Things get wild…Shijie:
Joyce jumps into another body!
Note: I’ve been trying to send this email for a few days now…but my address book also got wiped out the night this happened, then auto-deleted again after I rebuilt it…perhaps appropriate to delete my old identity… Please forward as you feel appropriate. -Michael
Shijie – Taoist Liberation from the Corpse
Family & friends of Joyce Gayheart, and folks who happen to read this,
We’re mostly taught to speak of death in hushed tones. Perhaps this quiet is born of fear; that if we disturb the recent dead, they might disturb us, the living. Please be warned that this letter might be a bit disturbing to some with different beliefs; others will consider it a mad prank, some will believe it the delusional hallucinations of a husband (me) who recently lost his partner of 25 years.
I will say, by way of preface, that in pursuing my spiritual path I have had thousands of unusual “energetic” or multi-dimensional experiences that can be lumped together as “spiritual”. When I was young I eagerly wrote them down. Soon I realized they were endless, and rarely even bothered to mention them except when they made a useful point in teaching.
But last night – three days after my wife Joyce stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating – even I was shocked by the powers of the “dead” and their ingenious will to “live”. I suppose I could have quietly pretended it did not happen. But given that my wide network of family and friends were generously pouring their condolences and shared grief upon me, it feels false to not share the wild tale. I feel I should explain why I stopped grieving only three days after Joyce’s alleged death.
Shijie: Practicing from a Corpse to attain Enlightenment
What I’m about to describe I believe is an example of what the Taoists call “shijie”, or “practicing liberation from a corpse”. Its for adepts who have been unable to achieve immortality while alive. Once they’ve died, there is less resistance. Hovering about their own corpse, they can complete their spiritual work in their newly freed energy body – before it disperses and is reabsorbed back into the great flowing chi cycles of Heaven and Earth.
Shijie is similar in theory to Taoist dream practice – every night in the less dense low astral plane, you can accomplish what your resistant-laden ego cannot do by day. Shijie uses physical death instead of our nightly “sleep death”, which is a kind of preparation for the end-of-life death. Very little is known about shijie, as the historical accounts are necessarily vague. Who is around to narrate the details of the post-mortem process of ascension? One of the reasons I’m sharing these details is because of my privileged position as witness and participant in Joyce’s shijie process.
New York, 1993
Let me first recount a true story that foreshadows last night. Back in September 1993, living in New York City, a young woman knocked on my door, asking for help. She told me she was having kundalini symptoms, overwhelming hallucinations, sleeplessness, and afraid she would go mad.
I thought at first I was hallucinating, as the woman was an exact genetic clone of my first true love in college, Jenny Kemeny. She even dressed like Jenny. Once I decided that it was not Jenny pretending to be someone else, I invited the distraught women inside my apartment. Life is so strange, I thought….then it got even stranger.
She told me her story. How a few weeks ago she was visiting Ananda Ashram, in Monroe, NY, to take her first yoga class. The aging resident guru, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, known as Mishra, gave a talk to the assembled ashramites. (fyi He made his living as an acupuncturist, and wrote an early book attempting to unify Chinese meridian and Indian nadi theory).
She was sitting in the back of the audience, a total newbie, surrounded by Sanskrit-learning devotees who’d spent years at his feet. At the end of the talk, Mishra’s soul suddenly “jumped” into her body, sending her writhing on the floor, with high energy spasms wracking her body. Mishra then died shortly thereafter.
The devotees, when they realized what happened, were all angry and jealous that their guru had jumped into a total stranger. She told me Mishra was still inside her, she could hear his voice bossing her around, telling her what to do. She was walking between dimensions, vascillating between the physical and astral-dream planes, having trouble functioning. She wanted nothing to do with Mishra or the ashram…..could I please exorcise him?
To make a long story short, I taught her Taoists methods to ground her energy, and convinced her that her only realistic choice was to make peace with Mishra and integrate him into her psyche, as it was clearly her destiny. I explained the Taoist theory of human beings as a collection of vital organ spirits all trying to integrate; when they do, they achieve eternal life. That she could integrate Mishra into her her “inner family” or team of body spirits that control the body, the personality, and use him to help open up her own higher spiritual consciousness. It took a few years, but eventually she worked it out, discovering along the way she had acquired both healing and psychic powers.
