Daily Tao / 91 – Funeral

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Hearse of weathered black enamel,
Undertakers fingering cigarettes.
Family, some crying, some bored,
Some only thinking of themselves.
Hired marching band out of tune.
Even in death we find no accord.

If you look closely at a dead person, can you truly see a soul? Is there anything left of the person that you knew? No. There is only a corpse, one that doesn’t even look familiar; whatever animates people is gone. Have they flown to heaven? Have they gone into some cycle of transmigration? I don’t know. Theories about what happens after death can only be conjecture.
A funeral is for those left behind. It is a ritual for us to come to grips with what has happened. Sometimes, one wonders if the weeping is more out of fear for ourselves than it is sympathy for the deceased.

All our lives, we seek union. We try to please our parents, we try to do well for our teachers and society, we try to make love and get married, we try to touch the universal through art, music, and meditation. Yet all our lives, our every attempt is flawed. Accord and harmony are transitory states. Their duration and quality come only from our determination. Once our mind gives way, we can no longer hold the connections that we want.

Don’t wait for death to solve your difficulties. Do what you must while you are alive.

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