Archives for posts with tag: death

When I die, I shall soar with angels, and when I die to the angels, what I shall become you cannot imagine.
-Rumi

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It is always hard when we lose someone who means so much.
This is my tribute to an old friend who has made a great journey into a new life.

2ab3a-sun_and_earth
Great Friend
Noble heart
Sacred Brother
Gentle Soul-

You were born into  a world imperfect
You sought what was perfect
good
and sublime.

Know that our tears
as our dearest tribute to you
as we
like children
feel  left to the world of limits
while you are not.

You will understand then
how we will miss you
as you are born to worlds beyond imagining.

There is little else to say
your chapter has been made complete
as you go on to write still more
in that great book of yours.
We are left to read what was writ
in this world alone
by your hand
as we visit you as we have known you
and can only guess at the chapters yet to come.

I love you, my Sacred Brother.

You do not know death when it touches you because you have lost touch with how it touches you constantly.  You have fooled yourself into believing that death is a great drama, a great fear, an unknown.  But I can tell you that all of this stuff about death is itself a giant ruse, a play for your own satisfaction just to scare yourself.  For many here, death is like a roller coaster ride with a bloody end, a hatchet, a bug that will eat you from the inside out.  Death is unknowable, mysterious and thus fertile ground for every fear you ever had about what is not known.

That is why what I am going to tell you about your death will upset you because of how utterly anticlimactic it is.  Death is simple and death is known in each of your moments.  You have simply resfused to see its coming and going because you have attached fear to it and thus do not know it by any other means than the scary dark and empty things it seems to conjure.  You have so convinced yourself that you just aren’t sure what lies on the other side of death that death has help a delicious coldness, a dramatic iciness that you SAY you hate, yet the movie houses are packed when death is on the menu and billboards.  No, you wont like what I am going to tell you because you have been living in this illusion that you have created.  But it is a creation we have all imbibed in at one time or another.  Images of the Grim Reaper are perfect encapsulations of just how we feel about it.  We go knobby-kneed and our stomach lurch and we have a sense of panic in us even when its someone else who has gotten cancer and wont be making their way back, just a headlong hurdling into that dark (and uncertain) night. We fill Halloween with it and we deliciously lap it up because the truth is, it is more about a play, a drama, than anything that is real.

But what is real.  You don’t want to hear that one.  But I will tell you.

Death exists as a most important catalyst for change in us every moment of the day.  Death is not the thing that draws us down into nothingness, but rather is something that happens all the time in our spiritual lives.  You don’t see it as death because you are too focused on images of the grim goblins and scythe-bearing monstrosities.  I have myself died many times over in big and small ways.  These deaths were not even marked by major changes in my life where one life ended and another began.  No, death has been far more ubiquitous than that.  And I don’t want you to think that I am telling you this in a pejorative sense, or a symbolic sense.  Death is itself not something that stops your heart. The heart of death is the heart of transformation.  You see, when you learn how to surrender, to really let go, what happens to you?  We KNOW what happens to us.  We die.  We all know this is so in our bones and we even say that an orgasm is a “little death” which I insist is only possible when we give ourselves to it, when we surrender, when we let go.  When we do, something marvelous and amazing happens.  We go beyond our limits, we change.  We don’t fade away.  Nothing in us really truly dies, but we are certainly transformed and THIS is the great thing most of you miss.  You miss the wonder in death, the beauty and amazement caught up within it.  Just think, if death is really this, then what on earth has created such a disparity between what I am telling you now and what we all collectively seem to think or feel about it?  Just think about that disparity and then imagine with me that this in fact is the divide that we all share about death in our lives and our own inability to see it for what it is.  Death is not a single act, we just associate it with that because death is what ends a life before our very physical eyes.

