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Posted By Opening the Heart

   A patient that I see in my office recently told me that a friend of his died suddenly of pancreatic carncer. "She was a landscape artist-only 62 years old!" I thought how sad for my patient and for this landscape artist's children and community. And I began to wonder how do you "get" the whole of someone else's life and communicate it to those still living. Even the people closest to someone who dies, don't know all of the - what should we call them - "facts". There's a famous science fiction writer who tells of a person whose purpose it is to be "the speaker for the dead". This person does all the "research" and then, at a public gathering like a funeral or a wake, they "speak" for the person who has died. They tell the whole truth, the good and the harder to hear things that represent the life of the one who has passed. The idea intrigued me - of how you take the measure of one's life.

   I've been to a number of funerals and been moved to tears by the stories and deeds shared by loved ones. We come to "know" the person who died by what they did, what they accomplished when they were living. For me, this summing up, or eulogy if you will, begins to bump right up against the deepest of all questions: What is our purpose on earth? What are we here for? This is just my own take on this: we're here to learn how to be kinder more loving people. Bob Franke is a songwriter and he wrote "What can you do with each moment of your life but love til you love love it away- love til you love it away". Hafiz, the 14th century Sufi poet, in one of his poems talked of how everyone wants to be loved and he asks us to consider doing something different: not to be loved, but to love:

       "Why not become the one who lives with a full moon

       in each eye that is always saying,

       with that sweet moon language,

       what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?"

   So here's my solution to how to define the sum of a life lived. At birth we would all have a microchip subcutaneously implanted that would measure serotonin surges every time we do a loving deed as we go through our life- every time we practice a random act of kindness, every time we work in a soup kitchen and don't tell anyone about it, every time we hold another who is lost or defeated, every time we let another car go in front of us. Every time we are loving, the Serotonin Surge Implant (SRI) measures on the microchip and the greater the number is, the greater the life lived.

   There's a bumper sticker that used to say "The one with the most toys at the end, wins". Well, the new mantra would be "The one with the highest SRI score is the most honored". This, I think, is what we were made for: to do good by loving others and, therefor, making the world a kinder, better place. We would become what we were always meant to be- not just with our family and friends but with strangers. On a Friday night at an Opening the Heart Workshop, as we look around the circle, we are all strangers. Some 40 hours later, people look around that same circle with a full moon eye, giving what every other eye in this world is dying to know.

   With Love and Respect, Jon


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