The organism that we all are (as opposed to the body we all have)
is not just a visible structure in the form of a physical body
animated by a conscious and unconscious psyche.
It also includes an invisible essence as what can be called spirit
that is profoundly transpersonal.
Deep healing can only occur
when we give up our narrow identification with what is visible
and grow to surrender to the vast context of the unfathomable!
That is the core project of initiation into the great mystery of transpiration,
the great breath across the infinite expanse of the unknowable.
Transpiration (from Latin ‘trans’ = ‘through, across’ and ‘spirare’ = ‘to breathe’) is best known in its old figurative sense of ‘leaking out, coming to light and becoming known’, as in sweating when liquid seeps out of the skin’s pores or an event occurring when we refer to what ‘transpires’. Revelation is thus at the core of transpiration, in our case the revelation of Being through the unknowable. The additional meaning of ‘breathing across’ gives this word additional importance in mindfulness as it refers to the way we overcome narrow identifications with fragments of reality to discover (through breath awareness) the vast context of reality across many perceived subdivisions into the far reaches of the unknown.
Meditation and mindfulness are just the opposite orientation from our cherished compulsion of accumulating more knowledge. Instead of adding and creating, meditation first peels away and dissolves conditioned barriers we developed over a lifetime of survival, until the essence of truth radiates in its full and simple splendor. Like the way Michelangelo liberated his statues from the cumbersome layers of the rough natural rock, so do we chisel away little by little the layers of conditioning with the instrument of non-doing. The more we can relinquish our drive to get somewhere, get out of our own way and stop pushing the river of inevitability, the stronger the sense that nothing important is left undone. Mindfulness is the practice of dying and becoming par excellence. In its most central essence mindfulness practice is an education in dying, and dying is at its core the catalyst for transformation towards full spiritual living, which transcends the time-bound existence of the physical body.
It is only through education in proper dying that we can discover full being. What that means has some complexity: Letting go and surrendering to the inexorable way everything comes and goes in its magnificent dance of impermanence is not just a painful disidentification from cherished attachments. We embrace and work through the pain of dying, because something in us we fundamentally already are irresistibly motivates and beckons us to take the necessary steps to liberate it from obscurity. Until the invisible nameless becomes fully lived reality, we have not fulfilled our destiny and know nothing of the grand LIFE of spirit beyond the little life of the body. Paradoxically it is through surrender to impermanence that we find the unborn and undying eternal and infinite.
The imminence of death and the view of the world from the perspective of contemplating death is a curiously surprising experience: The sense of the present stretches out beyond today, looking back into centuries gone by, and forward into futures yet unborn. Through death we discover the invisible realm of the grand disowned LIFE that has been beckoning us all along. That discovery, as unknowable as it is, is what’s most real in a human life, and thus the ultimate act of healing and love.