Wednesday, April 16, 2014

65 Years Ago Today

It's four o'clock in the morning and instead of trying my hand at a middle of the night meditation, so highly recommend by yogis of all stripes, the allure of the iPad has captured my focus. Why the restlessness? 

Sixty-five years ago at Flower Fifth Avenue hospital in NYC, my little 8 pound baby body was being squeezed and compressed in my mother's birth canal. I was born about 4 hours later, but my mother never knew it because they used to put women to sleep with general anesthesia in those days. Modern advances in medicine - just like the advertisements on black and white television that proclaimed Camel cigarettes as the first choice of doctors.

Many cultures celebrate the day infant humans enter the world, with little misshapen heads and bodies that can't do anything for themselves except cry for help. Other cultures don't keep particularly good birth records because the day of special significance is when one leaves their body.

In a bookend effect, most people are also helpless when they discard their garment of flesh and are reborn into spirit. While the birth of a baby is a celebration, the birth into spirit is often regarded with sorrow.

But perhaps we have it backwards. Are we born into a world of suffering, eventually to be released into freedom from gravity? Maybe, maybe not. One wise man, when asked this question about life after death, said, "Die and find out."

In the meantime, it feels good to be sixty-five, with life ahead of me that is as new and challenging as when I first entered adulthood. Until the last breath, there is always a new lesson, a new skill, a new chance, to find the essence that makes life worth living while we have the privilege.

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