1 Jun

in my dream, we are walking and talking in a strange place then we are riding a train, and talking, waiting for a meal at a large table.

Who are WE?

I am with some people I know well, though I cannot name them.  I think Don and Alison may have been there.  Maybe some more of you here.  We are talking about spiritual things.  We are pointing out the clouds in the sky next to a bridge over water to each other and  saying clever and deep things.

Suddenly, there seems to be a crash and much discomfort and death.  I am talking with someone, though I am in terrible pain.  I say, my eyeball is half ripped out, and I cannot breath.  I am gasping and my lungs and vocal cords are making a terrible, desperate noise.  I say, no words about spirit or beauty mean a thing unless they are helpful when you cannot breath and the body is in ruins.  I say, all spirit talk is only good if it can help me leave this body – help me die – when there is no grace to be had, but only pain.  How do I learn to stop breathing? Stopping the breath is bloody hard – it is a struggle – it is drowning.  Are we ready to drown?  We should talk about that instead of the pretty clouds – and then I woke with an urgency for this.  I have an urgency to practice dying upon waking that has not left, though soon, I know, I will go back to being transfixed on bird songs, flowers and clouds.  :0

18 Responses to “dream”

  1. M.A. June 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    I have been thinking about death continually during the past few months. Not in a morbid way, not to seek or run from it, but to come to terms with it. It occurred to me several months ago that if we don’t accept death then we can’t accept anything else, including living, given death’s ubiquity. It’s like accepting the head side of a coin but fleeing in terror and denial from the tail side. Around the world, each second is a living and a dying: right now someone is wracked with pain, being shot, losing a parent or child; right now someone is in the throes of ecstasy, holding a child, surrounded by loved ones. All at once. Living and dying. I’m trying to learn to find the words for whatever manifests itself in front of me. Is that a beginning?

    • marga t. June 1, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

      Every moment a beginning, you lovely, self-effacing friend. I love your insight into the flip coin of the dual nature we live within – cannot experience one without the other! All words are well and fine, but the experience of breath ending for me is so visceral. All my imaginings about it, in the mind, go out the window with the actual struggle of leaving the bodaaay! I was teaching a class a couple of years ago and suddenly went into a full blown asthma attack, i left the room, to save face, and ended up on the ground down the hall, crawling, trying to get oxygen into my lungs. I’ve only had these attacks 4 times in 48 years, and I learned after the last one what not to do, but this struggle returns to me, the bodily struggle, of how to surrender. We cannot but be aware after a certain point to extremes of every moment existing for us all – the greatest joy touched with despair, despair tainted with joy. I join you with the mediation on my(our) death today!

      • M.A. June 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

        Interesting that you should mention asthma; I didn’t know you suffered from that. Up until the age of 10 or 12, I spent many an hour suffering from asthma attacks: at home in bed missing school, in emergency rooms, even hospitalized sometimes in oxygen tents. Some of my earliest memories are of that visceral feeling of being on the edge of death, wondering if the breath I was taking would be my last one, that sense of absolute loss of control. The helplessness–not only my own but what I saw in my parents’ faces–was terrifying. I had no choice but to surrender. In many ways, I’ve spent the rest of my life fighting that surrender *and* trying to return to that level of acceptance. Funny thing is, it will come whether I accept it or not. I can say yes to it, or I can say no. But the universe doesn’t give a shit. So maybe I should take that as my starting place. Long way of saying, I have no answer either, but it’s nice joining you in the question.

  2. Hariod Brawn June 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    A great dream, and one many of us have whilst apparently awake. Have you ever practised dying as a meditation Marga? It can be a powerful experience, though not that one wants it to be entirely successful. H ❤


    • marga t. June 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      Excellent link and suggestion, H! I am familiar, but the dream brings it closer, and I am ready for a go – to a point, of course, for now 🙂 xo! m

  3. Michael June 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    It is deeply true, M, that none of our spiritual platitudes amount to much when crisis arises– when our suffering waxes and our false hopes are being dashed against the rocks. We should talk about it, for this is the point I think we must reach to be free. So often death is equated with suffering and intense pain– with an experience so excruciating we would do anything to flee it. I think often about the notion that this is a false equality, and though sometimes we see the two together, it obscures the full reality of death. Strip pain and suffering from it, and death can feel like the most grand exhalation possible, one that unites with everything as locality dissolves. Pain focalizes experience on the body, and it hurts, and quite rightly I think we have a deep-seated preference to avoid it. But why are these two so deeply interwoven: bodily pain and death…? In part it seems death is our last resort when it comes to a perceived escape from pain, but I think also there is a death that is a dissolving into communion with all that is, and the latter is not measured in relation to the body. Reflecting on this helps me see I need not mix this timeless experience of dying with unimaginable pain necessarily, and it softens something inside of me…


