Beyond Ideas of Life and Death
~ Will Pye
When I initially encountered the diagnosis of a brain tumor I embraced the possibility I was going to die in the next few months or couple of years. I really got into the idea and let go of all ambitions, plans, desires, hope, ideas of who I should become or not become, fears of what might or might not be and so on and in so doing a funny thing happened - life became enough, more than enough, just as it is. Life being this. This. This. Whatever form this currently takes, whatever form arises within this 'this', ultimately life is only always this. After a few months of contracting back into learnt patterns of fear and imagining something needs to happen for joy to arise I have awoken once more to the ever-present underlying joy that is more me than me. Being this joy is far more important than trifling matters of when I will die or prolonging life not least because being this joy is the most healing, nay healed, experience I know. So, in giving up all ideas of healing, all methods, techniques, practices, all striving and just being with this moment, the only moment there ever truly is, I am healed. That is I am whole; I experience myself as whole and complete.
Right now I am alive. Right now I am completely free of any symptoms of having a brain tumour. In this I am wonderfully lucky and unspeakably grateful. Indeed my day-to-day experience is not someone who has a brain tumour. I have a website and book which speak to the experience and one might interpret this as evidence that it defines my life yet the content emphasises that the experience is in fact not an 'I have a brain tumour experience' or 'I am going to die experience' but rather 'Look! This brilliance, this extraordinary experience we call life. Look!' It is a pointing to the ever-present delightful mystery of being alive. And it happened to be the case in this experience that it took a diagnosis of a brain-tumour to really bring this home. And it happens to be the case that 'I was diagnosed with a brain-tumour and there is joy' gets attention in a way that 'there is joy' does not quite achieve. Of course in either instance the key message is that there is joy. This joy is complete and needs nothing yet in my experience there is a wanting to share, a wanting to connect. To observe this joy arise in my experience is a joyous experience on top of the joy, truly joy of joys. Similarly when I point to this joy or speak from this joy and another has it arise in their experience I am more deeply immersed in the experience of joy. Indeed sometimes when this happens for a while, at a talk perhaps, there is an almost complete loss of self-consciousness; the joy and expanse is so overwhelming that there is simply no room for thoughts of me, the usual 'I hope I look good'/'I hope I don't look bad'/'I want this'/'I don't want that' to arise. This is very very nice!
So it should be clear why I am sharing on this curious topic. Why I am writing, speaking about the experience to anyone that will listen - it is joyous for me and for the great majority joyous for them.
And within this joyous celebration of this moment death is but a curious possibility to be enjoyed when it presents itself. Nothing to be avoided or in any way concerned by. I have realised that my priority is not to heal or do this or that, rather only and always to access this joy, to be this joy, to express and share this joy. There is nothing more beautifully important. It is so precious, so delightful that I would rather one moment of it than a hundred years of suffering. Given the choice between staying alive another 50 years as per 'normal', flashes of peace and harmony within a sea of stress and suffering, or another day as this joy I would take the day without hesitation. How curious that we so strive to avoid death, so desire to make stuff, do stuff, become some image of who we think we should be, when life's greatest offering, its sweetest experience, perhaps the only true accomplishment and yet not an accomplishment at all is to truly be, here and now, awake to this exquisite experience, whatever form it might now be taking.
I ask you, with love and a mischievous curiosity - is joy possible in your experience now?
And now? :-)
Will Pye, Author of Blessed with a Brain Tumor: Realizing It's All Gift and Learning to Receive experienced an unusual response to a brain tumor diagnosis - one of curiosity, radical gratitude, and acceptance. How could this be? Learn more about his story...
Will is a social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, writer, mentor, friend and wisdom teacher. He was a guest facilitator at Simply Grace's first Awakening Grace event for a day experience. We look forward to collaborating again with him!
By the age of 26 Will created a successful business career in charity fundraising culminating in the founding of his own company. At the same time, Will was experiencing emotional and psychological suffering that prompted a quest to find the reality of life's biggest questions. Will has made an exhaustive study of various fields of human endeavor and an intensive exploration of various transformative practices such as psychological techniques, meditation, yoga, Qi Gong and shamanic work.