Tree of Refuge

Anchored in my seat, feeding off
the warm, succulent energy of the cosmos
Breathing in sun, breathing out gentleness
Watering deep soil with rain and tormented sea

Eyes closed spark a fire
Light appears and waterfalls, then moist
A wide circle forms with all its nutrients
passing through the immaterial

Pressure rises
Abdomen moves like a baby
slipping into drowsy wakefulness
Milk curdles on lips and smiles

Earth rotates and patterns shift
observing and absorbing
A new spirit arrives and just listens
Trust everything

Soft cushion unbending
Fertile loins and loving generosity
Back erect, skin leathered and strong
face resting

Offering refuge

Giving shade and a cool breeze

Anchoring in my seat, I’m becoming
metamorphosis, leaves spread out
bearing fruit, alone and worthy
Wisdom falls

Replenishing with adoration and dignity
Filling up space with unheard treasure
Sky opens and a door explodes
Expansive enough

La Petite Mort

When I was giving birth to my son, I remember feeling that in my pain I understood famine, war and death. It was as if my mind-spirit left me and traveled to all of history. I experienced human suffering. I shared this feeling afterwards but in the telling it was impossible to communicate what I had experienced. How does one explain the feeling of famine and war while giving birth to a baby?

Pain is boundless agony and insight associated with Great Death and Birth. When I refer to Great Death, I refer to the type of death that reverberates, a passing that stops time and changes history. All death and birth is transformational. It is the dissolution and creation of new life. In the moment of labor and birthing we cannot know the greatness that may lie within and therefore, we simply labor and bear fruit and this process is our connection to the infinite.

Our response to a Great Death and Birth blossoms into a new approach to living. This is the gateway to consciousness. All human beings experience a Great Death and Birth while living and often, more than once.

When I was in the hospital, I was tense and exhausted. I was forced to surrender to a painful experience. I had not understood until that moment how much pain and suffering love would bring me. Yet, like my ancestors before me, I was to become part of the great wave of evolution.

The Great Death of my husband was similarly haunting except more complicated and fragile. The struggle to grasp the meaning of love with loss is overwhelming. There is ravage on the body and soul, time extends beyond limits, and what evolves out of grief is harder to see.

When a hero speaks of a Great Death, a death to be remembered, they speak of a death that transforms life.

When an artist speaks of immortality, he creates to alter reality.

When a lover speaks of La Petit Mort, he refers to falling into an altered state of consciousness.

I have experienced Great Death and Birth and feel like a moving river now. Or, perhaps the river is moving me. My ears are still under water and the sound is muffled but the sun is shining over me. My thoughts are paralyzed, it’s the constant bobbing. My arms and legs are adrift.

This is Bardō.