Interesting story, right? Most Westerners would be skeptical. But in China, it’s part of the popular culture. The most famous case of “shijie” is Li Tieguai , one of the Taoist Eight Immortals. He was out of his body, meditating, and his students thought he had died. So they burned the corpse. When he returned, Li was forced to leap into the body of a crippled beggar who had just died.
That’s why he’s known as ‘Iron Crutch” Li. His humble condition combined with his elevated spiritual compassion make him much beloved by the Chinese people.
Shijie would more commonly be considered a leap to the formless heavens, but it can also mean any dramatic transformation after death – like leaping into another body.
Now let’s fast forward 15 years to Asheville, N.C. My wife Joyce, who I am hoping to nurture back to health from cancer long enough to enjoy another summer of gardening, refuses to drink. Realizing she has decided to die, I throw myself onto the carpet, sobbing with involuntary paroxyms of grief. I knew it might eventually come to this, but that didn’t make it any less painful.
Death Omen from my Mother?
A few days later, the day before Joyce “dies” (legally: no heartbeat or breath), the phone rings. It is my mother, age 82, calling me from Oregon. She has NEVER called me in the two years since she was committed to a special Alzheimer unit. Her case is pretty advanced. She cannot remember how to dial – but she forces the nurse to dial for her.
“Mike honey, is that you? It sure sounds like you. I am so relieved. I got a mysterious call this morning from someone who said that one of my children had died. So I am calling around to see which of my seven children are still alive. You sound quite alive!” and she laughs. Her voice is stronger and clearer than its been for months. I convince her it was a dream, or a wrong number. But after she hangs up, I feel uneasy. Could she have unconsciously picked up on Joyce dying? An omen of death? Later I find out she had NOTcalled her other six children….
Chi: The Hidden Pulse of Life
Joyce dies at 2 pm on Friday, Feb. 29. I wonder if it’s Joyce’s sense of humor to pick a leap year day, or a way of saying that something about her death will be an anomaly. At 5 pm, three hours after her “death”, I read her wrist pulses. In my Chinese medicine tradition we read three levels: organ, bowel, and deep/constitutional pulse. The first two levels in Joyce’s cold wrists are totally empty, dead. The deep level I hold for a few minutes, and then feel faint but distinct pulsation, unique to each vital organ. In my book, it means she has “jing”, or life essence. She’s still alive.
The next day, Saturday, I put my hand over her navel, to check her body’s core energetic center (dantian). I quickly get a strong pulse. She’s not breathing and her heart is not beating, but she is definitely has life force flowing through her. I have very strong meditations with her body spirits, and feel them moving gradually up her core channel towards her third eye and crown as she resolves tension accumulated during her life, and from the pain of her liver tumor. I send out an email to about a hundred friends and family, letting them know she has passed.
Sunday a lot of folks come by to pay their respects and meditate with Joyce. It’s 70 degrees out, unseasonably warm, although Joyce’s body is still cold as ice. The cold phenomenon is called “algor mortis”, as the body drops to ambient room temperature. Strangely, Joyce’s body felt much colder than other objects in the room – and even four days after death had not swelled or begun smelling. In China they wrap tea leaves around the body to absorb any smells, in the West dry ice is used.
I believe Joyce’s body did not decay due to her high spiritual vibration. She was annointed with rose, myrrh, and frankincense oils, a gift from one of her admirers, which she said also helped to release tension for the departing soul.
Sunday evening a friend who is an M.D. stops by to sit with Joyce. We meditate for a few hours, and I feel Joyce’s energy body moving to a higher vibration, the frequency that I recognize (in the Taoist hermit One Cloud’s Seven Formulas for Immortality) as “star alchemy” or “sealing of the senses”. This is the level when your soul goes inside, and makes contact with its Over Soul, embodied by the zodiac. (more on the 7 formulas can be found at: www.healingtaousa.com/tao_alchemy_formulas.html)
The visiting MD asks if the room is overheated, he is sweating. I remind him it is psychic heat. I ask him to put his hand over Joyce’s navel, still ice cold, and see if he can feel a pulse. I am curious what he will feel as a trained physician, touching a corpse legally dead for 58 hours. He immediately feels the strong pulsation in her navel (dantian), and looks a little disconcerted. It’s not what they teach in medical school….