    • marga t. June 2, 2015 at 11:57 am #

      I intellectually understand the dissolving, and thinking back on actual near death brushes, in memory, all seem to unfold in a way of just being observed, not experienced as the horror it looked like from the outside, yet there is some hitch in me at times in the body. Clinging, perhaps, or just a mental loop playing which imagines letting go of breath for good as a huge hurdle. Perhaps as this separation is occurring, since it is such a natural process and all ;), some aid comes swooping in within to bridge this mental gap of mine(mind). There was certainly a detachment in this dream, as if I were living the pain and struggle, while also commenting on it – 2 separate selves at once. Hey, I’m bi-locating! 🙂 I love the recipe you give for not mixing pain and death – resulting in a softer dough. Off to the kitchen to experiment!

  4. Alison and Don June 1, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    I’ve long longed for death without dying, the death of the separate self, and I understand the arising of the urgency, and then the return to being transfixed (seduced) by matter once again. I know I’m living exactly the life I’m meant to be living. Nothing else arises in a genuine way as an alternative, but there is this recurring inner urge to just give it all up and go live in a monastery until I get it, or more accurately, it gets me. Are we ready to drown? I so very much wish I was, but apparently not yet, and so I do my best to live from presence, it being the truest place. There is a feeling of both sadness and vulnerability, and both are okay. I’ve just realised that I have defined the quest as being achieved when I feel love, pretty much all the time. It’s a very limiting idea. Perhaps I should redefine it as being willing to simply be with whatever arises, and let that be the same as love.
    With love

    • marga t. June 2, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

      This willingness to be with whatever arises sounds (feels) like love to me – without the parade! I love the way you can capture how it feels – this longing. With the life commitments I’ve made by bringing these children into being, I’ve been seeing my day to day as the monastery, and much arises every day to hold a mirror to my soul – I should market this path and invite students – they can help with the carpooling practice, the hungry children ghosts, the dishwashing practice…no parade here either – 🙂 So much love sent your way. So funny how you and Don were in this dream, I think the traveling part keyed you in somehow – It looked a bit like San Francisco – from across the water 🙂

  5. Andrea June 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

    Whoah momma. That is some serious dreamtime.

    Bizarrely, I very rarely get these funny sharp pains in my chest, not severe but annoying, causing me to only breath in about 1/4 of my lung capacity. Usually passes in a few minutes, I’ve been told it’s because of scoliosis I have, misalignment of some bones. Ah well, what can you do. Anyways, hasn’t happened in years, though I am experiencing at this very moment. It started right before I opened your blog!
    So, I am not breathing (at least much) right along with you sista!

    I can feel the potency of this dreamtime event, shakes you up and make you think. I like it! I recently read a quote “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” from Peter Pan, of all things.

    I share your sentiments very deeply. Sometimes I feel like too much focus on the beautiful is a distraction, or even escapism. There must be a balance I suppose, but sometimes the curiosity, the deep question as Alison and Don say, “Are we ready to drown?” is so intense.

    • marga t. June 3, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

      I hope the breathing has eased for you, dear Andrea! This breathing challenge is so rare in my body and such a good/evil reminder of the temporal nature of this flesh – my heart goes out to those who have a more recurrent experience. I cannot imagine you will all your juggling jobs managing on 1/4th the lung capacity! Tanker trucks of O2 sent your way! There is a funny play out in my mind between words and ideas connecting to experience, for there does seem to be an overlap with the emotions and the breath for me. When I was feeling claustrophobic at the end of my marriage, I used to say that I felt like I couldn’t breath – but I didn’t mean it literally – though the body heard it that way…perhaps. :O
      Peter Pan, the man. Where does this saying come from: “Today is a good day to die”? – seems I read that years ago, perhaps from the practice Hariod was mentioning. In the film Kundun, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC0jChlBwHE, the monks chopping the body for the vultures in the funeral ritual returns to my mind when I ponder the end of this life. Are we ready to drown, explode, burn, be chopped to pieces? So dark, yet so freeing, too! xo!! m

