Friday, September 28, 2018
We only part to meet again.
~ John Gay
My first inkling there may be life after death happened the afternoon my father was buried. He was fifty-seven and I was twenty-eight. Being brought up a Protestant, I had accepted by word of mouth, there is life everlasting. My acceptance was too surface to have anything to do with belief and certainly nothing to do with experience.
For months before my father died of a brain tumor, he disintegrated before our eyes and before his own. He went blind within weeks, lost his body functions which embarrassed him greatly, and shortly after that, his ability to speak. It was horrible and his death was a relief. My mother, his devoted younger brother and I had been traumatized by merely watching his dying. I could not imagine what he had been going through.
Coming home from the cemetery after the funeral, feeling the darkness and angst of the past months and the grave, I started to plod my way upstairs to change my clothes. As my foot took the first step, there on the third step up was my father -- as clear as if he was standing in the flesh. He was laughing! Shocked still, with no time for disbelief, I watched him, captivated. He was looking directly at me. His mouth was open, his head thrown back and his face was full, not skeleton-like as he had been for months.
He kept on laughing, a happy, joyous laugh. It struck me on the spot, "My father is discovering a great surprise, he lives!" His aliveness permeated the stairs. Then, what seemed like minutes of me staring at him, he was gone (at least beyond the limits of my human eyes).
As I climbed the stairs, laughter began in my stomach. His happiness was contagious. As I reached the top of the stairs, joy was changing my insides. I was laughing out loud. I could not believe it -- joyous laughter juxtaposed with grief, pain, and darkness of these past few months. The graveyard feeling an hour ago was now culminating with his and my laughter.
My awestruck spirit felt pixie-light for the first time in months. I knew my father was great. At core, I just knew he was alive and swell. Amen.
Friday, September 7, 2018
The other morning I woke into the most velvet feeling moving through my chest. It felt material, tangible, alive, and it didn't even feel like a feeling! I didn't want to call it love although it landed me in that place, that aliveness which rather felt like a river flowing through my chest.
Generally, I hop out of bed, sit for prayer, and start the day. Not that morning. I was spellbound. And thankfully, it was the weekend; I didn't have to move. After a while, I grabbed a pencil and wrote the following, "Stay here, here, here in this alive, living flowing, captivation. Draw it in, in, in, like a substance, thick and breathtaking." Maybe this is what every Buddha monk sits in, what every yoga and mystic experience. Maybe this is why they can sit or stand in meditation all day if they choose.
"Several hours later, and here it is still humming, moving, and there doesn't seem to be any little me in the way. It feels so tangible, powerful. A thought, I am going to soak-pray every one I know in this liquid, oceanic love. Ah, then it dawns in me, this is who and what each person is made of. We don't have to be a monk, a yoga, or a mystic to experience this. I merely happened to wake in it."
Just breathing this pure feeling of high love, loving, moving kept reminding me of ocean waves hitting the shore endlessly, ceaselessly -- still coming and still humming. Certainly unnameable in every way yet, so beautiful I could have died in it and been in bliss. And, I was already in bliss, whatever bliss means.
If we could only know this is who we each are but it gets covered over with life stuff -- dents, conditioning, upbringing, education, and old patterns.
By next morning the feeling was beginning to fade, as I hunched it might.
Dropping in on a reader a day later, I began telling her my experience, that we each are this love, loving but we just get covered up with life-stuff dents. When concluding that this must be what every Buddha, yoga, mystic and an enlightened person sits in; she pointed over my shoulder and suggested, I turn around.
I honestly had to look four times. There was her garden Buddha and it appeared the cactus could not resist. It was growing toward the figure, wrapping its tentacles over its arm and around its neck. We both laughed at the seeming absurdity.
Yes, and isn't it great. We are all it -- at core, at essence, at soul -- this river of moving love flowing through this chest, this being, and this room is what we are made of, is our essence. Expanding as it does out beyond time, matter, and any me-ness. I say it, feel it, and have written it but this time the question is like God asking, "But do you really get it, Augusta?"