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August 9 ~ Preparing the Way ~ The Book of Awakening ~ Mark Nepo

August 9

Preparing the Way

"So long as you haven't experienced this:

to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth."

~ Goethe

  1. To die is not a bad thing. Cells die every day. Paradoxically, it is how the body lives. Casings shed. Coverings fall away. New growth appears. It is how we stay vital. Likewise, ways of thinking die like cells, and we suffer greatly when we refuse to let what's growing underneath make its way as the new skin of our lives. It is the stubbornness with which we refuse to let what's growing underneath come through that pains us. It is the fear that nothing is growing underneath that feeds our despair. It is the moment that we cease growing in any direction that is truly deadly.
  2. When resisting this process, we become a troubled guest, meaning like a human crow. We double the pain of living when we try to stop the emergence that all life goes through. Imagine if trees never shed their leaves, or if waves never turned over, or if clouds never dumped their rain and disappeared.
  3. I say this as much to remind myself as you: Little deaths prevent big deaths. What matters most is waiting its turn underneath all that is expending itself to prepare the way.

  • Sit quietly and consider the many selves you have been. As you breathe evenly, consider how the new self has always been growing underneath the old.
  • Now close your eyes and meditate on the newness growing within you right now.
  • As you breathe steadily, relax your grip on the habits of your mind that might be blocking your growth.


The Book of Awakening ~ Mark Nepo ~ Introduction and Table of Contents

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