  6. Amanda June 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Maybe you’ve already moved back to bird songs, flowers and clouds. Sorry I’m a little late to the party 🙂

    My first connection after reading your words was the Gospel of Thomas logion 42, “Come into being as you pass away”. I used to chant it, sing it, write it, see it, until I started to feel it and ‘be’ it when I was coming out of my biggest dark night of the soul (to date…we have many don’t we?) That small little phrase helped me to grow deep and fast because I felt it as a constant reminder that every exhale could be my last. Every moment brings me closer to my physical death. Have I even scratched the surface of my ‘being’ yet? Or am I still following the tunes/stories that are played/woven by the Pied Piper in my psyche? It is a reminder of impermanence and presence all at the same time!

    I, too, have joined with the others on this thread in being under the teaching of asthma. How interestingly consistent it is. Only after I surrendered to the idea of death and softened my body did I ever recover. Many times to the surprise of the medics;)

    I was having a conversation recently about being drawn out into dangerous, windy storms. I have done that since I was a child. The more voracious the better. I think it is the same urge…to be close to the edge of death to demonstrate to my doubting mind and body that the power of death is always present. Surrender and make friends.

    Maybe my physical exist will be in a setting like that. In the middle of a glorious storm, sneaking out in the middle of the powerful wind, and one grand lightening strike takes me out! Excellent.

    • marga t. June 10, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

      Speaking of late to the party… 🙂

      Daily right now, I am the power and electricity of summer storms. I will join you, if you don’t mind, our hair wind blown on the edge of DANGER. I feel I am teetering still between bird songs and lightning, puffy clouds and twisters marching in on the horizon. Pretty flowers with useful thorns you bring to the funeral pyre of me. if I forget who I am in the shower, if I spend time just being and return to this name and face with surprise, perhaps I am dying often, without too much fanfare, while the mind psyche (oh you great connector), has been pied pipering so skillfully with a death scene out of a bad movie.

      Amanda, so heart happy I am to know and thrill ride along with you. Much LOVE! m

  7. J.B. Whitmore July 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    Reminds me of the news story about one of the early heart transplant patients. He’d spent many years as a hospice care worker. Although he’d ushered many over the precipice, when it came time to choose between immediate life and death, he chose life.

    We are puffy clouds. We are fear. We see through rose-colored glasses. We take the glasses off and see hardness stretching off forever. We are all of that. The biggest thing we know is that we can’t really understand anything. You capture this here.

    Let me struggle toward the end, and then let go with joy. Let me be telling jokes on my death bed. Let my family be good and ready to send me off.

    Nice post. Visiting from Contentedness.net.

    • marga t. July 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

      What a big thing to know – that we can’t really understand anything. Your use of words settles me down this morning and points to the restful zoomed out view of all of this, says this puffy cloud experiencing your fresh breeze! marga

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature July 9, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    What and interesting post and conversation.
    I worked in the death and dying field for about 15 of my 30 years as a psychotherapist. I witnessed many deaths. I also worked as a lay midwife for a short time. It is amazing how alike the energy is. I have also been close to death a lot in my life and have died twice for a short time. I have died a couple of times in dreams. I remember, after the crash (car went of a cliff in the dream), I just got up out of my dead body and walked away and I was alive. Thank you marga t for visiting my site. I really like yours.

    • marga t. July 10, 2015 at 1:05 am #

      Hello Mary. In a few short words you bring an amazing array of connections with deep threads for exploration, each! Midwifery and death and dying are clearly the calling for one unafraid to look birth and death square in the face. I didn’t die, but I left for a bit during the birth of my youngest daughter – due to a ruptured uterus and shortly following that, D.I.C. The birthing and dying came very close together in that room. I like your dream crash exit – reminds me of many NDE’s that I have read. Reading near death stories helps remind me, as I go about the day to day, how thin the veil is – and yet, choosing life becomes ever clearer too! So grateful to find your Mindful Wanderings! marga

  9. TheLovelyJLy August 25, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Are we ready to depart from this earth? As I am reading this, I feel a sense of strange calmness. I feel like as you get older, the more you reflect on your life and what you have accomplished, you are more and more at peace with the thought of death and not necessarily in a morbid way.. just at peace because you feel if something were to happen and you take your last breath, you have loved, you have cared, you have given all you can because that to me is what life is about. Doing things that matter to you. Even if they don’t matter to anyone else particularly.

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