Waking and rising from your bed, your mind quickly rebuilds the city that lay scattered and ruined while you slept. In the inner darkness, where were your ambitions? Where were your insecurities and fear? All these things were scattered or erased, at most appearing cloaked in dreams. A little death, a little birth, and a daily rebuild of old habits and filters of mind. The little death is the core of your daily creation.
When you rise from meditation and prayer, you are likewise newly born. The artifacts of the world and all your relationships are tiny fever dreams while you are only a field of consciousness. After meditation, we rebuild our cities just as we do after waking from sleep. But the meditative mind flees more slowly because it does not fear the formless so much. The meditative mind embraces the little death at the ground of consciousness.
Everything in our lives and in time arises from that same stillness and silence.
Occupations, relationships, ownership, and all other attachments arise and subside. They all undergo little deaths, and arise reborn. In between the waves there is an absence, an emptiness – the truth of the waves is there. Certainty, security, and purpose are concerns of the ego in the waves only; love, compassion, and truth are the gifts of the little death between.
Waking and sleeping are waves, and the trough between is the truth of them. Meditation and prayer are the royal road by which the storms of mind are tamed into waves, but the trough is truth and the rest is illusion. All the cycles in life – the seasons of identity, the years of purpose – are waves where the self is mistaken as the apparent destination of the movement, then recovered as the wave returns to the sea.
Let us honor the little death. Each time the illusions withdraw and the serenity of merged sea and sky appear, let us dissolve fully into it. Let us abandon our habits of running frantically into the next upward turn and fearfully resisting the next downward turn. The breath is a microcosm of self – between the out-breath and the in-breath, there is a little death exposing the blessed stillness and silence. The mortal life is the visible macrocosm of self – the wave of illusion rushes in and is built into an elaborate sand castle which washes away when the next wave come in. The wisdom of waves and cycles reveals that even the end of mortal life is only a little death, a low point on a wave that inevitably starts upward again.
We can honor the little death by understanding and accepting it. See that the little death is the plowing of the field so that your inner garden blooms again. See that the little death is the ritual, joyous kiss on your cheek by the immortal Beloved. There is no life until you honor the little death. There is no life until you accept the kiss and its gift.