Hour of Tzu (midnite): New Cycle of Life starts in Dark Underworld
Later, we relax and sip some Dragonwell (long jing) tea. It’s very special, you can actually eat the leaves afterwards, which we do. Green tea is so soothing at times like this. Then I inwardly feel Joyce calling me. It was a strong pull, enough that I had to ask my friend to leave. It was nearing midnight, the Taoist Hour of Tzu, when yang chi begins its new cycle. I had no idea at the time, but Joyce was getting ready to make her move.
I sat for a while on a chair, facing the crown of Joyce’s head. In front of her head is an altar with flowers and three burning candles, one for each stream of the Life Force (yin, yang, yuan). The West is to my back. West is the natural direction of death in Taoism, because the sun sets in that direction, pulling everyone on a nightly journey to the underworld (fengdu). I had intentionally aligned her body so her head was facing West. Joyce is already considered to be in the Underworld, waiting for the Queen Mother of the West (or some celestial bureaucracy, depending on what type of Taoist you are) to decide where her soul shall next reside, based on her virtue. The alchemical Taoists are not into the celestial bureaucracy, they simply want to know the most effective mode of action to further the process of merging with Tao, the Way.
Let me inject here that Joyce was very concerned about her afterlife in the month preceding her death. She was not in a tranquil state, with sharp pain from a liver tumor pressing against her diaphragm. She took pain medicine, but opiates, if you take enough to really blunt the pain, put you into a drug-induced bardo where you are not really alive. You are in a groggy dream. Joyce would periodically go cold turkey, and endure intense pain for a few days just to clear her mind of the painkillers. It’s very tricky to find the delicate balance between medicating a tolerable level of pain and having enough consciousness to enjoy your life.
Sometimes Joyce had nightmares, and worried that she would be stuck in a similar purgatory state after she died. A traumatic, pain-filled death from cancer was not auspicious. She was raised Catholic, but dropped that at age 16 after a priest approached her sexually during confession. But those early religious ideas resurface as you are dying, and need processing.
One of her last statements, spoken in a child-like voice, but without anger, was “I am mad at God”. She didn’t want to die, she felt too young, with too much wisdom to share and too much beauty to cultivate. Her body (apart from the tumor) felt and looked much younger than her age 65, and she knew she had her father’s genes to live into her 90’s. After all the other suffering in her life from car accidents, heart attacks due to failure of metal in a step ladder, etc. the cancer was just one thing too much. Ancestral forces weighed heavily on her. A grandmother who suicided, leaving five young children. Her mother at age 56 had also died of breast cancer, that like Joyce’s, spread to her liver.
Which Way Out of the Body?
I suggested to Joyce that the highest and most direct pathway, based on inner vision of my own future death, would be to exit through her own inner core channel, not out the crown of the head. In otherwords, go deeper IN, not OUT. The higher dimensions are inside us – there is really no where to go, just relax and let spiritual gravity pull you in. As Jesus the Master Alchemist said, the Kingdom of Heaven is within.
But gravity is a weak force, the needs of the panicky mind have more impact. The “tunnel with white light at the end” is, in my opinion, just the jing/sexual esence moving up the spinal canal to the brain, where you meet your own personal and cultural projections in your mind (Jesus, grandma, etc.). Practicing the Taoist microcosmic orbit meditation (chi flows around spine and torso) resolves the need for this method before death. However, exiting out the crown is great for recycling into the astral plane of the earth. But its not the High Heavens.
I shared with Joyce my idea that the crown exit pathway, trained in Tibetan Phowa practice, is useful if you are a Tibetan seeking another re-incarnation, and need to fly around earth in low orbit to find a suitable portal for re-entry. Actually, in my understanding the deceased soul flying around doesn’t even reincarnate. They just find a child or an embryo and imprint the pattern of their dying soul and memories onto it, so their spiritual knowledge is not lost. It’s a way of preserving their culture. Then the child remembers that soul information as if it was their own life, so when shown objects, etc they feel familiar. (I know, from visions and my last trip to Tibet, that aspects of myself spent many lifetimes in Tibet).
