A few days ago the dear rescue cat, Buddha, beloved of our daughter’s family, died quietly in the night. Mindy found him the next morning curled up in his favorite kitchen chair as if asleep! He had been having some health issues, expensive ones, but the vet thought none of these to be life threatening. But Buddha never wanted to be a burden. I sensed he left his body to do his work from the other side.
We are so frequently reminded of mortality, of the temporary nature of everything. I have been through my own set of losses over this past year, so Buddha’s untimely death brings all of this to the foreground. A young friend with a brain tumor, a brother-in-law with open heart surgery just behind him, another dear friend struggling (and winning) against cancer!…life is indeed so fragile.
But it is this very fragility that reminds me of the cycles in life: the seed-to-sprout-to-flower-to-seed and dead, dried plant, repeated infinitely in response to the universal impulse toward this energy we call life! What an awesome power this is, a power toward good, light, love. We are all light beings. We all have this core as strong as a steel rod and as soft as the down of a baby bird, as hard as diamonds and as gentle as the shy hummingbird, this life urge that never dies, that cannot be killed by any force in existence no matter how many attempts are made. The shadow can be fiercely dark and still not overpower the light. The life force of love is the strongest thing in existence.
And this is the foundation for hope. Standing on this foundation death can never have dominion. Forces of darkness will shatter on the solid foundation of love – life force – every time.
The song of the day may be a funeral dirge, but there is still life in song. There may be longing and melancholy in the notes, but there is also love and that is the power behind life. This has never been clearer to me than now, facing all this loss and grief. No matter what happens life goes on.
I just finished reading the latest book by one of my teachers, Martín Prechtel: The Unlikely Peace of Cuchamaquic, The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive. (Watch for a review post here shortly.) I have a sense that this notion of life and love is exactly what drives Martín. This is what empowers him to “keep the seeds alive” – the mandate from his teacher. At the base of that steel rod that supports life is a seed. And the pent up potential at the heart of that seed is love. That heart contains the sprout, shoot, stalk, bud, blossom, stamen, pistil, pollen, ovum and next generation seed, and every future generation seed as a time capsule nestled in the cozy confines, protected and alive, waiting for a turn beyond our own in the great cycle. The echo of every generation is there forward and backward, no end, no beginning.
Buddha’s death is just another reminder of this great wheel of time that rolls out and back. His life may have been fragile at the end. But that was not an end. The story, even his story, goes on. Life goes on all around. Life powered by love goes on.