When we dedicate our lives to bearing witness to truth, our hearts become irrepressible. A Western photographer told me how he had seen this spirit in an old Tibetan nun who had been imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese army for fifteen years. After her release she fled to India, and he wanted to include her wizened face in his portraits of Tibetan elders. As he looked into the large camera lens, he could see her lips murmuring her prayers. When he asked her what had sustained her through these terrible ordeals, she said that no matter what happened she had never stopped saying prayers of compassion for all beings. In the midst of being tortured, she prayed for her torturers. When they saw her lips moving, they bound her mouth with tape. When they saw her lips moving, they put on more layers, but her prayers would not stop. And when she was free, still her prayers continued. No matter what happened, the nun prayed for the well-being of all. That was her true liberation, her unstoppable True Being shining through…..Jack Kornfield
emboldened by the passion of this life and the irrepressible spirit, we become our life instead of making it fit….we stop rehearsing and learn that commitment is the real expression of love……we stay visible with who we are rather than what we want others to see….we become real……like the velveteen rabbit, it happens through love…..
The day before his death, John was in a waking coma. His face was full of tension, his head thrust far back, the muscles in his throat were tight and constricted. His breath was a struggle. Clearly this was another stage of dying, but to me something seemed stuck. A famous teacher with experience in these things told me that his spirit was trying to leave his body and that I should touch the top of his head to show the way. A physician told me to increase his morphine to relax his breathing. A body worker told me to hold certain acupressure points on his feet to relieve the tension. I tried them all, but nothing changed. Instinctively I just wanted to wrap myself around him. I climbed into bed, cradling John in the curve of my arms. I remember rocking him back and forth, and as I did I began to sing sweet lullabies to him. Not the nursery rhyme variety, but the kind you make up as you go along. As I sang softly in his ear, my hands knew what to do. My opened hands circled his heart. I could feel him sink into me, my body cushioning what was left of his bony form. Eventually his throat began to relax and his head came forward. His eyes opened. They looked relieved. Afterward I wondered if I had done the right thing. Maybe I should have followed the teacher’s advice. Had I pulled him back from some near-death state? Stopped some process of release? I don’t know really. I do know that the heart has to be soft before any of us can be free…..Frank Ostaseski
I love roses, but Medgar could never afford to buy me a florist’s bouquet. So he did something better.Every year he made a ritual of giving me bare-root roses to plant in our yard, and eventually, three dozen rosebushes were the envy of our neighbors. Once in a while, Medgar would gather a bouquet, or perhaps just one rose, and hand it to me as he came through the door. It became an unspoken verse of the love between us……Myrlie Evers