In the past couple of years I have begun seeing a very odd looking creature in my meditations.  He shows up in my third eye or mind’s eye quite clearly.  He is this very scruffy looking…..dog.  Except this dog has the body of a man.  But no, the head of the dog didn’t even look much like a dog.  It was like a really sad looking dog…..a very narrow snout and a very scruffy and kind of long-haired creature with eyes, though, that sparkled with a type of mischief and wonder.  “What on earth is THAT!??” I thought when I first saw this thing.  It was so out there, so odd, so….random.  For a while the image just irked me a little.  It was only later as I turned the image in my head around that I realized there was some sort of god in Egyptian myth that had a dog’s head or something similar.  I looked it up and sure enough, there was a god who had the head of a jackal and the body of a man.  The Egyptian form was very clean, though.  I wondered.  I looked a jackals themselves and realized, oh yes, this was most certainly a jackal!  But why was this being coming to me?  Well it turns out that this god is called Anubis.  He is God of the Underworld and is related to death.  He is there when a person’s heart is being weighed along with the feather.  That guy.  I really haven’t had much interest in the Egyptian gods and myth, but I suppose I must have picked it up somewhere.  In awakenings it is not unusual to have these ancient forms come to life right in front of you in order to help in moving old material out of the psyche.  Maybe I needed a grand play.

Anubis would show up at odd times, random times. No reason, no message, just, “Hi, I am here!”

So it was with a friend that we talked about this at length.  I was asked  what did I think Anubis was trying to tell me where it comes to his presence in my life at this time?  The answer was that it was about death.  But clearly, this was not about the big D but rather something deeper, the true essence of death, which is more about letting go, surrendering.  When we resist death, even our own deaths, we do not die fully and thus, as I was told, do not go as conscious into our deaths as we could.  Here it was made clear to me by my Egyptian god-friend that the way we allow ourselves to die, how we give ourselves over to just letting go of things that actually helps to determine our rate of ascension.  The thing is, though, is that you do not have to wait upon physical death to experience this, no, because death is always here, you just don’t recognize it because you have created a monster when in fact death is a great and wonderful ally.

IN a waking dream, a guided journey, I looked at this Anubis as he had settled down around me staring at me from across a distance just outside my studio.  It was dark and I lay inside my studio on my bed, wondering what this was all about.  There was a giant pile of chairs all heaped up and I was asked what this all meant to me.  I thought about this and realized, this was about resisting death, resisting change.  So simple an image; I was sitting, waiting.  I was not standing up, I was sitting down and these chairs represented every act of resisting change.  There were a lot of these chairs, and I tried not to be too off-put by this reality.  But as I did this, I was asked if I could use the sheer force of my will to cause these chairs to burst into flame, to use my own life essence, my breath, to fan those flames so the pile might burn higher into the night sky.  There, I turned around this pile with Anubis on the other side of it, staring me down.  He grew more and more intent as there seemed to be something to be gained by this.  What was it?  As I followed the flames into the ink of the sky, I began to feel the sense of surrender flowing around me.  This feeling we resist.  We resist out of a kind of animal fear, an egoistic impulse over change coming to us in the same way that death itself is inevitable.  I knew I had to give myself over to it.  As I did, I felt myself wonder what would become of this that I was letting go and as if reading my thoughts Anubis spoke and said “These things are mine!” and I then understood, whether real or not, the form of Anubis was a means by which we let things go.  But this time, I did not have to wait upon physical death in order to experience this.

There is a lot made about “giving it over to God” in the Christian tradition, and I think that no matter the form it takes, this impulse in us or ability to let go can be facilitated by handing it over to something.  But what are we handing it over to?  I think we simply hand over our fear, we make the conscious effort to merely say that we are going to take a leap of faith.  If we do not trust ourselves, then we make a larger form within us to take it from us for safe keeping.  But like all death, we can release a great deal of things in order to unburden ourselves, and if we are lucky, we can also do this upon our physical deaths if we make ourselves available.  It is here that we learn important lessons, but all of life includes death in small and big ways.  It is fundamentally about a surrender.  To die well is to be able to let go of the river’s bank and surrender to the great unknown.  And perhaps, in a way, by mastering our fear, the lesson is purchased at that much of a greater price by our willingness to hand it all over.

