death

We give them back to you, dear God

We give them back to you, dear God,
Who gavest them to us.
Yet as Thou didst not lose them in giving,
So we have not lost them by their return.
For what is thine is ours always, if we are thine.
And life is eternal and love is immortal,
And death is only a horizon,
And a horizon is nothing more
Than the limit of our sight.

~ Quaker prayer

October 2015 (Vol. XXVIII, No. 9)

Greetings friends, As crisp night air creeps in, leaves begin to blush and pale, and flowers in the garden dry into a brittle brown, it's becoming clear that autumn is seeping into the landscape. I know all living beings die. I know everything that is lost in winter will contribute in some transformed way to the new life that will emerge in spring. And yet...and yet as Edna St. Vincent Millay says, "I am not resigned." Doesn't stepping forth into the eternal light, melting back into the universal whole mean losing one's individual physical, sensual experience of self and others and the world? Watching someone else die means the achingly endless severing of connection to their presence in the only embodiment we know. But embracing our humanity means also grappling with mortality. How do we face into death with something more than resignation or terror? Is there a way that coaxes us instead to begin to understand the meaning of one's soul?

Those who will make us live, and die, most intensely

Someone who loves us can often see our soul potential more clearly than we can ourselves. When this happens, it has a catalytic effect; it invites and encourages dormant, undeveloped parts of us to come forth and find expression. Indeed, we are often most strongly attracted to those who we sense "will make us live—and die—most intensely... the experience of soul always contains this double yearning: to feel the meaning and beauty of our individual life, and to connect with the larger, universal currents of life flowing through us.

~ from "Fighting for Enlightenment" by John Welwood in NEW AGE, August 1996

To be human is to be born into a dance

To be human is to be born into a dance in which every animate or inanimate, visible or invisible being is also dancing. Every step of this dance is printed in light; its energy is adoration, its rhythm is praise. Pain, desolution, and destruction in this full and unified sacred vision are not separate from the dance, but are instead essential energies of its transformative unfolding. Death itself cannot shatter the dance, because death is the lifespring of its fertility, the mother of all its changing splendor. If we could bring ourselves to open to this vision, we would undergo a revolution of the heart.

~ from THE RETURN OF THE MOTHER by Andrew Harvey
The Return of the Mother
By Andrew Harvey

If I knew for certain that I should die next week

If I knew for certain that I should die next week, I would still be able to sit at my desk all week and study with perfect equanimity, for I know now that life and death make a meaningful whole.

~ Etty Hillesum

Nothing escapes the Creator's cycle

Nothing escapes the Creator's cycle. Not plants, horses, trees, birds, or human beings. Each soul is a gust of God's breath unfolding in the great energy that surrounds us like an ever-moving stream. The goal is not to cheat death, but to live in the stream with a humility and aliveness that only acceptance of death can release...Thin and fragrant petals do not hide from the wind. They survive to die and break ground again. Even within one life, we shred and re-root. We break, bleed, and rearrange into yet another beautiful thing that learns how to reach. Resisting this process doubles our pain. Singing our way through, it is the source of wisdom and beauty.

~ from the BOOK OF AWAKENING by Mark Nepo

Fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you

You cannot step twice into the same rivers, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.

~ Heraclitus of Ephesus

Change is a fundamental element of consciousness

Change is a fundamental element of consciousness. It is what calls our attention, awakens it, stimulates our questions. We see the red coat in contrast to the white snow... Without change, our minds become dull and unaware.

~ Anodea Judith in WHEELS OF LIFE

I now see death as a new beginning

After the loss of so many of my loved ones, and coming so close to death myself on several occasions, I now see death as a new beginning to learning and to loving rather than a waste, a destruction, or a suffering hardly to be endured. So often we forget that life is a gift and loved ones are special gifts lent to us from on High, for a time. We unite with the spirit of our loved ones through prayer and silence. If we reach out to the Author of love and ask for help to live without selfishness and to deepen our awareness and our compassion towards all others, then we can emerge from a sea of grief, from the inevitability of tragedy and the losing of love. It is essential to learn to laugh and love again.

~ from THE VOICE OF SILENCE by Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo
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