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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

Alone we Die





I have captioned a still from Star Wars episode 4: “A New Hope,” depicting R2D2 face down upon Tatooine after being stunned by the Jawas. For when it is taken wildly out of context it is a poignant portrait of vulnerability and solitude. Wiser folks than I have observed that our experience of birth is one of solitude as is that of death. For although others may be present, in close proximity, the actual experience: visceral and frightening, and visceral; is one uniquely solitary in its execution. The human capacity to feel alone with our sensations, emotions, and thoughts can feel profound, infinite, and vast. And yet is can be happily punctuated by the kindness of others. Like the denizens of the Netherlands who have instituted the Lonely Funeral Project. It is a government policy where if an individual dies un-mourned the state issues a civil servant, and a poet who composes and reads a poem written specifically for the deceased individual. In the vast ocean of human cruelty there can arise a lone island of kindness and decency. May it not be lone for long.


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