I shifted my eyes so I would see his personal life disintegrating, expanding uncontrollably beyond its limits, like a fog of crystals, because that is the way life and death mix and expand. That is what I did at the time of my son’s death. That’s all one could ever do, and that is controlled folly. Had I looked at him I would have watched him becoming immobile and I would have felt a cry inside of me, because never again would I look at his fine figure pacing the earth. I saw his death instead, and there was no sadness, no feeling. His death was equal to everything else.” ~ Don Juan, A Separate Reality
I did not understand this statement of Don Juan’s until July 2, 2017 as I witnessed cancer, the ultimate predator, steal my husband’s 53 years-young exuberant life causing him to cease to exist. I knelt beside him holding his hands and said, “merge with cosmic consciousness,” as he took his last breath and I felt his energy retreating inwards, as in a vacuum, until it was all within him, at the center of consciousness within himself. And then he was gone. And so was all of his energy. The bedroom was quiet, so incredibly noiseless and still. I looked at our very good friend who sat there with me and I said, “He did it. He took all of his energy with him and left with utter efficiency.” He replied, “Yes, he most certainly did.”
We sat there for a few minutes uncomprehendingly trying to comprehend what had just occurred. And then there was a strange otherworldly cry. Three of us in the house all heard a different thing. One heard a child, one a woman, and I heard a man. We all heard it coming from different points of origin. I heard it come from the back yard; one heard it in the front yard, and one in the garage. We do not know what it was. Maybe it was a pack of coyotes, circling the perimeter while energetically connecting to this ethereal event. An ally perhaps, helping to guide him safely to infinity? Inorganic beings? A welcoming committee?
Don was my soul mate, my best friend for 24 years and my husband for the last 17 of those years. He was a prolific artist and I have posted his artwork on my blog over the years. He was a warrior in every sense of the word, and I was reminded, many times leading up to his departure and afterwards, of this quote from The Eagle’s Gift that I had long ago memorized.
I am already given to the power that rules my fate. And I cling to nothing, so I will have nothing to defend. I have no thoughts so I will see. I fear nothing, so I will remember myself. Detached and at ease, I will dart past the eagle to be free.
Don had, indeed, made death an advisor. He was fearless and took people to the edge of the mindless machinations of the human condition, beyond the patterns that had, so long ago, taken root to direct and control humanity in its quest to destroy and conquer everything in its path. From a young age Don knew that there were volumes of knowledge and awareness to be accessed that lie just beyond the periphery of what we refer to as the man-made matrix. Don assisted people in freeing themselves from this matrix so that they may return to themselves, free from the limitations imposed upon them by the dominant paradigm.
Only the idea of death makes a man sufficiently detached so he is incapable of abandoning himself to anything. Only the idea of death makes a man sufficiently detached so he can’t deny himself anything. A man of that sort, however, does not crave, for he has acquired a silent lust for life and for all things of life. He knows his death is stalking him and won’t give him time to cling to anything, so he tries, without craving, all of everything.~ A Separate Reality
Don had a lust for life and honored the earth and all of her beings. He was a man of knowledge and he explored everything that the earth and the cosmos had to offer; the abstract, the tonal, the nagual, the human condition, alternative and sacred plant medicines, the sun, the moon, the galaxy, the solstices and equinoxes, and nearly every spiritual belief system known to man. Some people called him a nagual. Some called him a medicine man. Some called him a healer. Many called him a friend.
He was a water pourer for sweat lodges for nearly 30 years. His lodges were not traditional in spite of the fact that we learned the traditional ways from a Lakota Holy Man. Don’s lodges were abstract in the extreme and we often referred to our lodge as a hub of awareness, or a torus. The lodges he poured brought people to the stillness at the center of the whirlwind so that they could touch the void. In so doing, each participant recognized that they were creators and co-creators with the ability to take responsibility for becoming the master of their own choices. This is a strategic move for a warrior so that they can move upon this beautiful planet with integrity, enthusiasm, efficiency, and joy without regret.
I had the honor and privilege of standing on the tops of many mountains with Don; hiking until my legs ached; camping at the river’s edge, sometimes in the freezing cold; exploring canyons and 120 degree deserts; getting lost in dense forests; climbing pyramids in the jungle; scuba diving to the deepest depths of the ocean; and walking between the worlds in first and second attention. Through our deep commitment to the practices of recapitulation, erasing personal history, breaking free from the mold of man, we came to know the true beauty of the world from not a point of truth, but rather, from a point of pure perception and in total freedom.
Don’s death stopped my world. The world as I knew it for the past 24 years has collapsed. The states of awareness that were the foundation of my every day life have been significantly altered and I find myself slowly putting the pieces together, in a different way.
I now understand why it is so difficult to be able to trust in the flow of life because in order to do so, we must make a conscious choice to not allow our minds to control our every moment, our every thought. When we take a stand to be in our power, we come to recognize that our power isn’t really ours, per se, but belongs to the flow of the universe that is guiding us, providing for us, and orchestrating our life’s events with or without our approval or consent. Not-doing has become essential as I begin to understand, on a deeper level, what it means to truly be in the flow.
Is there life after death? Is Don traversing the lines of awareness throughout infinity? I don’t have any answers. The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything.
The world is all that is encased here. Life, death, people, the allies, and everything else that surrounds us. The world is incomprehensible. We won’t ever understand it; we won’t ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must treat it as it is, a sheer mystery! ~ Don Juan, A Separate Reality
Almost exactly six hours after Don left this earthly realm, our very good friend, author John Major Jenkins, left as well. He was 52 years-young and also a victim of cancer. John’s sister told me that as he was transitioning her brother said, “Don’s holding the door open.” As for me? I think they’re kicking it in the cosmos together.