Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rites of Passage

I keep hearing this message in my head.
"Rites of Passage". "Rites of Passage".

Over and over and over. So without knowing what I'm about to write, I begin.

I wonder: What Rites of Passage have I experienced in my life?

Certainly, marriage. Sex. Being a father. Watching my children become adults. Experiencing death. Coming face-to-face with my limits. Failure.

Each of these are rites of passage in their way. Unique. Some joyful, some tragic.

What do they have in common?

Each has had a role in illuminating Truth. Each has played a role in dissipating illusion.

"Drop your illusions...!" is another message I am hearing. Trying to heed that message is difficult, by the very fact that illusions are illusory - they don't reveal themselves as illusions voluntarily. How does one discern illusion from real?

Through rites of passage? Is that a part of what they are for? I usually think of them as marking some kind of "initiation" into something - a way of perceiving, a gateway to new experiences, an arrival at a place one cannot retreat from - no going back. Perhaps it is in that part of their nature that rites of passage dissolve illusion?

What else about "Rites of Passage"? Do they humble the ego? Do they open the heart? Perhaps they do many things. Perhaps each one works on a different part of the self, bringing it into clearer resonance with the Self.

Perhaps we don't have a very complete set of these to assist us in our "breakthroughs" of growth and perception.

My thoughts take me now to the power of grief and loss. I am meeting people who have experienced great loss, and who are still processing grief.

I have learned that the Celts believe that two of the three internal "cauldrons" of life are turned upside-down at birth, and cannot hold anything until they are righted. The cauldron of yearning (in the heart), and the cauldron of knowing (in the head), are both empty until either great sorrow or great joy turns them upright. And then they can be filled.

Somehow, I think a Rite of Passage may be key to this turning as well. If we are not prepared -- perhaps to "see" through illusion -- then these great sorrows and great joys may remain simply that - sorrow or joy - without having the effect of righting the cauldron. A missed opportunity?

Rites of Passage. Rites of Passage. Rites of Passage.

What are my Rites of Passage?

Why must I write of Passage?

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