Everfresh in the Changing

Category: Administrative

Notice of a Break (of Sorts)

I don’t know if you are aware, but I’m gathering these pieces on the early Buddhist approach to Death and Dying together, to make a book from them. Thanks for the feedback you’ve given me along the way.

It’s a rewarding project, but it’s reached a point lately where I have to sit down and do a lot of editing work. For instance, I have to go through every piece I’ve written over the last year and a half and see where it fits in the overall scheme. (I’ve got a broad outline, sketched out.) Until I do this, it’s a little confusing how the big picture is unfolding.

This means I’ll undertake, over the coming weeks, a painstaking process involving: reading through of each post, categorising each one, and managing the overall sorting process. I really can’t write any more pieces until I know how the whole thing is going.

I started this process on Subhana and Joyce’s bi-annual Creativity retreat recently, and it was really very helpful. It means a lot of thinking of a different sort than I do in the actual writing, though. Thank the Kosmos (and Literature and Latte) for Scrivener, to achieve this task with the minimum pain!

So, I’m sorry to say that it’s a choice presently between daily writing and this nitty-gritty editing process. Hence, I’ve decided to write to you only once a week, until this is done. Hopefully it won’t take long. Thanks again to you my readers. One reason that the voice has not been hard to find for this writing is because I think of you, and write directly for you.

What Happening Next?

Dear Friends,

Firstly, apologies for yesterday’s confusing post. I have been ill during this last week, and I was working late. The actual blog entry has been amended, to show what you should have received, if you would like to see it.

In a more general sense, I’m writing, now, to explain what’s happening with this blog, in case I have caused some confusion.

By all appearances, it should have finished. I died, after all, back in February. J On the other hand, on two counts I feel encouraged to write a book on the subject that emerged during those eight or nine months of writing.

Firstly, as I wrote, it became clear to me that there was sufficient value in the approach for me to consider turning it into a book, after I complete the initial task – which was: a blog written over the remaining months of my then current A Year to Live practice.

Secondly, during that time I had a number of suggestions, from readers who found the writing helpful to their path, encouraging me to publish it as a book. It was a joy to hear the particular points that people treasured, and to think that I was in some small way a help to their interior life.

So, I’m now going through the posts – culling, rewriting, and re-ordering them. It’s an interesting and enjoyable process – just as engrossing as the original creation – and it’s a fitting commitment during my current year of A Year to Live (which I began at the end of March); that is, to try and edit a new entry each day. With a chronic illness and my other commitments, it isn’t always possible, but it’s an inspiring commitment, and a labour of love.

I began to write another blog/book, over at thefocusingmandala.com.au, which is much more complex, phenomenologically. Its subject matter which is also something very dear to my heart However, it came to me, as I began editing the death and dying project, that it was going to take a lot more work than I realised – not only because it meant rewriting, but reordering in the light of a very different genre of publishing. So, I couldn’t give both these projects my full attention. I had to choose between them. Having already committed to this one, I realised I would pull back from the other. (Perhaps I’ll live long enough to complete both.)

If you stay, the posts will each be edited, some will be dropped out altogether, and some will be edited and relocated. Hopefully more coherence will emerge in the whole. If you stay, I hope you enjoy and benefit. I’ll try to activate the comments section, so that you can share your responses, if you wish.

You may want to stay with this ‘death and dying’ course, or you may wish to de-register. There’s an unsubscribe link, at the bottom of each post.

Wishing you all, in your path, much joy, and a deep appreciation of the basic beauty of being.



I’ve received an intimation that I will be reborn. This particular destination is not guaranteed, but… I can say that: if I return on 1 March – after a day in that bardo which we call the leap day in the Gregorian calendar, Feb 29 – I will be found at thefocusingmandala.com.au.

I will be exploring the dynamics of being a sentient being – specifically, of course, I mean being a human sentient being. But I do hope that the principles we uncover in that place will be applicable to cockroaches, mosquitoes, dogs, egrets and amœbas (or, amœbæ).

I think of a mandala as the basic space of oneself in one’s relationship to (….). So, to study the mandala principle in relation to focusing is to explore how meaning arises out of the basic space of our awareness in situations. I’m interested in the principles and the transformative power of basic space.


Conversation Time


If you’d like to join in some conversation about the topics in this blog, or ask some questions, before it closes in a few weeks time, then you can sign up at the forum especially created for this purpose. Here’s how (and please take the time to read this closely. I’ve written it with beginners in mind, so it should make sense. Read it again in a week or so, because it’s got everything you need in it.):

1. Go to: community.cloudrefuge.org

2. Click ‘Register,’ and you’ll get a page to create an account. Choose an easy short username to your liking, and provide your mailing address. (This will only be accessible by myself, Christopher, on the admin side of things.)

3. In response to your registration, you’ll get the sign-in page. You can’t sign yet, though, until you check your email, and retrieve a unique, secure password.

4. Find your email in your mailing address’ inbox. If it’s not there within a couple of minutes, you better check your junk mail.

The email has the user name which you chose; and there will be a password assigned by the forum software. Please save it.

