Birth and Death – The Play of Life

Esther Teule on change and growth the lessons we can learn from death.

the play of life

Spring: What a beautiful time of year! Fresh greens and flowers bursting from their secret hiding places, birds singing and chirping, frogs croaking in the pond and even today, a rainy, grey Tuesday, the air is filled with a sweet perfume. Everything seems to vibrate with new life…

Twenty-five years ago, during the same Spring, my dad died.

While the leaves impatiently unfolded their tender green bodies, caressed by the light of the sun, my dad closed his eyes to never open them again. I still remember the paradox so well; sitting in the silent, dark bedroom next to his body, while outside nature was dancing, breathing, exploding in colours and forms.

Inescapable aliveness

Now that I think back at that time, I realise that life will always destroy any attempt to hold on to something. I wanted to remain with the serene silence my father had left behind right after he died, plunge into its deep, motionless waters and stay there for a long time, not leaving him. But life knocked at the windows of the bedroom, (birds, sunshine, buzzing bees) not to mention the inescapable aliveness of my own body, breathing and moving even in the midst of overwhelming sadness and grief. We got up, cooked meals, drank wine, laughed, cried, made coffee and talked to friends andneighbourss who came to visit.

I couldn’t hold on to stillness. In fact, life changed into a turbulent river, and I had no choice but to fall into its noisy, sparkling, emotional embrace, its safe banks far out of reach. It wasn’t me who surrendered to life. It just grabbed me and took me along, showing me beauty, deep darkness and love where I least expected it.

Losing solid ground

My father’s death woke me up to life. In the following months, I quit singing in a band that I loved but offered me no room for growth anymore, ended an unhappy, unhealthy relationship and started writing. The loss reminded me of how precious my time was and how deeply I longed for true love and expressing my creativity. It was as if a veil had lifted and things became clear that had been unclear before. I felt like I had lost solid ground completely; losing my father, my job, my relationship, my house. But somehow, in the middle of it all, I felt more alive than ever. Again, I experienced a paradox: in the shadow of death all I felt was the intensity of being alive, painful, raw and magnificent.


All we can ever know is life

Life will always urge us to come along. Sometimes touching us gently, whispering in our ear, sometimes with a violent jolt, destroying what we built with so much effort with the force of a tsunami. It scares us, it brings out our deepest fear, but strangely enough, perhaps in the end we cannot be but safe. Death is not the absence of life; life will always move on, finding new ways to express itself. We change, and we seem to die and disappear. But who will be there to experience it? All we can ever know is life.


Having said this, it still feels scary to jump into the river, doesn’t it?!
We still want to be sparkling alive but without the fear, without the uncertainty and heartbreak!

But I guess these unwanted quests are the ingredients that make life so adorable, that make love so juicy and beautiful, that make happiness so brilliant and wanted.

Limitless love and expression

Life is a true lover. It will always destroy any attempt to hold on to something, not because it doesn’t want us to feel safe, but because it will always lead us back to what we truly are: limitless love and expression. It will wipe away our attempts to believe that we are separate identities by presenting us with death, by changing our appearance through old age or sickness, so we will realise it never was about form. It will always bring us back to itself, free and undamaged, back to where we came from. Even when we try to hold on to our smallness, life will eventually take us to the mind-blowing depth of existence.
And why would we ever want to hold on to anything less?

Life will do it for us

The good thing is that we don’t have to decide whether we jump or not. Whether we will drown or float. Life will do it for us, taking us by the hand. It doesn’t care about our fear of letting go, our clinging to what is familiar and dear. Confidently it will loosen our grip and carry us on its meandering waves, taking us to places we never even dreamed of. We cannot escape life, like we cannot escape true love. In the end, we may even find that they are one and the same.

A meditation for EkhartYoga members: Dealing with Loss

We all deal with loss in life. Loss of our loved ones, our youth or dreams or situations we want to hold on to. Losing what we hold dear is an inevitable part of life… In this meditation we will connect to our feelings concerning loss, allowing them to be there and gently open to the flow of life that will always offer new life and possibilities.

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Esther TeuleEsther Teule is a meditation teacher and personal coach. Over years of practise Esther has developed her own style of meditation, based on inquiry and the practise of self love.