The View from Above

I don’t know if it’s because I have lived through breast cancer or through multiple decades on Earth, but I see the world differently now. When you face a serious diagnosis, identification with the smaller concerns of the individual self begins to slip away. And what seemed so important at 20 falls to the wayside later in life. I have written previously about living as soul more than identity now. Open heart space instead of crowded mental highways. That’s as close as I can come to expressing the change. Different experiences engage me. I rise at dawn, meditate, do yoga, and write. I listen to the music of morning birdsong and nighttime crickets. I take long walks in Nature and find that my awareness deepens as I walk wordlessly in the stillness there. (“Be still and know you are God.”)

Don’t get me wrong—I love my friends and family and all the varied parts of my life, past and present. It’s just different now. Often I feel immersed in a kind of expansive consciousness, and anything less powerful and compelling seems only a passing distraction. I know that every moment on Earth is precious, and I appreciate that with all my heart. Yet, part of me is sitting out among the stars seeing the entire cosmos beyond time and space. From that place, there is a letting go of doing into just being. Witnessing life and allowing it to flow with and through me, without attachment or judgment.

Is this the course our lives take, from birth to death? A continuous gradual awakening to a loving awareness that spans all dimensions? Perhaps we are each experiencing this in our own unique way. Some of us speak of it, some don’t. Some of us move forward excitedly; others hold back. It doesn’t matter. We will all reach the same “place” eventually, perfectly, and no clock is measuring our progress. It is the soul’s journey, beyond time and space.

I used to be frightened of flying, terrified that the plane would crash, and I would die. Now I feel more like I am being transported on angel wings when I fly, given a secret glimpse into a world of clouds and light that some think of as heaven. Maybe it is. Actually, maybe everything we experience, however we label it, is heaven because there is nothing else. Infinite consciousness experiencing itself, on Earth and in the skies. When we die, we realize that everything is one magical dream, ours and God’s.

Too far out or intangible? Well, that’s the view from above—everything blends seamlessly into everything else. We humans like to separate and delineate, but it’s only a mind game to entertain us while we’re here. As we depart this dimension, we see every boundary dissolve into oneness, and we realize that we came to Earth for exactly that experience.

Expansion, Not Decline

Is your body demanding your attention lately? Are your emotions on edge? Do you feel as if your health is declining, your sense of optimism impaired? You are not alone. Almost everyone I know has been facing some kind of physical issue or challenge over the past year or so, including myself. Breast cancer flipped my daily world view upside-down. Yet, as I gradually learned to experience it with a peaceful, accepting heart, calm arose within me to face whatever I needed to without despair or negativity. My soul guided my body, mind, and feelings throughout. Sometimes we have to pass through depression or emotional upset to reach that overview, but it can happen. This is the challenge of these times we are living through, especially during a global pandemic.

How can we come to see physical pain or illness in a positive rather than negative light? Perhaps by seeing it as a cleansing or clearing of your physical form so that your soul can shine more fully and brightly. These are times of expansion, not decline. We are welcoming the complete embodiment of the soul in our bodies. Physicality is the densest part of you, and it will be the last to transform. The heaviness of form is being overhauled to receive the lightness of formlessness, our natural and eternal state. The key to an easier transition may be to view physical illness or pain as metamorphosis, a path to clarity and fulfilment. You are shedding your identity and your past and walking into a new vision of life and yourself. It may feel intensely challenging, but if you look closely, the doors are opening. No matter what is occurring, your soul chose this life path for your greater evolution. Welcome to the Great Shift on Planet Earth.

This applies not only to physical difficulties but to the overall political/social turmoil in the world. The entire planet is experiencing a cleansing. A new Earth is being born. And birthing pains often accompany such a major event, personally and globally. So hang on: you are not deteriorating; you are expanding. Hard to believe at times, but we are being asked to imagine, and live, this vision of a new fully embodied soul, in our selves and our planet. We incarnated at this time for exactly this. Your physical body and Mother Earth herself are shedding density, welcoming conscious awareness of spirit everywhere. Even what seems to be the worst scenario holds within it a seed of awakening.