(It’s better not to delete your email, unless you have saved the password. I won’t have access to your password, at all. Though, if you do lose it, there is the ‘Lost Pass’ button on the community.cloudrefuge.org page.)

5. Now you can use these to sign in. Once in, look around. You’ve got three main areas:

A) From the drop-down menu (where it says “G’day”) at the top-right corner, you can change your password after you’ve signed in, if you like. Open the drop down menu, and choose ‘Edit My Profile.’

B) In the middle of the page you’ll see where you can enter the forum.

C: You probably won’t need the Dashboard.

6. When you’re ready, open the link in the middle of the page, which says: Private: Practicing ‘A Year to Live’

7. You can then create a topic; or if there are some topics already posted, you can open the link and write a response.

Create a new topic for each new sharing or question, etc. Or continue with an already-created topic, if you have more to add to it.

A Time for Review

I am winding down. In the previous year’s practice of A Year to Live, I co-ordinated my practice with Joyce’s Year to Live group, which finished in February 2015. I began my next year’s practice just a little after that date, at the end of February. However her group then decided to have a little break, and begin again in April.
So, I’ll be ‘dying’ in ten days time – the evening of 28 February – whereas, they will outlive me. What does that mean? I”ll go to sleep on the night of the 28th, doing a particular meditation practice, and treating my entry into sleep as though it were my last moment of waking consciousness on this planet. (Later today, I”ll start working on a translation of the practice, which is from the Nikāyas.)
I started this ‘dying’ year blog thinking that I would probably wouldn’t exactly follow Stephen’s book, because it’s all there in the book, and Joyce would cover that in her group. (May the Stephen elements in the universe be at rest.) I thought that, instead, I would probably write about the kinds of conventional ‘death and dying’ practices that I had practiced for most years of (approximately) the last twenty. These kind of (Tibetan) practices have as their focus the task of ensuring that one is “ready,” as it is often said, ready to “exit this life – “to get our lives in order” psychically and materially. Because death can arrive at any time, that’s an important thing, obviously. Someone who has done that well lives vibrantly, unencumbered.
However, very quickly, it seemed to me, that if this were indeed my last year, I’d want to look more deeply into the matter of death itself – in life, and at the ‘last.’ I’d like to be acquainted with death, not because I’m going to exit at some later time, but because I want to know what death is, in this ‘now.’ Maybe we don’t understand what the word ‘death’ refers to, and all our ‘preparations’ might be unnecessary social constructions? It occurred to me, as I got into the practice, this time last year, that I hadn’t ever – in all these years of death and dying practice – I hadn’t practiced A Year to Live with only the historical Buddha’s approach. What was it? And, so it was that this year of looking at ‘what is death’ from the Nikayas point of view came about. I’m so glad that I took this route. And, now I have ten days to complete the task (presuming that I do actually live that long.)
I’m going to open up a forum, so that if anyone would like to comment, question, or engage in dialogue for the next ten days, you are welcome. I’ll send instructions in the next day or so. (After I figure out how to work it.) Maybe these posts have made you think about how ‘death’ is in your living? Maybe it has made you touch the losses that are inevitable in life. Maybe it has helped you live more vibrantly by cherishing your daily evanescent and precious moments. Maybe you’re more realistic or more frightened? Maybe you’d like to share that with others. You’re welcome.


In my ‘Today is a good day to die’ post,  I mean to say

“From the way my development has gone so far, I think that my knowledge that I did harm to others will be uncomfortable until I die. That’s just the way the heart is, when it understands.”

Not: “That’s not the way the heart is, when it understands.”


No Post Today 

My software failed me tonight. I wrote for two hours, and closed my editor while I had a break. Then, I opened it up again, to finish, but the former text was not there – it had been wiped out by an older copy automatically copied from another computer. Search as I could, I couldn’t find my two hours work. It was unexpected, and irrevocable.

What I had written about – and contemplate it again, tomorrow – was how karma works. If we are at present afraid to think of death, lest we invite physical death, then by understanding how karma works, we can slowly, gently, release our grip on our prohibitive thoughts, taking steps toward allowing the contemplation. A new freedom can be born through an understanding of karma.

“There you go…”

It seems that through some error of mine, I have lost 38 posts. My WordPress site broke, so I had to reinstall, and I couldn’t find a way to save the database, at that point. I haven’t lost the texts (which I keep in Scrivener), but I’ve lost some posts on the blog.

I had a backup, from over a month ago, so I was able to restore the site and many posts, but not your subscriber email addresses. So please re-subscribe.

The backup could only restore posts that were written before September 10. (Good lesson in this; quite apart from the lessons about uncertainty, contingency, and transiency! Backup regularly. Losses don’t happen regularly, but they do happen. It’s like cancer, in that respect.) Overnight, I’ll look for a solution to restoring the record.

My paternal grandmother, when we were up against some unmovable fact of reality, would say “There you go…” with a half-smile and a sense of: “And, on life goes, just the same…” I can hear her now, bless her.


Dear Friends,

I’ve been told, and I’ve verified, that the comments function isn’t working. I’ve not been able to track down what the problem is, and so we don’t have any way of having a conversation at present. I’ll keep looking into it.


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