It must seem as though I’m obsessed with death, and perhaps I am. My brother passed away April 14, 2019, and I’m feeling him close as that day is on approach.
I’m still going through books. Today I re-enter Ken Wilber’s book, The Simple Feeling of Being: Embracing Your True Nature. Where I am in the book his beloved wife is dying of cancer. The following comes from the book Grace and Grit which I’ve also read. My father died in an accident when I was 19. Thinking about death is not new for me, and maybe it never was.
At one point, near the end of Ken Wilber’s wife’s life, they are in Germany, and he says though “Germany is closed on Sunday,” he enters a pub, where there are “perhaps a dozen men, somewhat elderly, maybe in their late sixties, rosy cheeks from years of starting the day with Kolsch”.
About half of the men – there are no women – are dancing together in a semicircle to what he calls authentic German bluegrass. He sits down at the bar, puts his head in his arms, and a drink appears which he drinks in one pull, and then another, and another. He continues drinking and crying.
The men invite him to dance with them. He refuses saying he speaks no German, but they keep tugging and gesturing looking like they want to help. Finally they entice him in, and he joins the men, “arms around those on both sides of me, moving back and forth, kicking our legs up every now and then. I start laughing, then I start crying, then laughing, then crying. I would like to turn away, to hide what is happening to me, but I am arm-and-shoulder into the semicircle. For about fifteen minutes I seem to lose all control over my emotions. Fear, panic, self-pity, laughter, joy, terror, feeling sorry for myself, feeling happy about myself – they all come rushing through me and show on my face, which embarrasses me, but the men keep nodding their heads, and smiling as if to tell me it’s all OK, young man, it’s all OK. Just keep dancing, young man, just keep dancing. You see? Like this ….”
He stayed in the pub for two hours, dancing and drinking Kolsch. He came to peace, enough to carry on. He waved goodbye to the men who waved and kept dancing. He was never charged for the beer.
I’m reminded of Gabrielle Roth’s words:
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?
I’m not saying Ken Wilber didn’t have a fierce and tragic reason to be sad and depressed, but I love how dancing with these men brought him some relief. Maybe despite the warnings on touch right now, we need to join together and do the same.
When Ken’s wife knows it is time for her to go, he comforts her with phrases she carried on flash cards to carry her through.
“Relax with the presence of what is.”
“Allow the self to uncoil in the vast expanse of all space.”
“Your own primordial mind is unborn and undying; it was not born with this body and it will not die with this body. Recognize your own mind as eternally one with Spirit.”
And so it is. We find each other and connect, carrying love through our beautifully moving forms.
Dance the blossoms in Spring!