"From the beginning, the key to renewal has been the casting off of old skin"
It is interesting that the earliest peoples believed in something that we, in our modern hive of manufacturing, have forgotten-that immortality is attainable by shedding. The Dunsuns of Borneo have believed for centuries that when God finished creating the world, He announced that "Whoever is able to cast off his old skin shall not die."
But what does that mean? Not that we can live forever, but that the way to stay closest to the pulse of life, the way to stay in the presence of that divine reality which informs everything is to be willing to change. Still, change what? To change whatever has ceased to function within us. To shed whatever we are carrying around that is not alive. To cast off our dead skin because dead skin can't feel. Dead eyes cannot see. Dead ears cannot hear. And without feeling, there is no chance of wholeness, and wholeness remains our best chance to survive the pain of breaking.
Of course for human beings, dead skin takes many forms, the most significant of which remain intangible but suffocating, such as a dead way of thinking, a dead way of seeing, a dead way of relating, a dead way of believing, or a dead way of experiencing.
In essence, shedding opens us up to self-transformation. Paradoxically, those of us who refuse such renewal will, sooner or later, be forced to undergo transformation anyway as a result of being broken or eroded by the world. Very often both occur at the same time: that is we shed from within while being eroded from without.
What is dead skin for you? What can you shed, put to rest in order to gain greater access to the hidden wholeness of life?
Taken from "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo