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In the Blood of Christ Mountains

This Easter morning I climb a scraggly rock strewn hill on the outskirts of the city of Holy Faith. I pick my way through prickly pear cactus and sharp volcanic cinders. At the top is a crooked white cross which, at the mercy of the fierce desert wind, has tilted heavily to the side. In the high desert of New Mexico, it is an old Spanish tradition, this crowning of the peaks with a sign of god. In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, you can feel the presence of the early believers who traipsed across this land seeking communion and forgiveness. Like the good sons of Abraham, these desert dwellers knew that death is necessary for renewal. And for centuries people world-wide—Buddhist, Hindus, Catholics and the Greek philosophers have known that incarnation is circular—that life forms in momentary clusters, moves about, and then scatters like the wind.
At the top of the peak, the April gusts penetrate my flesh and bones. I think of how the practice of yoga involves incremental dying to self– that is the narcissistic, fear-mongering self, anxiety ridden self. The deepest yoga we can do is essentially end of life work. Dreams, savasana, the quiet space at the end of exhalation, and being in vast open space give us glimpses of this. Of course the ego always pushes back, reluctant to relinquish its authority. But acceptance of death is a way to open to grace and to learn how to receive the love that we so often shun.
On this Easter morning, in a kind of exalted wonder, I am brought closer to the incomprehensible. The great blue sky towers overhead. I find myself then in a kind of bardo, suspended between sky and ground. While firmly planted on the dusty sandstone I experience a kind of ascension. It is then that the rocks and the twisted juniper tree cry out, beckoning me to live both in the flesh and in the spirt and to lean forward, trusting the season of regeneration.
Alchemy + Aim