I know that in this death I am able to transcend my own self-made (and very conceptual and even emotional) limitations.  Just as we do finally die physically and enter into a new life through a ribbed tunnel into the light (which do I need to even draw the similarities this has to our entrance into this life here through our mother’s Yoni?) we enter into this new world, finding ourselves renewed, refreshed, and more alive.  But you see, the world is full of events like these, and my own life has been in my awakening one of many deaths where I transcended my own self-made limits in order to feel refreshed, clearer, and more alive.  I am here doing this, sometimes daily.  Sometimes its weekly, monthly or yearly.  And really the only thing holding me back is one simple thing, which takes me back to the beginning of my post; fear.  When we transcend that, when we learn to just let go of all that is limiting us, we move easier through this death into a new life.  And layer by layer this happens, and each time it is the same; we struggle and fight perhaps in similar way as we do resisting death or even birth which is itself a death of what we knew in our mother’s wombs.  We are each moment offered this promise in the present as moment by moment we die to what we are and are born into what we can be and really already are.  A wise person once said to know the end, see the beginning.  It is here on this kind of wheel that we grow to know and realize just what amazing creatures we are.

Lying within this exists the tools for your own transformation.  When you touch this experience you realize over and over, perhaps only gradually like a dawning, how this becomes like many deaths.  Awakening is itself a death that is followed by countless deaths which are releases of old pent up psychic material.  But in doing this, we free ourselves in ways we could only have dreamed.  But it is this capacity within us to go beyond our own perceptual boundaries to experience the essence of spiritual alchemy that is our own saving grace. It is through these kinds of deaths that living become more tolerable, wonderful, and sublime.  When you can see death for what it is in its essence, you will begin not fearing it so much.  You will be more free.  The other side of all death is acceptance, otherwise we have not fully died and remain for the time held by our old limits.  We can each transcend them!

As the fires licked up into the vast darkness of the sky, studded with stars all around its bright red edges, I felt this pull from the heavens as Anubis waited for me in a great Void.  Instead of resisting this pull into the unknown, I felt myself deliciously pulled into it upwards.  It is into that great uncertainty that exists within us for the moment that this uncertainty is mastered, transformed.  Leaping into the heavens, into this vast nothingness that I felt I perceived as real that my limitations here on earth were let loose.  If you want to know the essence of the Tibetan Book Of The Dead and how it seeks to raise up those ready to die, you need only know that when we seek the highest vibration, we also seek the highest that death offers us.

I will admit that I used the title to grab your attention.  When we think of the word tantra, it sound exotic, a spiritual way to feel sexy, or maybe a sensual form of spirituality.  Unfortunately, tantra I think is being utilized in a way that helps sell workshops on how to be a better lover, but maybe not always a better person.

I will keep this short and sweet.

Beneath what you feel is what has been overlooked.  What is overlooked is what it yet to be resolved.  What is not resolved turns in you and is your master.  Most people simply do not have the awareness of what lies deeply lodged in them.  Sometimes they need the awareness in others to point it out.  Sometimes we have seen it but ignore it or do not see it for what it is.  But as you do the work to surrender all of your junk, to die to what you were to be born to what you can be, your experience of energy will absolutely change.

It will be like layers of old clothes are taken from your body as you return naked but intensely alive.  What was removed was what you thought defined you.  And for a time, it did.  Your hates, your dislikes, your fears, your worries, your concerns, your hopes and dreams (often driven partly by some fears and worries!!) all come off of you and what remains?

You do.

So your experience of what you think tantra is will change dramatically.

