Death and Resurrection: Week 2
As I’ve come to understand that life “composts” and “seeds” us as autumn does the earth, I’ve seen how possibility gets planted in us even in the hardest of times. —Parker Palmer (Sunday)
We can cultivate spiritual disciplines designed to dismantle our identity so that we have hope of merging with the Divine. Or someone we love very much may die, and we may find ourselves catapulted into the emptiness we had been striving for. —Mirabai Starr (Monday)
I see [life after death] as infinite love, as if the whole atmosphere of heaven is filled with God as a kind of vibration going through us. It strikes me as a homecoming, us returning home to where we come from. —Joseph Boyle (Tuesday)
The dying process is the culmination or the peak of the whole development of the spiritual journey, in which total surrender to God involves the gift of life itself. It’s not really death, but life reaching out to a fullness that we can’t imagine from this side of the dying process. —Thomas Keating (Wednesday)
Some form of death—psychological, spiritual, relational, or physical—is the only way we will loosen our ties to our small and separate false self. Only then does it return in a new shape which we might call the Risen Christ, the soul, or the True Self. (Thursday)
We are each a holon, a part that is simultaneously whole within itself and part of a larger whole! We all participate in the one single life of God. (Friday)
Practice: Vinyasa and Savasana
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit for “to yoke”—to join or unite. The intentional movement, breath, and relaxation within yoga provides an opportunity to welcome the seeming contradictions of our life. Muscles are engaged and the body releases into deeper stretches. The mind is both concentrated and stilled. Within vinyasa the body flows through a series of poses, such as Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara), and then finally rests in Corpse Pose (Savasana).
If you are not familiar with yoga, consider joining a class in your area or find a short video online to lead you through the poses and breaths of Sun Salutations. If you already have a yoga practice, reflect on the wholeness of life and death as you go through the familiar movements.
As you salute the sun, bend and bow in gratitude for the life force that flows freely in you without your striving or control, yet invites your complete participation.
As you inhale and exhale through each of the bends and lunges, challenge yourself to breathe deeper, to stretch more fully, and let this practice be easy, natural, without effort or strain.
As you lie on your back and let each muscle in your body—from toes to the top of your head—relax and sink into the ground, remember that you will die, but there is nothing to fear. Not even death can separate you from Love, and from death comes Life. Rest in this awareness.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (CAC Publishing: 2016), 136-137.
For Further Study:
Thomas Keating, From the Mind to the Heart (Temple Rock Company: 2017)
Thomas Keating and Joseph Boyle with Lucette Verboven, World Without End (Bloomsbury: 2017)
Thomas Keating with Carl J. Arico, The Gift of Life: Death & Dying, Life & Living Companion Book (Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.: 2013)
Parker Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.: 2018)
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013)
Mirabai Starr, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Monkfish Book Publishing Company: 2012)