being has gifted the highest treasure of such understanding and experience of it. It’s very nice to see such experience/example in our times. And thanks to Ivan for helping including all of us in this experience.

    With much love, regards and abundant blessings.

  15. vegeteon 26 Nov 2013 at 4:30 am

    Dear ebj

    It is said to Live the question.
    And that is exactly what I hear you doing as you go forward.

    You are love. A blessing for this world.
    That is what I feel as I read your words.

    I believe that it is the boat that will carry you to.

    with love,

  16. sandeon 26 Nov 2013 at 6:15 am

    Thank you. Death is a subject that hits us all – some of us are accepting and some of us fight to the very last. Some of us believe in an after life/reincarnation/heaven and some of us think of a complete blankness as their ‘end’. it is a subject we all need to think about ‘before’ it happens, so we are at peace with it when it does.

  17. shannon sullivanon 26 Nov 2013 at 6:15 am

    Please thank ebj for sharing his next step with us. I am grateful.

  18. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 26 Nov 2013 at 11:25 am

    You have brought me into the sacredness of your dying, ebj. Your words–living, loving and dying–express what unites us in our journey together. I am grateful to all for the sharing and to Ivan for providing the space to make this possible. My prayers
    are with you.

  19. Indu K.Mallahon 01 Dec 2013 at 6:09 am

    Touching, insightful, meaningful. Thank you, ebj, Ivan, Lisa.

  20. narimanon 05 Dec 2013 at 4:11 am

    It is deeply moving I have tears in my eyes .Life death ,love beauty and all things spiritual or material unites us with the divine .

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