In India between flights from Varanassi to Agra, my heart is darkened, by the news of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s lonely death.
It affected me more than countless other news casts of popstars and their conspiracies. I usually grieve and judge, assuming they are trying too hard to fit into America’s, pornography obsessed, black box of super stardom.
Hoffman was a genius, with his displays of exceptional creativity and originality in the way he would morph into his roles on the big screen. On the other side of genius often lies the smoke screen of our own mental dilemmas of perfectionism, expectation, people pleasing; whatever schtick it may be for you.
The news struck me with more intensity than most days because I was here, delayed, in my flights from Banares to Agra. Varanassi, otherwise known as Baneres, is considered one of the holiest and sacred cities in Hinduism. Hindus believe that if you die here your soul will be liberated from its cycle of transmigrations.
I was in between, stuck in a moment, on my way to Agra, home of the temple representing Sringara, romantic love.
Agra is mentioned in the Mahabharata as the “border of the forest”—we are all called into the forest at some point in our lives and hopefully we go there.
We are also all called out of the forest.
Unfortunately, many do not make it out and, like Hoffman, die alone before reaching the edge of the forest. Perhaps, as the Hindus believe, they continue work out the cycle of samskaras, the karmic ferris wheel, on some other plane of existence.
If we hide our depth, we suffer in the lonely shadows of the forest .
Our culture encourages this loneliness, with its strives for perfectionism and cleanliness, in a way that causes us to be infertile. It is the shadows, death and cow dung that fertilize the soil for our soul’s evolution.
As I come “home” from India, which is magnanimous because both its shadow and light co-exist together, I land on the surface of our super sterile county.
Here, where people die alone, because we hide it. The poor are isolated, because we can’t witness it. And we are made mentally unstable, because our desires are repressed and segregated to a few streets with no name, only to strengthen them.
Offer it all to the Light. May we stand in our power to embrace it all. Connect with someone close soon or now, and share your shadows, your depth.
Feel the love and support that is always surrounding us if we open to it.
If you find yourself at the boarder of the forest drop to your knees, cleanse your vision, and blink your eyes open to love.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: courtesy of the author