I think this recent discussion about post-death pathways influenced Joyce’s decision to jump into another soul.
Joyce’s Heart Spirit Takes a Leap
Let’s return to Sunday midnight, 2.5 days after she stopped breathing. I’m sitting in the West, facing Joyce’s crown. As I meditate, I get an internal request to lie down on the floor, and put my head, propped up on three pillows, directly pointing towards Joyce’s head, a kind of “tete a tete”. It reminds me of the time I took the Kalachakra initiation form the Dalai Lama. Afterwards I studied with some high Dzogchen lamas. One night, I went home and lay down. I was still awake, when the top lama came astral flying head-first into my head, and parked himself in the same “tete a tete” position. Then, Tibetan-style, he downloaded his soul knowledge into me. It’s the fast way to train.
So now I’m head to head with Joyce, and things begin to cook rather intensely. I can hear the sound current – the Over Soul frequency vibrating down through our souls into the physical. It sounds like a very loud high pitched buzzing. I keep opening up my core channel wider to receive that sound current, to let it flow from my head down into my body. This sound current is the same as the “In the Beginning was the Word….” translated from the aramaic in the Bible.
I assume Joyce is vibrating this force to me, as she moves up the core to her crown. I’m thinking, she is finally getting ready to fully leave the body, to blast off to another dimension. I’ll just hold the space for her, like a launch pad, so she can leave more easily. And encourage her to let go of final attachment to her body.
I’m also curious about her Over Soul /stellar mind, to encounter and absorb it, possibly communicate with it. There are, in my understanding, twelve Over Souls in this cosmos, extremely vast beings or aspects of the collective Original Self /Primordial Oneness that imprint themselves physically and psychically into the physical plane through the zodiac. Joyce and I knew that we came from different aspects of the Original Spirit. These Over Souls are also on their own journey of spiritual evolution.
I finally get a communication, but it’s not at all what I expect. I’m somewhat shocked by an internally heard request from Joyce “to come into me”. I don’t quite grasp it at first. Of course, I reply (telepathically), “you know my heart is always open and I love you. What more do you want?”
Joyce and I have played with consciously merging our energy/soul bodies for decades, and its easy for us to communicate in this way, after ten thousand hours in joint meditative sharing. I think it will become commonplace and spontaneous in the future as the planet rebirths itself (or “resurrects” if you’re Christian) at a higher frequency. If you don’t receive my Tao News eletters, you can read more on this topic of energetic soul exchange in the archived newsletter, “Soul Sex: Hidden Driver behind Romantic Love?” at http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=75. You may need to first Subscribe to Tao News at the top of the articles page.
To Merge, or Not to Merge?
I’m going to transcribe the exchange between Joyce and myself that followed into a “conversation”, although of course not a word was spoken. All this transpired silently as high-speed vibrational patterns:
Joyce: I’m not ready to leave Earth. I feel your heart calling me strongly. There’s much I wish to complete spiritually here. The most direct way for me to do it is to merge into you. That will complete me and support you spiritually at the same time.
Michael: I am open, I welcome you into me. But I don’t think that I have room in me to store all of you. I’d be overwhelmed by the vast memory bank of your 65 years’ life experience. Not to mention unresolved conflicts between our shen/personality. What will I do with your anger at not having children? It’d be difficult to resolve the control issues. How could we possibly integrate two separate, strong wills living in one body?
Pause. Joyce’s field recedes as she merges further up into her Over Soul vibration. I hear the pitch rise as my own Over Soul frequency tracks her. The room disappears from my consciousness, very dissolved neutral force is present. Then she comes back into focus. I feel her vibrating in my core channel, at about the level of the heart:
Joyce: Our Over Souls have worked it out. If you accept, my personal heart spirit (shen) will merge with your heart spirit. My personal memories and my other vital organ spirits will be absorbed back into the field of my Over Soul. You get my heart essence only.
