Toward a Mindful Immolation

It seems once a year, we celebrate the birth and resurrection of the prophet Jesus Christ, but when it comes to acknowledging his actual death, we choose to remind ourselves not annually, but daily – by displaying or wearing totems of the apparatus that was used to kill execute him. Like wearing a pistol-shaped amulet to commemorate the life of Gandhi, or lighting a torch to honor Joan of Arc.

Let us not forget that we must indeed die (sometimes horrible, painful deaths) before we can be resurrected. Sometimes we must burn our nations and buildings to the ground in order to build new ones, eradicate ideas in order for new philosophies to sprout, completely destroy ourselves to be born again (most times figuratively, sometimes literally). The mythic quality of the phoenix rising from the ashes or the boulder being rolled away comes from the fact that you never know what new form will arise.

What we are guaranteed is that it will never be what came before. It will not be the same old thing. It might be leaner, bigger, stronger, smaller, uglier or more beautiful, but it will have learned to adapt in new ways and it will transcend and include its previous incarnation.

Samsara – the death dance, the dramatic deterioration and burning pain that is the material world – is, after all, what challenges, tempts you and makes you stronger. Be conscious of this in choosing what things you let go of (daily, annually, every minute). Too many social “burning rituals” (Pre Heat, Afterburn) have become nothing more than a communal, albeit Utopian, reason to party, leaving the interpretation (or lack of one) up to the individual. They have lost the ceremony and meaning found in events such as Zozobra or Burning Man.

In all things, make as many changes as you deem necessary, and never be afraid to consciously burn that motherfucker to the ground and compassionately build it back up again.

– Easter 2009

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5 responses to “Toward a Mindful Immolation

  1. I have been considering a Phoenix on my calf as a memorial for Mike and a reminder of what I’m coming out of and going to.

    Also motherfucker is my favorite curse word and when I read it I always hear it said in a mixture of Wayne Cohen’s and whomever wrote it’s voice.

    In all seriousness that last bit is good advice. I try not to be afraid of anything, but at the end of the day I’m just like everybody else who is afraid of change.

  2. What’s this about “communal, albeit Utopian, reason to party”? Anything that involves something called a “Porta-Potty pledge” clearly fails to qualify as my “Utopian” anything.

    And, while I’m ranting, isn’t Burning Man just a party that appropriates a quasi-cultural connection to the Wicker Man practices in Europe?

    And “motherfucker” is my favorite curse word, too! A phoenix would be perfect you, Lorrie.

  3. Joey, you’re absolutely right. Burning Man has it’s roots in nature-based pagan/pre-christian rites, but then again so does Christianity.

  4. Pingback: In all things, … | lafilmnikita·

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