It is very hard to believe that an entire year has passed since Jeremy’s passing — and yet, here we are.
As I shared with family and friends earlier today, it’s an impossible reality that Jeremy died, one that I am living with every day. How to live without him here in the flesh? I don’t think I am any closer to having resolved this question; rather, I live out the answer each day by continuing to walk this earth — loving and appreciating my family and friends, doing all I can to help others, and experiencing the beauty in each moment, even the challenging ones.
There are many things that could be said about our beloved Jeremy. Of his enormous and tender heart, of his compassion and deep desire to be of service in this world, of his brilliance, of his understanding and wisdom, of his beauty, of his vulnerability, and of his commitment to healing and Self-knowing … but who he was and is goes beyond all of these descriptions. Every word I could ascribe to his Being-ness are inadequate.
I find myself on this day feeling quiet, and yet also wanting to create space for all of us who love him to remember him and honor all the ways he touched our lives.
As many of you know, Jeremy was, among other things, a gifted and visionary writer. He wrote a piece in 2004 that, ten years later, he recognized as prophetic. For me, this poem — called To Die While Living — echoes one of the great legacies of his life: that this life we have is a gift. Jeremy’s life has inspired me in a profound and permanent way to always remember this and to live, inhabit, and appreciate each moment as fully as possible.
I feel compelled to share this piece with you, as a celebration of him and an acknowledgement of what he discovered and then rediscovered, the truth of which continues to echo and reverberate for us all.
To Die While Living
Jeremy Raymond Geffen
Throughout history saints, sages, and mystics have spoken about the phenomenon of “dying while living.” What does this mean? And how do we do it?
Dying means letting go of the known, at the deepest levels. When a wave arrives in your life that is sweeping away what you have known and loved — or thought that you knew and loved – to die while living involves recognizing and acknowledging what is happening, and allowing it to occur, with as little resistance as possible. Holding on with desire, fear, longing, or regret only creates sadness, stress, anxiety, and pain — with no change in the outcome.
The antidotes to fear, stress, anxiety, and pain are surrender, trust, kindness, and unconditional love — directed gently from the Self to the self. They soften the blows of change, transformation, and death. They ease the way. They make the unbearable somehow bearable.
Growing up, no one told us this either. Most of us had to learn it the hard, old-fashioned way, through trial and error. And through surviving depths of pain, loss, heartbreak, and grief that we thought were not survivable.
Ultimately, grace and love make this possible. Grace and love make everything possible.
In the end, we are not who we think we are. Dying while living makes this clear. Most of all, we are not the separate, limited beings we think we are — despite all appearances to the contrary, and despite however real and compelling these appearances might seem. And who we think we are is not in control — despite our best efforts to prove otherwise, day after day, lifetime after lifetime.
To die while living means to discover these truths, while remaining present in the body.
To die while living means to consciously let go of who we think we are, while continuing to eat, breath, act, and move as needed.
To die while living means to watch whom we
think we are dissolve and disappear into nothing, while remaining awake and attentive — watching, feeling, and releasing whatever arises and falls away in the process.
To die while living means to let go of the known, and to leap, or fall — or crawl — into the unknown, and to keep going — and surrendering — no matter what happens.
To die while living means to touch, to notice, and to feel the infinite, tender, sacred presence of grace and love that guide this great mystery of life and death. This same sacred presence is revealed in our lives and our being in every moment — if we only stop to look, listen, see, and feel our deepest essence.
To die while living means to be completely, utterly vulnerable and uncertain — to say, “I don’t know” to all questions.
To be reborn is to have this really, truly be okay … perhaps for the first time ever.
My dear love, I remain forever yours, and forever grateful for who are and for the gift of knowing and loving you …