the joy of dying

Today is the 4th day of the 4th month and 9 years since my mother breathed her last at 4am.

Two Miriams, Hervey Bay QLD

This little blog was created to express my gratitude for her wondrous wideawakeness and wisdom; she was a priceless teacher for me. Her lessons – lived in her everyday life – deepen and mature in me as the years go by.  She gave us 97 years of her presence.  Even on her deathbed she was wide-eyed and full of praise for everyone.

This year I’m moved to share words from two teachers she’d have loved for their open-hearted honesty, warmth, sweetness, and for their radiant wisdom: Joan Ruvinsky and Robert K Hall. Joan was speaking shortly before her death. Robert is still with us, but his departure is immanent.


 

just this… in all its simplicity…
welcoming what is here already…
not coming… not going…
obscured even by seeking…

So we meet in the paradox of apparent teachings, retreats, trainings or gatherings, to celebrate and explore this nameless presence that we are.  At first, there is the tendency to accentuate the myriad of practices the yoga tradition has developed, to focus on concepts like nondual, true nature, awareness, self-inquiry or other-inquiry.

But all this activity eventually leads us to a giving up.  And in this surrender what is revealed is seen to be what has always been here, before the search began, during its full intensity and after its cessation.  The task turns out to be ceding to stillness, and in that stillness the recognition of just this.

Falling back and resting in what is so familiar that it has been overlooked during all the body sensing yoga, during all the pranayama, all the yoga nidra and amidst all the dialogues, amidst life itself, we find our self simply sinking back into just this.

Joan Ruvinsky

 


 

Letting go is not an easy process, especially how much I’m enjoying life, surrounded by so much love and people who take good care of me… I have talked at length about my experience and difficulties about the dying process… today I’d like reflect on the positive side and share my experience about the joy of dying…

Robert K Hall

 

This short talk (8:07) expresses so much warmth, love, joy and presence, it will melt your heart.
For more videos and audio teachings: Robert K Hall Dharma Talks


From the archives:
grief is a shower of grace
the gift of grief

here is where the vista opens
the cosmic chirp


 

here is where the vista opens

This post is a loving tribute to Joan Ruvinsky, who left us on March 21 in Montreal.

Just prior to Christmas, Joan wrote a newsletter note about the preciousness of the moment. I’m glad I kept it, because it couldn’t be more apt right now.

This Unlit Light: Michael Kenna - Huangshan Mountains, Study 42

You never know if this is going to be the last time, the last holiday season, the last menstrual period, the last trip to the mountains, the last whatever. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if, for instance, it were just the last time you were ever to put gas in the car, except, looking back on it, as a charming ritual. Does its being the last time make it more significant? Will we pay more attention? We don’t even know if it’s the last time when it is happening. We can only know through memory, in retrospect. 

Or we can pretend the future and say, “That was the last time I ever time I’ll ever go to that restaurant!”  This is the past conditioning the future. The food was terrible. Never again. Period.

Oh, how we like to place ourselves in time! It makes us feel situated. Secure. 

But in the moment, the actual moment, we just don’t know. Is it the first? Is it the last? Actually, it’s right now, first time, or last time – however we name it to stay comfortably situated in linear time, to play it safe. In fact, it is only and forever right now. 

So every moment, the smell of this hot cider mulling on the stove, the clacking of the printer, the wind in the pines, this holiday season to celebrate, or not… it’s just right now, whether we are labelling it from anticipation or from memory. This moment is absolutely precious. This moment is out of time, beyond comparison. No sequence. No succession. Just now. Here is where the vista opens. Now is when we are home, home in This, as This, as pure perceiving.

How wonderful.

May whatever you celebrate for the first or last unknown time be joyous. 

Love, Joan

pathlessyoga.com



Joan’s closing comments in a conversation with Grace Bubeck: Death only happens to the body, we are Love. 3:16



The entire conversation: The Radical Joy of Facing Death. 48:41


I treasure Joan’s last succinct email message to me…

Pas d’inscription. Juste de se présenter à 15h45

Amour


The magnificent photograph is by Michael Kenna.


 

the cosmic chirp

This Unlit Light - gravitational waves

 

Did you see the 2 black holes colliding? Spiralling inward and merging a billion years ago?

Did you hear the sound of the two becoming one?

If you haven’t heard it – listen here
For just the sound and the collision, drag the slider to 2:58

The shock wave was minuscule but measurable. Here, some flecks of the universe danced their way backward into the source. And we saw/heard it!

There was an audible chirp.

How marvellous!

(Well, it’s been happening all the “time”, but we caught this “one.”)

Usually what we experience is the one becoming two. Every morning we wake up. There is the moment before – the moment before formless being begins to differentiate itself into me and the bedroom, me and my list of today’s projects, or me and whatever. It might happen pretty fast, so we might miss it most mornings but, ultimately, duality gets the upper hand over eternity as the world comes into focus. We separate. We differentiate into seer and seen, witness and witnessed.

Now, consider by turning inward, the two universes – not just black holes, but whole universes – become one: the “Me Universe” (the Seer) AND the “Other Universe” (the Seen) – multiplicity coagulates into the Source.

And now, notice without noticing, it is happening, always, simultaneously, timelessly,

“…entering into the perfect fullness of I-Am,
merging with the everlasting pulsation,
the blissful effulgence of Being,
the play of the One and the many continues
in full knowingness in Her timeless cycle
of emanation and re-absorption.
Just This.”

– Pratyabhijñahrdayam, Verse 20, forthcoming translation

Yours unfathomably
– Joan


This splendid sharing of the vast view is from Joan Ruvinsky’s latest newsletter. You can sign up to receive it at her website: pathlessyoga.com. Doing so is a beautiful way to stay in touch with Joan, as she isn’t teaching these days due to her illness. Yet her wisdom is finding its way forth through the very circumstances that would appear to be undesirable. Unsptoppable Grace! I treasure the depth of her understanding and compassion: she is one wholly wideawake woman.


Image: Gravitational waves, sourced from ibtimes.co.uk


sinking back into just this

just this……in all its simplicity……
welcoming what is here already……
not coming……not going……
obscured even by seeking……

So we meet in the paradox of apparent teachings, retreats, trainings or gatherings, to celebrate and explore this nameless presence that we are. At first, there is the tendency to accentuate the myriad of practices the yoga tradition has developed, to focus on concepts like nondual, true nature, awareness, self-inquiry or other-inquiry.

But all this activity eventually leads us to a giving up. And in this surrender what is revealed is seen to be what has always been here, before the search began, during its full intensity and after its cessation. The task turns out to be ceding to stillness, and in that stillness the recognition of just this.

Falling back and resting in what is so familiar that it has been overlooked during all the body sensing yoga, during all the pranayama, all the yoga nidra and amidst all the dialogues, amidst life itself, we find our self simply sinking back into just this.

~ Joan Ruvinsky

.

Gratitude to Kathleen Knipp for introducing me to Joan Ruvisky’s work and recommending her for our wideawake women page. “Her teachings, offered in both prose and poetry, as well as verbally, are yet another beautiful expression of the inexpressible through a woman’s voice.”
~ ml

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