I will die

February 2, 2009

I walked around Krotona today. It is a property of the Theosophical society in Ojai, stretching over the top of a hill, right behind my house. It is always a gorgeous place, quiet and peaceful, full of ancient oaks, slim and graceful eucalyptuses, proud pine trees standing at attention. These days it is more beautiful than ever. The grass is lush, emerald green and filled with wild flowers, brought back to life by winter rains. The low, afternoon sun is warm and golden-green, filtering through the leaves and splattering over the grass in little golden patches. Oak trees are alive and full of magic in the afternoon, awaken, druid trees. I walked among them today. I could hardly breathe from happiness and delight at the beauty around me. I thought: “all this will die, and I will die”, and this thought made me happier still. I could feel the rhythm, the flow of the universe, of nature. Things grow, open, develop, change, move, transform. There is movement, the movement is life, the movement is the magic. “I too am this movement” I thought.” I will change, I will flow, I will transform. Like trees do, like the little squirrels frisking under my feet and provoking my dogs to a heedless chase, like my dogs, like all of nature. I will flow. I will die. I will change.” Fear was an echo of a memory of a ridiculous concept. Survival, the very concept of surviving, was gone. There was only delight in existence itself, in the never-ending dance of creation, of transformation. This body will die, this mind will be gone, I thought, and realized clearer than ever that I am not this mind. I am not the separation, the defense. I am not the need to survive, to stay put, always the same, to not move. Mind does not control me, mind does not organize me. I am God. I am the nature and the movement. I will die, but I will not end. Death is just another step in the dance. Just like trees die to be reborn from their seeds, just like flowers and grass open and close, die and grow to bloom again, so will I. Who I am doesn’t change, who I am is change. Who I am is movement, who I am is life. As I walked today I remembered my grandfather dying. He lived for a very long time, I used to hope he’ll live to be hundred years old so that I could boast of him to the world. He fell sick one day, I don’t remember how old he was then, I think about ninety five or so. Any illness at this age might have killed him, so my mother took him to a hospital. I went to visit him one day. He did not recognize me, he must have thought I was a nurse. He was saying things that made no sense. It hurt me. I remember going to a little garden behind the hospital, pacing back and forth, trying to to organize my feelings. I felt terrible, upset, In pain. I tried to tell myself that I was scared, sad, that I thought my grandfather would die and this was the beginning of grief but … somehow it didn’t seem right. As I looked deeper I realized that what I felt was hurt, I felt unimportant, unneeded, slighted. “This is not about me”, I thought, “I am not the one that is ill, I am not the one about to die. He didn’t do anything to me, he didn’t ignore me on purpose, why then do I feel as though he did?” And then the thought sinked in: this is not about me. My feelings floated away. Whatever fear, anger, resentment there was, whatever it was that came up in me when I faced someone who was about to die, vanished and what was left was … happiness. I did not expect it, I did not know what to do with it, and yet I was happy. I was happy for my grandfather, I was happy that he was about to die. When I removed myself from the situation all that was left was the wonderful opportunity that was about to open before him. All that was left was the beautiful transition he was about to make, out of this life. There was no fear, there was no pain, there was only joy. I hugged my boyfriend who was watching me, rather helplessly, all this time, and we went to have a beer and celebrate my grandfather’s death.

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