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The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully

Frank Ostaseski

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Do you see this glass?” he asked. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.”

“We can harness the awareness of death to appreciate the fact that we are alive, to encourage self-exploration, to clarify our values, to find meaning, and to generate positive action. It is the impermanence of life that gives us perspective. As we come in contact with life’s precarious nature, we also come to appreciate its preciousness. Then we don’t want to waste a minute. We want to enter our lives fully and use them in a responsible way. Death is a good companion on the road to living well and dying without regret.”

“Rest comes when we become more by doing less, when we don’t allow the urgent to crowd out the important”

“You have to open yourself up and let the pain move through you,” Elisabeth said. “It’s not yours to hold.”

“When we disown parts of ourself, we tend to judge others who display those same qualities. We lay claim to moral superiority. This holding too tightly to a role can create a chasm between people that’s difficult to cross.”

“The more permeable I became, the more I realized that we humans are just bundles of ever-changing conditions. We ought to hold ourselves more lightly. Taking ourselves too seriously is the cause of much suffering. We tell ourselves that we are in charge: “Buckle up! Get this done!” When in reality, we are quite helpless, subject to the events taking place around us. But that helplessness brings us into contact with our vulnerability, which can be a doorway to awakening, to a deeper intimacy with reality.”

“Spiritual practice helps us settle into the utter simplicity of being ourselves. The healing that it engenders happens when we bring awareness to the places that have hardened in us through the conditioned habits of grasping, resistance, and avoidance.”

“In the Buddhist tradition, there is an image known as the wheel of samsara. Samsara means the cycle of death and rebirth to which the material world is inextricably bound. The wheel as metaphor illustrates the continuous cycle of conditions that cause us to spin round and round. The engine that drives the wheel is sometimes referred to as the three poisons. These are the root causes of our suffering: craving (greed), aversion (hatred), and ignorance (delusion).”

“To welcome everything and push away nothing is an invitation to discover a deeper dimension of our humanity, to tap into something beyond our habitual selves. We can gain access to some part of us that includes, but is not driven by, our reactivity.”

“Love is what helps us accept ourselves, our lives and other people as is. When something unwanted--such as death, illness, loss of a job or relationship--approaches, it is natural for fear to arise. In such moments, we need to find some part of us that is not afraid. When you are afraid, don't you know that you are afraid? That means some part of you, that part that is witnessing your fear, is not afraid. It is not caught by the fear. We can learn to relate to difficult thoughts, strong emotions, or challenging circumstances from the vantage point of the witness, of loving awareness.”

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Book Keywords:

self, roles

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