There is nothing “wrong” here. Nothing “terminal.” Neither age, diagnosis, nor life events can kill your spirit. Your soul is eternal; consciousness too is eternal.  You as beingness exist beyond time and space, beyond mind and emotions, beyond thoughts and expectations. The world is a temporary landing point for your evolution and expansion. We are all part of the divine unfolding of infinite consciousness. Even if you think things are bad or intolerable, there is something greater occurring beyond human understanding. You are journeying through ascension, not decline. Your soul knows the way. Relax and surrender to the cosmic trip God/dess has orchestrated. When you feel lost or alone, hold in your awareness a vision of our blue planet turning golden and our souls shining brightly in the cosmos. At the soul level, our hands are joined, circling the globe as one energy, one expanding light. In pain, sorrow, or joy, you are always part of this collective life spirit. Look up at the morning sky and recall the words of e.e. cummings:

“This is the sun’s birthday, this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth”

Phoenix Rising

On the day of my first radiation treatment for breast cancer, I had a sudden thought during my morning meditation: “This is the fire that will burn away the imprints of all that came before.” Meaning, what we each carry around with us from our past, whether pain, suffering, loss, or uncried tears. Every human being faces challenges in life that because of their intensity imprint us deep inside and thus affect how we live day to day, with hesitancy or fear perhaps. When the imprints come to the surface and are released, freedom and peace arise. Mostly my life has been filled with love and happiness, but I have also had difficult experiences, including breast cancer and a lifelong fear of death/eternity. Ironically, this current cancer path has opened up a deeply soothing and expansive soul connection. Now I am at the last fiery gate. The phoenix stands before me.

The legend of the phoenix, also associated with the sun, is one of rebirth and renewal, of letting go of the past and rising anew in the present. In various cultures, including Greek and Egyptian, the bird was said to live several hundred years and then die in flames, its successor arising from the ashes. The idea of resurrection and immortality is often connected with it. It is a universal human theme—life beyond death, reincarnation, and “fresh starts.” How we live these possibilities in our own lives is part of our individual design as a human soul. Personally, I have always found the phoenix legend fascinating. I read a children’s book about it when I was 9 or 10, and it has always stayed with me. Is this my time to personally live it, symbolically, so many decades later?

At the end of my first week of radiation, beloved Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh died at the age of 95. His teachings had had a profound impact on my spiritual growth. I knew there was some significance for me in the timing of his transition because the day before, I had prayed for further help in fully accepting infinity/death. Over the years, I had come to a deeper peace about it, primarily because of my work with Panache Desai, but I could feel a kernel of fear remaining.  That morning, a friend posted a link to one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s talks, “Overcoming the Fear of Death,” and in his daily online meditation, Panache spoke of releasing the past and living completely as your soul. On my morning walk, a vividly colorful rainbow stretched across the sky during a sudden shower. I felt my prayer being answered.

Insight and deepened awareness come to us in many ways—through wise teachers, through magical moments in Nature, and through inner epiphany. All of these touched my heart that day. In his talk, Thich Nhat Hanh spoke of “no-birth” and “no-death”—the continuity of all being in the cosmos, or “interbeing” as he called it. “It is possible for a wave to live its life as a wave, and to live its life as water at the same time.” We are waves that have arisen into form from infinite consciousness at birth, and we will return to formless “water” at death. Nothing is born or dies, in Thich Nhat Hanh’s view; there is only eternal Presence always. Panache too continually speaks of the infinite divine Presence beyond form.

This is the wisdom I have been repeatedly guided to on this breast cancer path. As I gradually released attachment to my body’s appearance and my past identity with it (form), I found myself becoming more and more fluid (formless) in my day-to-day life. Surrendering to that fluidity brought deeper trust and acceptance of all of life/death/eternity. I was experiencing the flow of interbeing in which there is no birth or death, just awareness. Loving awareness. It is something that can’t be explained through the mind but only experienced through the heart and soul. This is our life’s journey, every one of us. Each path unique, yet all connected in infinite consciousness. The waves and the water as One.

So in the ashes of what appears to be a life or an experience ending is only the phoenix rising continuously. And fear falls away in that rising and that continuity. Peace. Radiation begins and ends, and the grace of a rainbow appears suddenly in a gray sky. That multicolored light is always present. Our true nature is timeless, formless, eternal. We are the multiverse expressing magnificence in the world.
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Note: My last radiation treatment (surgery and chemo also complete) was on 1 Tijax in the Maya calendar. Tijax stands for healing and miracles. Who could ask for a more perfectly aligned synchronicity?

Body and Soul

The body sometimes assists the soul’s journey with quite dramatic insistence. After I completed a third chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, my body let my doctors know very clearly that it had reached its limit. I had allergic reactions in the form of an inflamed rash/bumps all over my body, edema (fluid retention), and breakthrough bleeding beneath the skin (to name just a few). Treatment 4 was cancelled. This particular segment of my spiritual “firewalk” was complete.  My body is now being given time to reestablish equilibrium and prepare for radiation in a few weeks.

