Friday, April 1, 2011



In Connemara the Graveyards are near the ocean, where there is a lot of sandy soil. To open the grave the sod is cut on three sides. It is rolled back very carefully from the surface of the field, but it is not broken off. Then the coffin is put down. The prayers are said and the grave is blessed and filled. Then the sod is rolled out over the grave so that it fits exactly over the opening. A friend of mine calls it a 'Caesarean section in reverse'. It is as if the womb of the earth, without being broken, is receiving back the individual who once left as a clay shape to live in separation above in the world. It is an image of homecoming, of being taken back completely again.

It is a strange and magical fact to be here, walking around in a body, to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you. It is an immense privilege and it is incredible that humans manage to forget the miracle of being here. Rilke said: 'Being here is so much.' It is uncanny how social reality can deaden and numb us so that the mystical wonder of our lives goes totally unnoticed. We are here. We are wildly and dangerously free. The more lonely side of being here is our separation in the world. When you live in a body, you are separate from every other object and person. Many of our attempts to pray, to love and to create are secret attempts at transfiguring that separation in order to build bridges outwards so that others can reach us and we can reach them. At death this physical separation is broken. The soul is released from its particular and exclusive location in this body. The soul then comes into a free and fluent universe of spiritual belonging.

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