“God can “name” you correctly, secretly, truthfully, and always lovingly, by Him and as His (Experienced True Self). This Self is indestructible, un-offendable, and already in heaven.”
Richard Rohr – “The Naked Now”
“Mom, we can’t have you popping off to heaven just yet. We still need you!”
“Well it’s too late ‘cause I’m already there!”
A phone conversation with my 83-year-old late mother Pearl. 1928-2012
A man weeping inconsolably was assisted by fellow devotees into Sri Ramakrishna’s room at Dakshineswar, situated on the banks of the Ganges River near Calcutta. He had just lost his wife, sons and daughter to drowning in a flood. The usual clichés spoken at these times were shared: “Time will heal,” “They will come back to you in the next life,” and so on, all this only seeming to prompt the shedding of more tears.
While this was going on, Sri Ramakrishna, seated on his bed, seemed distracted, appearing to take no notice of the man’s pitiful wailing.
Suddenly, leaping up and assuming a standing-warrior pose, Sri Ramakrishna began to dance, slowly lifting his legs and stamping them down while singing sonorously,
“I am the Death of Death…”
As the hymn to Shiva progressed, the atmosphere in the room altered dramatically.
Sri Ramakrishna sat down in silence.
The grieving man stopped his tears and was calm. His grief now vanished in the words of strength that Sri Ramakrishna had embodied… In this brief tale lies the essence of the intent of any spiritual journey – the deep hunger to touch, in one’s own experience, the “hem of the garment”. To know experientially that deathless awareness – which is the mark of spiritual adulthood, available to all sincere seekers of all faiths; the actual touching of the hem of the Garment is to know beyond any doubt that death comes only to evanescent form. The life eternal where “I” and my origin are one, that consciousness, is the platform of peace upon which all rests, wherein all doubts are utterly extinguished.
To live in that blessed continuing moment is the internal summit to which all matter yearns, where only by relinquishing all identification with any form, or alternatively identifying with all form, no matter its shape – can the sense of a separate self dissolving into the All finally extinguish the grief inherent in attachment to any name and form.
Paradoxically, it is only by such radical surrender, “lying mute on God’s threshold”, emptied of self, that we might gain the “Pearl of great price”, gain what we have never lost, become what we have always been, immortal, beloved, divine with a human sufficiency, home at last.
At home in the world.
“What success can be called success if it all ends only in death?”