The Friday the thirteenth, retrograde honey moon came and left. And with it, took one of our community members. For the past seven years, my house has been occupied by the sound of heavy paws on the hardwood floors. It has been the home of one of the largest Great Danes I have ever seen. His name was Gustavus (Gus for short). Last night, he was restless and in pain. He laid against the ground outside with all of us surrounding him for over an hour. We carried him into the house as it got dark. He laid on the floor while we watched a movie together. One by one, we all went to sleep. I woke up this morning and walked downstairs to meditate in my usual spot and found him lying on the hardwood floor, but no breath entered or exited his body. His beautiful tiger like brindle coat, absent of its shine. He was stiff, absent of life. His eyes rolled back; his consciousness gone. Regardless of my knowing that dead is not gone, the chill that often accompanies the loss of life ran down my spine and I sat down to touch his disinhibited body. The absence of him this morning is palpable. We have been toying with the idea of moving. Dogs often make transitions back to source when their families are planning on moving, especially if they are attached to where they live. Here, with the nature preserve behind our house, Gus spent hours every day running through the sagebrush and grass. It was his home. I did not see him in any of my visions of our future life path potentials and now, I know why. He was not to come with us.
Today was the first time that my son Winter experienced death. He does not understand yet that dead means gone for the rest of this life. He thought that dead meant that Gus would be turned into just bones already. He could not understand why he was stiff and why everyone was crying. He is not yet sad himself. I am hoping that a part of him is still so connected to the “eternalness” of consciousness that for him, death is not gone-ness.
To grieve death is natural. It tells the universe that we are all one. The perception that we can be separate, causes us the greatest mount of emotional pain. When we have not faced death and the reality of it is upon us, we often do not know what to think of it and so, we fall into depression and we suffer because we resist our all-consuming grief. Sometimes this grief becomes so strong in us that the death of others become our own death as well despite the fact that we are still living.
Our fear of death, makes us miss the ever present truth that our existence is not restricted to the single lifespan stretching from the moment we are born to the moment we draw our last breath. There is in fact no such thing as beginning, just as there is no such thing as end. Ultimately there is no coming and there is no going. This physical life is simply a temporary expression of the eternal transcendental energy and consciousness that is you. When the conditions are right for it, that energy manifests into a life and when conditions are no longer right, it withdrawals its flow through that manifestation. It is an eternal cycle that takes place again and again. You cannot have a life and you cannot lose a life because you are life.
Though your eyes and ears may no longer perceive the presence of a singular expression, which we call a life, it does not mean it isn’t there. You cannot lose the interconnectedness that is the basis of all that is. Your body is much like a radio sitting on a nightstand. The radio is the expression through which radio waves manifest themselves. The radio waves (which represent your eternal self) still exist there after the radio is gone. They are still all around you. They simply no longer have a physical radio to manifest themselves through. There is no such thing as extinction. You do not lose yourself in death. You do not lose others in death. They are all around you, like radio waves accessible at any moment. Death is a withdrawal of consciousness. And though our limited senses do not make it seem so, the loved ones who have experienced a physical death are closer to you in death than they even were in life. Because for them, there is no distance, space or time.