Many years ago my beloved teacher, the extraordinarily gifted healer Rosalyn Bruyere, told us a story about what happened when she went to learn from the Hopi Indians. They told her if she wanted to heal she must learn to kill. They instructed her to kill a deer and skin it. She followed their instruction. These four decades later I never forgot that story. Loved ones die, our children struggle and suffer, we ourselves know we will have to leave behind all we’ve grown to love. And all the suffering and loss, all the sickness, starvation, struggle, pain, fear, and loneliness — all the misery is also punctuated with tender moments of closeness, with magic, the miraculous softness of moss growing by a stream, the kind eyes of a stranger, the taste of pure water, — and the hope we carry in our hearts no matter how close or far away we are from love — the bright blazing fire, or dim flicker of hope to love and be loved. So now, some four decades later as I look back and imagine the innocent eyes of that deer as the hunter approached, I realize that the embrace of death is the way we learn to embrace life — that this enfolding of the totality is the way we ourselves become full and whole. This is the ripening.
— Denise Yanez
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
— Joseph Campbell
How deep can we go into this thing called life? We seem to have a choice whether to stay on the surface or dive into deeper waters. We live in a culture focused on surface matters and the endless details of that kind of life, but those who want more are left to their own devices. We know something is missing but we’re not sure what it is. Is it ‘meaning?’ Is it pleasure? Is it status, possessions, power, fame, comfort, safety? Could it be love and family, a sense of connection to friends and loved ones?
Joseph Campbell seems to be saying it’s intensity we’re after, that we are naturally bored with a superficial and safe life. If that’s true, it explains why we must confront death, why we must take…