Laurie Anderson and her husband Lou Reed used Buddhist philosophy to cope with Reed’s imminent passing.
Taking into their hearts, beliefs on attachment, rebirth, and the present moment, the couple was able to avert themselves from fear, and in its place found overwhelming love during a typically tragic occasion.
Laurie Anderson – performance artist, meditator, and wife of Lou Reed – wrote an extraordinarily beautiful description in this week’s Rolling Stone of her husband’s death. The couple were students of Yonge Mingur Rinpoche and had studied Buddhist teachings on how to prepare for death — and how to live when one spouse has a terminal illness.
After Reed became sick with liver cancer and then other diseases, Anderson writes, “We tried to understand and apply things our teacher Mingyur Rinpoche said – especially hard ones like, “You need to try to master the ability to feel sad without actually being sad.”
As his death approached, he came home from the hospital:
As meditators, we had prepared for this – how to move the energy up from the belly and into the heart and out through the head. I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou’s as he died. His hands were doing the water-flowing 21-form of tai chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn’t afraid. I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life – so beautiful, painful and dazzling – does not get better than that. And death? I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love.At the moment, I have only the greatest happiness and I am so proud of the way he lived and died, of his incredible power and grace.I’m sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again. And I am suddenly standing here by myself stunned and grateful. How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives. (theidproject.org)