Sometimes life’s “medicine” (in the sacred sense) takes an unusual course, and I am called to align with it. In doing so, I open myself to further spiritual growth and expansion. These chemo treatments have been an integral part of a process of completely dropping any identification with my physical form. Losing the hair on my head was one dramatic marker. Next came severe allergies. When you look down, and your own body is unrecognizable, something shifts in your awareness. You realize that what you are seeing is a temporary vessel, and what is seeing this vessel is not. You recognize the presence of a greater consciousness beyond the physical: your own spirit or soul, which is eternal.

As I have moved forward with the cancer treatments, I’ve shed various life identities. The more that fell away, the freer I felt at the soul level. Now, the power of these latest reactions has further amplified the dropping away. At this point, there is little left. I can feel that when I meditate. Almost immediately, as I close my eyes and open to inner stillness, “I” begin to dissolve. A spaciousness opens up within which I disappear from my own perception. What remains is pure beingness. No I or not I. I am empty while at the same time filled with spirit. This seeming dichotomy is the gateway to infinite consciousness. When the body fades to emptiness, the soul takes over completely. Spirit flows without interruption. The mind, emotions, and physical reactions are in neutral, and the soul fully lives its perfect design, unimpeded.

On another level, I have begun to experience a different response to the exterior world. At times, I feel as if I am watching a distant newsreel of this reality from another dimension entirely. I am untethered from the polarities and separations, the clashing opinions. My heart aches at the terrible suffering I see, but I trust there is a cosmic design within which the Earth is evolving. My role, as part of that design, is to give all those who cross my path love and empathy. I am not here to convince or convert people. I am here to live love, period. That’s is why we are all here, ultimately.

From my soul’s view, my responsibility as a human being passing through this planet is to live a life based in loving-kindness, not dissension or argument. To meet others on the common ground of caring, compassion. So much of the world is wrapped up in prickly debates over one thing or another, down to the smallest details. To hold peace in my heart and in my daily interactions seems to me the best way to live in this world, body and soul. Within that, the rigidity of individual identities fades, and the spaciousness of collective spirit flowers.

The Secret of Life

Every time you inhale and exhale, you are breathing the spirit of life, which is God. That’s the secret: The breath is God. In many languages, the word for spirit is the same as for breath. We hold this wisdom within the depths of our souls because it is what we are made of. Yes, we are human, but our humanity is composed of divine spirit. Your physical form is a sacred temple within which God experiences life on Earth. When you breathe, God is breathing. When you look through your eyes, God is seeing. When you look in another’s eyes, you are both gazing into pools of divinity. The only problem is that we have forgotten. We think that breathing is merely a physical phenomenon that arrives and departs with birth and death.

The breath is so much more. It is eternal, infinite. It is everything in all of creation condensed into something that seems very simple: air moving in and out of your lungs. But it is divine spirit that is the source of that rhythmic motion. Spirit that has no beginning or end. When you take your first breath, spirit enters your body as your unique essence, a piece of God. When you take your last breath, your essence, or soul, returns to the wholeness of God. In continuous motion, spirit flows from formless to form and back again. The entire universe moves in this manner—an infinite number of forms arising, flowering, and then falling back into formlessness. Your soul is part of this dance within divinity. Your soul, in human form, breathes spirit into the world.

What animates spirit in the first place? What is the primal cause behind every effect? Love. The infinite love of a creator for its creation. God is the eternal parent loving you, child of the universe, with the breath of life. It is love in its purest form. Divine love animates your life on Earth. With every breath, you are a conduit for that love. You touch everything around you with the divine love that pours from you just by breathing. When you become fully aware of this, you step into your greatest potential as a human/divine being on this Earth. You realize your oneness with God.

How do you become fully aware? Through a gradual deepening of conscious connection to the breath as living spirit. So many meditation practices focus on the breath because they are teaching oneness with God, with all of life. If you want to know firsthand the secret of life, look to your breath. Every time you inhale and exhale, you are one with God. In truth, there is never a moment when you are not one with God. The key is to remember it. To remember where we all came from (infinite consciousness) and how we are always connected to that greater loving Presence. The breath holds the key to everything. When you remember, your very being expands into harmonic resonance, and you are able to love limitlessly. This is what you were born for, to transmit oneness, love, peace, and unity through every conscious breath.