Pause, while I digest this. What it will mean? I’ll have two hearts? I check in with my heart. I know my destiny this lifetime – in western astrology, the north node of my moon – is to evolve my heart. I feel my heart shen lovingly expand. The heart feels like its sending a clear Yes! – even if the karmic consequences are not known, a total wildcard as to how this will play out in my worldly destiny.
It feels very experimental. But the possibility of leaping into the unknown, deeper into our jointly held cauldron, also attracts the alchemist in me. I know that in the last few months we’ve both concluded that its not possible for our souls to merge any further “horizontally’ through subtle body sex. That the only path to more growth was “vertical” mind-soul-Over Soul integration for each of us, separately.
Michael: I trust you. My heart is ready to receive your heart essence. How do we do this?
Spiritual “Heart Implant” Operation
Then spontaneously begins a several hour process of integration. I recognize this as a kind of “spiritual heart transplant operation”. This is different than the “shijie” described in classical Taoist texts – here there are two parties involved, consciously aligning their wills. Only one of them – Joyce – is “practicing from a corpse”, using death to express her will, without resistance from the physical body. I find myself dissolving into Joyce’s bardo-like state.
As the heart-to-heart process unfolds, a huge surge of energy expands inside me. It feels like a giant, slow-motion tsunami, or like a dark deep ocean goddess, slowly arising within me. Each wave gently ripples open the boundaries of my inner heart space. I realize that Joyce’s heart essence is not coming from her body (=Earth), or from above her head (=Heaven). She is entering from some pure inner dimension of my own heart, from inside me, through a portal that feels like it might be an opening to the collective heart of Humanity.
In this moment, I’m aware that everything has suddenly changed, that the field of our old physical marriage has dissolved. Her “death” has shifted the horizontal dead lock between our souls, it has created a new opening. And now we are in the process of achieving what I thought was impossible between two embodied souls. We are in process of achieving true androgyny, the merger of male and female, at least at the heart level.
Importantly,our heart transplant operation feels to be simultaneously a horizontal (Joyce-Michael) personal exchange, as well as a shared vertical (mind-soul-Over Soul) communion at the collective level. In Taoist terms, it’s xin-ling-da shen (heart-mind, soul/heart essence, Great Spirit).
I flashback to Egypt in 1992, to an initiation in the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid we both took from an Atlantean guide. We were also re-married in the King’s Chamber. That experience triggered a mutual bardo-like state that lasted for about six hours. We both hallucinated the same images of hieroglyphs, pharoahs, ancient initiations, strange animal-headed beings presiding over rituals.
Joyce remembered her heart being cut out from her living body by black magicians at Karnak Temple. I felt a strong connection to Luxor temple, where Jesus was trained in the esoteric arts of inner alchemy that he used later to perform miracles. All this is a stream of consciouisness….for six hours, Joyce and I were two bodies, in one mind. I recognized the similarity to our “heart transplant” process, 16 years later.
An Ambitious Soul, False Yang Fire as Cancer Cause?
During the hours of our heart transplant, or perhaps more accurately, the “heart implant” operation, I found myself assessing Joyce’s life. Egypt reminded me that the initiation in the Great Pyramid set in motion the events that may have cascaded into her current cancer and death. It was a pure fire ceremony, designed to Move the Hundred Stones, and expose the initiates to a higher stellar fire. Fire is a quickening agent karmically. The ceremony – we found out afterwards – was also designed to download our future selves into this lifetime. That download came at a price for many of the initiates. Three people died shortly afterwards – one from breast cancer (she already had it – but was it quickened?), another developed liver cancer, a third had a heart attack.
All these diseases were excess yang/fire conditions – the physical side effect of accelerating spiritual growth too quickly. I went virtually blind for six months, gazing through a hazy curtain of floaters, with the sun multiplying itself ten times when I looked at it. I later cured myself with Taoist water & fire inner alchemy, which reverse mirrors Atlantean fire & water practices. I ignored a doctor’s warning that I was going to go permanently blind if I didn’t take heavy chemo type drugs. My retinal disease – and my developing yellow/blue color blindness – was also due to “excess yang”, excess fire in my eyes. I am certain the eye disease was future karma speeded up by the Pyramid fire ceremony. For Joyce, the “speeding up” took the form of the second major car accident in her life, later in 1992 in Bend, Oregon.
