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What Does It Mean to Die Before We Die?

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Frank Ostaseski, Buddhist teacher and founder of the Metta Institute and Zen Hospice Project.

Contemplation opens space to let go of our illusions and attachments, so we may experience inherent union.

August 25th, 2022

What one thing has been the hardest for you to let go? Try not to answer right away but sit with the question in contemplative prayer. Let the question sink into you, resonating in your heart and your bones, going beyond the ego, and finding the answer in your True Self. 

Contemplative practice can be five or twenty minutes of “dying,”—letting go of the small mind to experience the big mind, letting go of the false self to experience the True Self, and letting go of the illusion of separation from God to experience our inherent union. 

Frank Ostaseski, Buddhist teacher and founder of the Metta Institute and Zen Hospice Project, reminds us it is in those contemplative moments that we discover the freedom of “dying before we die.” 

Click to Watch: Discover how “dying before we die” empowers us to let go of regrets to be a spiritual being in a “sometimes cruel, but always beautiful and mysterious world.” 

Reflect With Us

Frank Ostaseski says that the two most important questions people ask him before death is: Am I loved? and Did I love well? How would you answer those questions? Are your answers aligned with how you want to show up in the world?  Share your reflection with us. 


We Conspire is a series from the Center for Action and Contemplation featuring wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Sign up for the monthly email series and receive a free invitation to practice each month. 

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