Friday, February 3, 2012

The Day I Decided to Die

*Note - This post is not about suicide or suicide attempts.  It's an allegorical reflection.*

I remember well the day I decided I had to die.  I had built myself up into something beautiful, carefully crafted to be aesthetically pleasing and pleasant to touch.  But as my environment had changed around me, I became useless.  In the unexpected position I found myself in on my life path, I was like a large and beautiful sculpture sitting in the midst of an industrial park.  Work was going on all around me and would soon crash into me and break me while laughing at the absurdity of my stillness if I was not moved out of the way or recreated into something that would be useful in my current location.  

A calling had sought me out, something that I'd never thought would be possible happened to me.  I'd thought that my place in life would forever be a solitary garden where the only people that wondered through were there to also enjoy the quiet peacefulness and would expect nothing more from me than for me to simply 'be', and they would admire the lines of my form and my purpose would be fulfilled.  But the garden had been transformed into a production center, no longer an oasis of tranquility.  Those hungry to be fed were working in the garden, stirring up the dirt in their quest for edible roots.  The delicate and exotic plants had to be moved to other locations that were still undisturbed by life that was pulsing and writhing instead of gliding in silence.  I had a choice to make, I could request to be moved from my location.  I could leave what had supported me and what I had stood on up to this point and seek a place that was dedicated to beauty and solitude and ignore the obligations to the creations of my soil. Or I could transform and join in the work.

The decision to die and be reborn into something useful in my current state was sudden, like a tornado with no warning sirens.  I pierced my flesh and tattooed a cross on my back, I sacrificially destroyed the creations symbolic of my solitude.  I endured the anger of the spirits I'd previously engaged for my tranquility and the watchful silence of my ancestors.  I vibrated like a person being electrocuted and I burned, then I died.

When I arose from death, I was disoriented and unformed.  All things I'd gained understanding of in tranquility and moved past were a mystery again and the understanding had to be regained, and it was the same and it was different as my life was now one of production rather than reflection.  I missed the solitude and I cried for it as it cried for me while I kept working and tending what I'd produced with no time for looking back.

Then one day, I saw my reflection in a vat of water as I cleaned tools in it.  I could still view and be viewed.  I could work with my hands while quieting my mind.  I could see as much sensual perfect beauty in nettle seeds as I did in the orchids of the previous days.  The realization that I could have both, tranquility and production, washed over me like a river bringing strength and calmness with its active water.  I realized that I'd always known that the balance was possible and even necessary for me, but I had to experience both exclusively to appreciate it. I learned to walk between the two, occasionally stepping to one side or the other, but always stepping back between and walking on with hands stretched out to both sides.  I laugh at my previous struggle, knowing that it was necessary for me while feeling amused at the simplicity.  This concept of balance is written in numerous texts new and old.  I had read it many times while thinking that it was obviously the only way to live, but not until I'd acknowledged my experiences in both sides and the death I required to leave one and enter the other did I understand the complexity that is bound into it due to the human processes that are required for my understanding. 

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