Friday, August 14, 2015

The Great Transition

It's the time of transition into the month of Elul (an acronym of Ani LiDodi V'Dodi Li – “I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine”), the month before the next Hebrew New Year and Yovel.

I find myself wandering on the other side of the veil, having gone to the cremation of a beloved woman of our community at day break yesterday, my mind is lingering on the profound, personal transition that awaits us.

During the cremation ceremony (see Crestone End of Life) there was a recitation from Savitri, the epic poem of Sri Aurobindo that went right to where I lived. That  and the poem Tagore poem set to music by Sylvia Hazlerig that we are singing in Sacred Song are very present today.

As it happens, I also received guests to my studio yesterday and spent some time focusing on Reflection & Passage – Through the Thinning Door. 

All three are below. 

Immersed in voiceless internatal trance
The beings that once wore forms on earth sat there
In shining chambers of spiritual sleep. 

Passed were the pillar-posts of birth and death,
Passed was their little scene of symbol deeds,
Passed were the heavens and hells of their long road;
They had returned into the world's deep soul. 

All now was gathered into pregnant rest:
Person and nature suffered a slumber change.
In trance they gathered back their bygone selves,
In a background memory's foreseeing muse
Prophetic of new personality
Arranged the map of their coming destiny's course:
Heirs of their past, their future's discoverers,
Electors of their own self-chosen lot,
They waited for the adventure of new life. 

A Person persistent through the lapse of worlds,
Although the same for ever in many shapes
By the outward mind unrecognisable,
Assuming names unknown in unknown climes
Imprints through Time upon the earth's worn page
A growing figure of its secret self,
And learns by experience what the spirit knew,
Till it can see its truth alive and God. 

Once more they must face the problem-game of birth,

The soul's experiment of joy and grief
And thought and impulse lighting the blind act,
And venture on the roads of circumstance,
Through inner movements and external scenes
Traveling to self across the forms of things. 

Into creation's centre he had come.
The spirit wandering from state to state
Finds here the silence of its starting-point
In the formless force and the still fixity
And brooding passion of the world of Soul. 

All that is made and once again unmade,
The calm persistent vision of the One
Inevitably re-makes, it lives anew:
Forces and lives and beings and ideas
Are taken into the stillness for a while;
There they remould their purpose and their drift,
Recast their nature and re-form their shape. 

Ever they change and changing ever grow,
And passing through a fruitful stage of death
And after long reconstituting sleep
Resume their place in the process of the Gods
Until their work in cosmic Time is done.

Savitri - The World-Soul - Canto XIV

NONE lives for ever, brother, and nothing lasts for long. 
Our life is not the one old burden; our path is not the one long journey.
One sole poet has not to sing one aged song.
The flower fades and dies; but he who wears the flower has not to mourn for it forever.
Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

There must come a full pause to weave perfection into music.
Life droops toward its sunset to be drowned in the golden shadows.
Love must be called from its play to drink sorrow and be borne to the heaven of tears. 
Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.
Beauty is sweet to us, because she dances to the same fleeting tune with our lives.
Knowledge is precious to us, because we shall never have time to complete it.
All is done and finished in the eternal Heaven.
But earth’s flowers of illusion are kept eternally fresh by death.
Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

excerpt from Rabindranath Tagore, The Gardener

Reflection & Passage - Through the Thinning Door