That car accident and two spinal surgeries that followed it, bombarded her with enough radiation (a spiritual form of fire) to start cellular mutation in Joyce. It also lit oceanic fires of pain, too big for any one human to hold. I could only glimpse the surface of her suffering, it was too painful for my psyche to witness. The physical pain also amplified old fires of emotional frustration in her, derailing her career and movement ability. But using Feldenkrais and qigong, she got herself moving again within months.
I believe all these forces: radiation + anger + frustration + shock to her immune system, ignited within her a current of false yang fire that rose to her breast fifteen years later as an aggressive cancer. It is testament to her high spiritual development that she cultivated deep compassion, love, and cheerfulness in the midst of these challenges. Her acupuncturist noted she did not have the pules of a typical cancer patient – it was as if the cancer were removed from her at a distance.
She had amazing powers of regeneration. After five heart attacks (triggered by a collapsing stepladder that broke her left shoulder), her pulses were so flat I thought several times she would die. Then her will would re-assert itself, and she would rise from the ashes.
I spoke with the (channeled) Atlantean guide who’d led the Great Pyramid initiation, on Saturday, the day after Joyce stopped breathing. He offered an additional insight to her life and death from cancer. He observed that she was an unusual case of very high ambition coming from the soul level. Her soul pushed Joyce to take on more suffering in the physical plane than she could manage. He also noted that she came to Earth to deal with ancestral issues of rigidity, and each of the traumas in her life was designed to shock her, and hence force her to move her ancestral rigidity/resistance.
This offered a cogent explanation to me for why Joyce always felt like a failure, no matter how successful she was in so many domains of her life – as a teacher, healer, movement artist, writer, master gardener and landscape architect, master researcher (she planned to write a book on what she’d learned about cancer). She was master of whatever she put her brilliant mind to – she wrote her first husband’s PhD thesis in anthropology, taught herself astrology by reading 40 books on it. Another 200 books on self-improvement and relationships designed to ultimately improve me – unfortunately were wasted (I warned her in advance).
Despite Joyce’s extraordinary talents and high spiritual presence – her soul was never satisfied, and Joyce was unfortunately made to pay emotionally for it at the personality level.
Getting the Spiritual Heart Implant to “Take”
Back to the deep trance that I found myself in with Joyce’s heart spirit. Lying there in deep mediation with Joyce’s still pulsating corpse, I recalled Dr. Paul Pearsall’s book, The Heart’s Code, filled with stories of people who got heart transplants. They also got a new personality transplanted along with the organ. He documented over 70 cases. And I tuned into Minke de Vos, the Healing Tao instructor from Canada who had a heart transplant, and who confirmed absorbing in the heart shen of her donor.
I found myself spontaneously doing a Taoist Fusion of the Five Elements practice to ensure that the transplant of Joyce’s heart essence “took” permanently. I expanded the “orb” of each vital organ spirit, a colored sphere of astral light. One by one, they embraced the new heart orb that was being created by the merger of our two heart essences into a single “heart drop”. This required each of my vital organ spirits resonating and shifting its frequency so they could function smoothly together. Everyone was excited, there was a lot to learn in this new psyche.
At some point in this process, Dean, my deceased father, showed up. He was a heart surgeon, who had died two years before at age 82. Joyce adored him, and he adored Joyce. He had a diamond-like spirit and a great healing presence. We’d both tracked Dean after his death, as he merged into his Over Soul. When he came into our heart-merging process, he was part of a larger Over Soul field, his individual frequency barely recognizable. But it seemed fitting he would show up. As a heart surgeon he’d helped Dr. Debakey in Houston to pioneer open heart surgery back in the 1950’s. Now he shows up, to monitor the spiritual heart transplant of Joyce. I took it as auspicious omen that the operation would be a success.
Then I went unconscious and slept for some hours on the floor, my head still pointing toward Joyce’s. I was awakened by Leilani, our pet rabbit/adopted child, jumping on my chest. How unusual, I thought – he never does that. Yet today he jumps repeatedly on me: his little paws have great power in them. It feels like he’s trying to jump-start me.