I have discovered how sexual energy can actually be sublimated fear and rage.  Really?  Yes, really.  But its not easy to get to, but its always there if you look at it.  Look at HOW you feel with your sexual energy.  really be honest with yourself.  Do you ever feel an edge of fear?  DO you ever feel an edge of rage for some reason?  Do you tell yourself “Oh, that’s just my animal nature coming out,” or “It’s only natural to want to pull hair or rip off clothes….”  Look more deeply into this.  FEEL into it.  Do you feel yourself expanding or do you feel some part of you contracting?  Do you feel sexual energy as sexual tension that has to be released?  There is something deeper down.  We can get so drawn in by the draw, the yearning that this energy drives in us.  But the energy is not like some perfectly sacred thing that is perfect.  it is only as good as our insides.  We are like a lampshade that has any number of smudges and darkened regions that when cleared allow the light to shine through without any struggle to see or know it.  The sad thing to me is that tantra is so often sold as a sexual experience when in truth it is a path of liberation that only comes about when you are willing to remove all of the old lenses that have made it seem so raw and even hard sometimes.  At first tantra might lure us through lust, but it wins us through bliss.  Not just yearning, but a yearning that is like a river that flows into larger and larger tributaries and then opens out into a sea and then vast ocean.  It is hard to know sometimes where all of this will lead, but if you want to know where you are, observe your yearning and how it makes you feel.

It was once explained that tantric temples were themselves entirely empty and plain.  They might have had incredible depictions of sexual love on their outsides.  They might even have sensual sculptures as one enters.  The central areas, though, were plain and remarkably empty.  Perhaps that might serve as a clue to what lies ahead in this journey.

Part of the answer lies in death.  Death, you see, is the soul of surrender.  Implied in it is a form of surrender that is ultimate.  In dying, we give up all investment in what has come before in order to know what lies ahead.  By conquering our fear by simply allowing ourselves to allow what is inevitable to be, we die.  We die to what we conceived of or were.  And the truth is, we can die many many deaths in any day or week or year.  Most often, we cling to life over our fear of death.  When we embrace death, not actual physical death, but the soul of what death is, we are transformed.

In releasing the fear we have of our ultimate death you can also begin to free yourself from the fear of other forms of death, the ones that actually make the biggest difference in your life.  By learning to be fearless and to live in the present, you overcome death.  You do. It isn’t that you become immortal, it isn’t that you will continue to live in your body.  No.  Your body is designed to live a certain time and then return to the earth.  It serves you in the same way that a petal serves a flowering tree.  The petal will soon fall and become the earth even as the tree continues to live and grow ever larger.  Your soul is like this tree.  It lives on forever.  Countless lives, realities, worlds.  You may not see it or know it.  You may not have to, either.  That isn’t the answer.  Knowing about a past life isn’t as important as being able to surrender all that hung you up in that past life and that also hangs you up in this one.  As you remove these barriers to becoming, you also open new doors to perception, memory and awareness.  It is just that simple.  Your higher self knows the many lives you have lived, yes, for THAT is important to it.  What is important to you is that you get this one right.  In so doing, you do a service to all the selves that you are….that you have been and shall be, for even as you release fear of death, you also open up new possibilities in living.  You begin to realize that you are just one of many bodies, lives, experiences.  Suddenly the picture broadens because your perception also broadens.  Here, fear of death begins to wane.  We each cease the grasping to the material that held us and which kept us powerless through fear.

it is the same with tantra.  It is the same with a smile.  It is the same with food.  The same with music and a billion other things.  They all change.  You change.  It is marvelously simple and direct.  And the way to making this road smooth is to know that you are more than just this one self, or life.  As ego slips away, something more slips in. Your larger or expanded self has more and more room to simply be.  Before, it had been crowded out.  Now there is more room for it to express itself.

Then the old sexual draw becomes something lighter and more wondrous than ever before.  We are each here, knitting heaven and earth together.  When you can face death head-on, those countless deaths to what you thought were ideas and investments that were so important but now no longer matter, you touch the essence of this path.  It is not for the feint of heart, but we were all born with radiant hearts and souls.  So how about we let in that light?

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