How is it that one can feel such gratitude in a moment followed by immense sorrow? The whole slow leak of a body, and dare I say, perceived sense of human spirit, is almost interesting when you just observe it. And yet to be swallowed in a moment’s mood can be equally disorienting, confusing.
Is the body’s slow disintegration a glorious opportunity to reflect, refine, recover from one’s earthly errors? Can it be that it’s golden in the very fact of mature preparation for one’s earthly departure? I simply cannot know at this juncture.
REFLECTION IS AS REFLECTION DOES
What I do know is that for me at least, reflection is unavoidable when backed into a proverbial corner. How others approach their own valuations of a life, I cannot know. But for me, it nags at times, insisting on some sort of owning and accountability. While I’d really rather not do it, somehow it seems unavoidable.
“Don’t look away” my spirit whispers. How horrible and wonderful I see I’ve behaved at times. How complex the “human” experience is. Or should I say how complex the soul’s expression is in having a human experience!
Are repeated lifetimes a mere opportunity for growth? Can earth school afford such incredible opportunities? A nun once told me the early Church used to “believe” in reincarnation, but then later scrapped it for the concept of Purgatory.
While nearly disbelieving, I looked it up and low and behold, Platonic Christians early on incorporated a belief that included physical rebirth as part of spiritual rebirth. For me, a continuation of a soul in some “form” is wholly consistent with everlasting life. How could it not be?
We humans are such literalists in so many ways, trapped in duality — a this OR a that — is a mental juggernaut. It seems we have been binary thinkers long before computers. And regardless, of what the rightness of one’s chosen belief system is, I’ll leave it to the great beyond to inform me later where the truth actually lies.
In the meantime, an accounting or reflection of a life is what is most valuable to me and dare I say, inescapable. How others live “on the inside” I do not know. What seems important is to take responsibility for and learn from one’s errors in life. But this process does not include condemnation, rather must include reflection, forgiveness and an “aha” opportunity to see more clearly— a pathway out of seeing “at first dimly but then face to face.”
AND SO I SIT
And so I sit in this discomfort, reflecting on a life where I have made errors, accounting for those I’m prepared to see, forgive and forgive again without condemnation but instead, transcend to a greater understanding. In the end of course, the process for me includes sorrow, an “I did not know any better” perception that resulted in pain inflicted on myself and others. As my old friend Bennet used to say, “I did the best I could.” Or put another way, I didn’t know any better at the time!
It seems a mature regret is what is warranted, nothing more. After all, if I “crucify myself,” savage myself for not knowing better, is that not incompatible with compassion and forgiveness so prevalent in the New Testament, Jewish and and other Eastern traditions?
Whether I live 20 more minutes or 20 more years (highly unlikely,) it seems inescapable that sorrow and gratitude can coexist as part of this reflection, this accounting. How else can meaningful recompense occur? Yet the sorrow must be transcended in the end.
The body, this communication device, this temporary container for the soul, is a miraculous machine when working well, one we take for granted. But I have come to believe in the weirdly divine gift of its slow demise as well, one that facilitates reflection and accounting however messy it may be.