Awakening to a New Reality
But I cannot get up, I’m in a post-operative trance. I lie on the floor until Monday noon, meditating, adjusting to my new internal reality. Finally my sister Robin calls me, concerned how I am dealing with Joyce’s passing. “Joyce is not exactly dead”, I answer cryptically, not sure how to explain what has happened. Not sure that it did happen, except that I feel light-hearted and in fantastic good spirits.
I get up and look at Joyce’s body, lying in state on the bed. I feel somehow like it’s not me looking at her, its “we” – Joyce and I both. And “we” are both very detached from her body, it’s now just a corpse, no emotional response to it, no investment in it.
I try talking to Joyce as if she were a separate spirit inside me, a new voice that had come to live in my body. But there is no separate voice, no separate Joyce. I give that up, realizing I’d agreed to this “change of heart”. And now I had to live it, as my own heart.
I felt the pulse in Joyce’s resting body, pressing deep into her navel. I waited a few minutes. Nothing. Zip. There was no more life force flowing through her body – it appeared that during the heart transplant, Joyce had fully left the body. The body was three days old, still without decay or smell. It would continue that way, for five days, until Wednesday when she was cremated – but still not the slightest whiff of putrid odor. I was going to wait until her flesh started to decay before cremating, but the lack of pulse and “our” complete feeling of detachment decided it for me.
At the cremation, I or “we” did a deep two hour fire ceremony meditation, sitting in a darkened room with a viewing window onto the stove where Joyce’s body was cooked at 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. We did a variation on the Atlantean Torus meditation, which involves creating a high-speed double vortex using spinning pyramid shapes in the energy body. I’d adapted this for the Taoist Greatest Water & Fire alchemy formula, linking it to resolving collective (ancestral) issues of humanity in the inner sun- inner earth cauldron of our solar system.
It felt like the vortex of my meditation sucked in all the remaining life force in Joyce’s burning body into the fusion point at my heart, between the two inverted spinning pyramids. After the cremation, I sifted through the bone fragments before they crushed them up into ash. No pearls hidden there. More surprising, there was virtually zero presence of Joyce in those bones.
But when I checked inside, my/our heart was still “cooking” at a feverish pitch from the ceremony. It was like we had finally completed our heart transplant. There was no longer any physical body for Joyce’s heart essence or I to project onto. Forcing our attention back to the infinite openness of the Present Moment.
What is the Lesson here? Mothers are always right. One of her children did die. It was me, not Joyce, she was tuning into when she got that mysterious phone call telling her one of her children had died.
A new heart means a new identity. The heart is considered the Emperor, the ruler by virtue of its Imperial Fire. So I have a new ruler in my psyche. A beautiful new blend of ocean goddess and mountain god, of yin and yang heart essence, a complete and perfectly androgynous heart.
It’s now been five days that I’ve been walking about with a strange, light feeling in my chest. A vast new space inside me, that I’ve hardly begun to explore. I gradually accept that I really have a new heart, that is neither my old heart nor Joyce’s.
I’m just starting to appreciate the immensity of the consequences of Joyce’s choice to leap into my heart. And grateful to her kindness and love for me in doing so. And hoping I am able to share with others the value of whatever grows out of this leap of heart-faith.
But its strange to suddenly shift to having no grief, no loneliness, given the huge loss just suffered, my partner of 25 years disappearing into ash. To my head, its a huge contradiction. When thoughts start in my head about missing her, about how vast and complex a civilization our marriage had become, I am gently drawn to my heart. There, I am reminded that her heart essence, the best part of her, is with me, more intimately than she ever was in physical life.
I have a light, delightful feeling inside my heart. Like there is an infinitesimally small heart drop of the essence of love, gently radiating out unconditional acceptance in all directions, from the new Michael-Joyce heart. It is a very subtle and gentle force, easy to miss, not to be confused with an emotion or feeling about any one thing.
I invite you to close your eyes and tune into this heart drop of love – the tiny drop that trumps death.
love, chi, blessings from the heart realms beyond death,