Do we really turn to dust?
By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
GOING to Baguio City once again, to be with my own diminishing. This year had chipped away portions of me, in the passing of dear friend, Jun Velasco, and now, Abet Licuben, whose energies have started the journey of returning back to the superconsciousness, a transcendent state described by Alfred Lord Tennyson as:
“. . . a kind of waking trance ” where “the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest . . . utterly beyond words — where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. . . . It is no nebulous ecstasy, but a state of transcendent wonder, associated with absolute clearness of mind.”
“Do we really turn to dust?”
This is the question of the Grab driver who brought me to Victory Liner when I visited Abet last week. As I was trying to catch the 3:00 a.m. bus, I was not able to answer him, but promised an explanation, if and when I have a chance to ride with him again. The destination referred to in Genesis 3:19, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken” probably referred to our bodies, as expressed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, “A Psalm of Life”: “Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; “Dust thou art, to dust returnest,” Was not spoken of the soul.”
Tennyson reinforced this line when he said: “Depend upon it, the spiritual is the real; it belongs to one more than the hand and the foot. You may tell me that my hand and my foot are only imaginary symbols of my existence. I could believe you, but you never, never can convince me that the I is not an eternal reality, and that the spiritual is not the true and real part of me.”
In her book, “Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing”, Anita Moorjani, a cancer patient for four years, whose organs started shutting down and slipped into a deep coma for 30 hours, discerned: “We are not these bodies; we’re neither our accomplishments nor our possessions- we are all one with the Source of all being, which is God.”
In death, we are finally with God, a state of being one with the Source. The “dust” returns to the ground to nurture the birthing of flowers.
My heart can stop beating
and in the stillness,
dream of flowing in a stream
where wild flowers detach from stems
to follow the whisper of the wind
and dance in freedom with the fall.
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