Monday, October 24, 2011
The Intimate Self
On Friday afternoon, October 21, my sister Sarah died quite sudden of what we believe was an abdominal aneurysm. She was fifty-one years old.
I have just returned from China and am suffering from considerable jet lag. When my brother-in-law called me to give me the news, something in me refused to process it at first.
There isn't any way to philosophize about these things. We all go through the ordinary emotions of the telephone calls, the expressions of grief, the tears, and the incredulity. One never gets the life one wants; one gets the life one has.
One of the last things that Jeanne de Salzmann reportedly said before she died was, "Be there in relation to a force. Then it doesn't matter so much, what happens.”
This is our task in life. To be there in relation to a force. This force that wishes to reach us confers a transparency and a radiance that cannot be measured by life; instead, it takes the measurement. We can know something real if a higher vibration takes the measurement, instead of us trying to take the measurement of what we think is (or isn't) a higher vibration.
Having returned from my trip to this terrible shock, I have discovered great value in just climbing the hill with my dog, the famous dog Isabel. I go down to the park by the Hudson River in the morning. The air is cool. I put one foot in front of the other and climb up the hill until I am maybe a third, maybe halfway, up the hill. It's the north side of the Palisades, so it is a bit shady, even when the sun is bright, and there is a tumble down of broken rocks and green moss all over the side of the hill. At this time of year, leaves are beginning to fall. The colors in these leaves have been crafted by the singing of cicadas all summer long; only now do the subtleties of their slowly changing palette begin to reveal themselves.
There is a texture and a grain to everything. Reality itself has this texture, a fine, granular nature, as though all of it were made up of very tiny, very fine particles, all gathering together into these objects and circumstances, yet together expressing a specific single and singular energy, an energy that permeates everything and animates matter in general, transcending the coarseness of manifestation, and expressing a finer underlying unity.
All of that is apparent in the detail and movement of the colors, the textures, the hardness and softness of the rocks and mosses. All of this comes into the body as a comprehensive statement of Being.
It just is.
With or without grief, there is no need to take the measure of anything; everything is already measured. What is necessary is to receive life and accept the conditions that I find myself in. The loss of my sister is part of those conditions, and it needs to be included in this effort to receive the impressions of life in the deepest possible way.
This question of deepness–of letting life penetrate into the body, of allowing life itself to add to the gravity of the body– is critical. There needs to be a specific and tangible value to the experience of life. It must be organic, not mental. It needs to leave enough empty space for impressions to arrive more directly.
Walking up the same hillside with rocks and moss on it every day might seem monotonous. Yet there's a great deal there; everything, in fact, is right there. Life is right there. Breath is right there.
These qualities of life are essential. If I don't make an effort to experience my life in each moment, if I don't open my intimate Self in a sensitive way to the receiving of life, I do not honor my own life, and I don't honor the lives of those who I love.
One might say that it is this loving relationship with the intimate Self, and with the world in its immediate proximity, that creates all of the possibility for the love that is needed to support those around me. Even those who have died need support and love; there is a reciprocal relationship between the living and the dead that must be fed in the same way that any relationship needs food. This has been well understood since ancient times. Modern societies seem to be forgetting it.
There are mysteries here that cannot really be explained or perhaps even spoken of.
Where situations are impossible and words fail, Love suffices. Love is the best hope we have. It is made of ten thousand impossible things, so it is stronger than the possible.
It will always be the foundation on which life rests. There is no foundation greater than this; it is a good one, which time and death have no power over.
May our prayers be heard.