It’s been my expereince that love is a verb, that spiritual practice is a physical, messy, in the center of life kinda thing.
I believe our deepest wisdom moments and the opportunity to add more love doesn’t have rules or a plan, doesn’t look this way or that way— Love in action looks messy and shows up when we least expect it.
I really love the people who practice loving-kindness on, and off the cushion. For example:
I met her on the edge of the narrow gravel road. She was lying just to the left of where the semi had missed the curve and smashed into her medium-sized canary yellow sports car. Despite my friends warning that I might be involved in a lawsuit if I touched her, it wasn’t the first time a quite moaning had claimed my heart and mind. I wasn’t a tourist. A lawsuit would not stop me. As her cries increased, I entered a place beyond thoughts — miles from the harshness of daily affairs. Blood on a highway requires going beyond the mind. It is an attribute of the heart. Long before this accident I had discovered how to follow the path with heart and allow life to grant me wisdom in ways I sometimes did not understand or choose.
Underneath the already crusting, brownish-red blood, I could see her eyelashes slowly trying to blink. Her thin lips were quivering. Instinctively, I slowly knelt down next to her and whispered that an ambulance would be arriving soon. I knew that wasn’t enough; it couldn’t be. I had to hold her. When I laid down and gently wrapped her bloody body in my arms, I knew it was right action. It wasn’t until later that I saw how her gushing blood had penetrated through my once green tee-shirt.
I knew to be gentle in this fragile in-between place; however, she wasn’t so gentle. Her fingers slowly started to dig into my upper arm as she pulled her body closer and closer to mine. It felt like she wanted to enter my body and grab my life force that was quickly fading from her once vital being. Or was she vital before the accident? I knew nothing about her.
I didn’t know her name, her age, whether she was a mother or a grandmother. I didn’t know if she had a college degree, where she lived, or if she was tall or short. I only knew her heart was beating like mine. Her bloody hand was gripping my hand. Nothing mattered except our connection. Time was suspended, everyday life struggles, gone. There we were, on the edge of the highway, lying in a pool of blood on the edge between life and death. We were in sacred space.
“Keep breathing with me, the ambulance is coming… your life is not over… you have a life to live … breathe.”
I could hear the sirens coming — police cars, the ambulance, and a fire truck. I reminded her once again that they were close, and she just needed to keep breathing. The sirens were comforting, yet alarming. They needed to arrive, but my heart wasn’t ready to let go of her. I wasn’t ready to see her bloody body strapped to a gurney and rolled into the back of an ambulance with blaring sirens. I wanted her to live.
As they lifted her from my arms, I felt as if part of my breath was going with her. I asked if I could get into the ambulance but instead was required to give a detailed report to the policeman who was standing nearby with his clipboard full of questions.
Watching the ambulance make its way down the highway with the siren blaring is a memory etched in my heart. I wanted her and others to hear their favorite music instead of sirens. I wanted someone to hold her, breathe with her and assure her that she wasn’t alone.
When I learned she died in the ambulance before she reached the hospital, I vowed to remember her eyes and the weight of her body next to mine. I never wanted to forget the sacred place we held together.
I took a long pause with my current projects and spent one year trying to inspire health-care workers to consider offering healing music in the back of ambulances. I was met with resistance. At the time, I didn’t know how to work through all the hurdles to make this dream a reality. But to this day, the dream lingers in my consciousness. I also volunteered for a Hospice team. I knew there are no accidents. I was with this woman in her final moments of her life to reawaken my own. ~ Moe Ross
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