Living life fully includes aging and dying. It's a natural process, and ripe with spiritual possibilities. Aging brings loss - what we once assumed to be "ours" slips away, revealing the pervasive truth of impermanence. But even as our memory slides, our cognitive speed slows down, and our bodies become more fragile, qualities of the heart reveal themselves.
We see that the potential for wisdom and compassion does not depend on the state of the body or on our age, but rather on the training of the mind to abide in timeless awareness. It is best to begin this training before you are ill or dying. Then, like a treasured friend, your own mind can accompany you through the challenges of aging, loss, illness and dying. Right now, we know we will die but we do not know when or how. Through engaging in a variety of contemplations on death in the communal space of retreat, our confidence in our capacity to meet death peacefully increases.