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Friday, 6 April 2012
Arising and Passing Away
Last Saturday I went on a walk with a group of friends from Active Paros - it is such a great way to enjoy life, walking in nature, meeting new people. I met a man, Norbert, who was a joy to discover. He was not expected to live through 2010 and in the end, he has. So, we talked about those delicate, passionately interesting things, like death, and his experiences as he brushed with death, and of life, and what is important in life, and how meaningful love and friendship is.
And then he says something that gives me an inner sparkle of giddy Joy. We were talking about the fear of death, and trying to work out what it is exactly that is so fearful. He said that he believed it was because we have to go “there” alone, with no-body and no-thing, and then he quoted Rainer Maria Rilke who wrote in the Duino Elegies that we go so alone that we have “to lay aside even one´s proper name like a broken toy”.
And there we have it…the fear of being just us. Alone.
Not what we have, not what we do, not what we even call ourselves or this body we walk around in.
I mean, when we theorize, maybe we can mentally picture it…but bringing it down to earth we are also talking about, leaving the house, leaving life, without mobile phones (when was the last time?!) without internet, without anyone else, without money, food or water…really just us: the “who”, or more deeper still, the “what” we are.
It was a coincidence, or not, that we had been talking, just before, or just after, about change. I was wondering if change is what freaks us out, with the ultimate being, for us, the change through death. I had been talking about the change to Greece, how I had been “led” here and how I am considering the idea that we don´t make big decisions, like who we are with, where we live, but that we can only choose such things as whether to wake early, or not, whether to eat healthily, or not, whether to take time to go for a nice walk, or not, we can chose our perspective of where we are…but who we fall in love with, where we live, where we are going, it seems at least to me, that all we can do is accept it, or not. When we are responsible enough to accept it, we are healthy but when we don’t, Life knocks us back on track to our destiny. I believe we only have the will to will the Will of God (or however you conceive of that something bigger than us). When we go off from our chosen fate, we know about it, and when we are on it, we floowwwwww and it feels so good, the world shines in bright birthing colours vibrant with that which we cannot name.
There are those powerful moments in our lives when we accept the ideas that fate puts into us, a change within our lives, be it relationship, job, home, a new country or whatever. We sit, with the “old” life in tact still, friends, family, security and we connect with peaceful still logic we recognise the possibility of change, we accept this new dream, and realise that we can make it happen. And then we begin to plan.
And so, with some sort of nod of the head to destiny, the wheels of change set in motion…and then suddenly as changing reality crashes in, logic is difficult to find, as emotions whirl and spin and make us dizzy and disorientated. Are we making the right choice? Is this crazy? Have we really reached the limit of disorientated so that we actually consider listening to our father´s advise? Should we not just stay in our comfort zone? What is the Plan B? How are we going to survive in this newness?
And yet, this voice, the light within, though dim, is still barely present, and if we stay present enough maybe we can maintain our faith in that light from which we made the acceptance of a decision even though we cannot reach it in the whirlwinds of present emotions.
So I was telling Norbert about moving here to Greece, about a memory of accepting the decision under a fig tree and then returning home with my idea that suddenly became very real while running to a bank to cancel this, and remembering to cancel the gym, and meeting up with friends for the last drink swallowing stones in my throat as I tried not to cry again over imminent separation and feeling sick and feeble without the option to be ill knowing I had to put all my stuff into boxes and then take them somewhere for safekeeping and the telephone not stopping ringing, organising the farewell party and being sure I had forgotten something really important and wondering if I really actually want to go anywhere at all, or if it wouldn´t be better to just stay in bed.
In this situation there are two options: 1) freak out big time or 2) have faith that when you were sat in that quiet tranquil place and had your dream and made your plan, that it was valid, from a higher place than you are now freaked out in and it has been made by your higher self for your best interests. And though you cannot reach that still, harmonious place as you are about to collapse in a nervous breakdown as the telephone company puts you on hold for the umpteenth time, and you run out of boxes for your stuff that is piled up in the middle of the room…you have faith that that place, that stillness within, does, really does, exist. And with that faith we take each tiny step along the bridge from one world to the next.
And suddenly I thought, maybe that is just a fractal example of Life? Could it be so? Could it be that as Soul, we are floating in the Spiritual Oneness, and we look down on life, and we realise that something is amiss - we need to learn something. So we have a look down on planet Earth and see a family´s dynamics, how they will form us, where it will lead us, who we will be attracted to and within which wounds hold our salvation, the solutions to our much needed lessons, and in that quiet stillness of Love as we look down onto our ideal birthing place, we make a little plan for our next life, so that we can become better beings, with bigger hearts, so that we can maintain our centeredness throughout. We breathe the decision and go fill in a little form at the heavenly office, where – Hallelujah! - there are no queues, or complicated forms, you just express what conditions and life experiences you need to learn best, and hey presto, with a lightening flash we are conceived. Maybe we can say it was our Love that brought our parents to that orgasmic high? And then as we are born, as Plato suggests, an angel taps us on the forehead and we forget everything as we swim across the River of Oblivion into our present existence.
As we go through our little collapsings, we forget that we planned all of this for our own good. All we can see are the boxes that are piling high full of our emotional baggage. Where will we put them all? How will we ever get through all this? Should we not just stop and stay where we are? And yet Life moves us along.
As we walk through the tribulations of life we need to consider if we have faith that the Universe is on our side. Do you have faith that that stillness, that we have almost forgotten about, really does exist?
And I come back to Rainer Maria Rilke´s line of leaving behind our name like a broken toy. As we are faced with death - each day the death of a day, or of the death of a relationship, the death of an idea, or as two of my good friends have experienced recently, death of parents, and ultimately our own death - how are we to react? As many of us are faced with our imminent financial crisis, or with health crisis, or relationship problems…are we able to live them successfully? For only with a successful life can we have a successful death.
And by successful I mean, the ability to stay centred, to remember that calm, still place within, to have faith that the Universe, that place within ourselves, is on our side. We have to somehow constantly re-cord (pass over the heart again) that we are being showered with blessings, even when they are in disguise. Are we capable of walking through life, with nothing to our names, with no-one to blame for our weaknesses, with no-thing, no object to substitute for gaps in our characters, are we prepared to face life stark naked and be brave enough to enjoy it, without fear of lack, without the fear of the fear of death. Are we prepared to just be?
And when the dots of remembering start to join up, when we begin to get it, when we are steady stillness, like a lighthouse in the middle of the changing storms of Life, when we accept what is around us with equanimity, loving for nothing but Love, when we are still enough to actually listen to life and enjoy what is - the violin playing at the window, a flower blooming, a smile of friendship, the sun hiding behind the horizon painting the sky - and to give birth to it in our loving attention and be wise to know it will rise and pass away, to accept ourselves and others in their black days and know the tree still grows on the hill waiting for us to notice, maybe then, when we can be still within as the world whirls change, perhaps we are ready for a successful death bridging us from one world to the next. For ultimately there would be no change, just us, alone without a body or a name, filled with Joyous Peace and Loving Truth, uniting with the same.