Circle of life

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December 5th has been an interesting day for a long time.  For my first 11 years, it was another day–nothing more, nothing less.

Suddenly, it became an anniversary of up-shaking, unsettling, gut-wrenching tragedy as one of the most beloved people in my life thus far (my maternal grandfather) passed on without warning.

And then it became a day of celebration, the anniversary of the birth of someone new, who would also become one of the most beloved people in my life: my partner.

Since then, it has been a day of reflection, of birth and of death, and the whole circle of life, a concept so eloquently illustrated by “The Lion King”.  And so I reflect again this year, in my own way…

I reflect on birth; although I have no plans to have children of my own, I live vicariously through countless others, both friends-in-real-life and those I know mostly through social networking connections.  I reflect upon a mother’s joy, elation, and uncertainty.  I visualize cells dividing, knowing exactly what to do, acting according to perfectly-coordinated precision, directed by something we can’t feel or see.  I celebrate the birth process, the decisions involved, the first breath and cry, the first closeness of mother to child.  I celebrate the electrical signals, the neuronal connections, the ATP production, the processing of oxygen, the burning of fuel, all of that which constitutes life.  I reflect upon the enormous amount of energy a being must conjure and draw upon just to initiate the process of being conceived and deciding to manifest a physical form.  And I consider the courage involved in pre-planning what are often some horrendous obstacles and terrific challenges that that person must endure once that life has manifested and begun.

I reflect on death; the return of nutrients back into the soil for existing life to sustain and nourish itself.  I reflect on the sorrow and grief of the surviving family members.  I reflect on the violence that sometimes surrounds that death, especially of that of an animal in the wild.  I reflect on the check and balance of the ecosystem, mother nature’s insurance that populations remain under control within the right ratios appropriate to ensure survival.  I reflect on the survival of the fittest, natural selection, the mercy the stronger sometimes show the weak and innocent.  I reflect on the passage, the tunnel of light, the transcendence of the soul, the meeting with the Atman, the trial concept portrayed in the movie “Defending Your Life”, parallel universes, reincarnation, karma and chakra levels, and just about everything else.  I don’t feel that we’re judged anymore than we are forced to judge ourselves through the cause-and-effect laws of karma.  I believe we rise or sink to the levels to heaven or depths of hell respectively as a personal level versus a geographical or vibrational commons, all again according to the laws of cause and effect that we have propagated during life.

Above all, I must remember to cherish today, because truly, it’s all we have. Past memories and future plans are just that – they’re concepts, ideas – ideas that we hold during the only time that is truly ours: the here and now.  It’s OK to spend these moments watching trash TV or playing a Facebook game, without guilt or feelings of waste.  After all, it’s every moment, even the tedious and seemingly pointless, that makes up a life.   Not every moment must be considered significant by our judgmental standards; to simply have and experience that moment in the first place–that is significant in itself.

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