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Stand Naked in the Wind and Melt into the Sun

June 10, 2009

I received news that a dear spiritual friend and student of mine has died suddenly, at the age of 30.

Although thousands of people pass from this earth daily, in my corner of the planet, this was an earthquake. There are things to attend to, on many levels, and so I won’t be posting this week, and perhaps for awhile.

I went looking for poems on death that I felt reflected the powerful and lyrical spirit of this beautiful person, and after much hemming and hawing (because I was hoping to find something less well known) ended up with Khalil Gibran’s classic On Death.

On Death

Then Almitra spoke, saying, “We would ask now of Death.”

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran

I know some of you that read this blog are also grappling with the death of this individual. Feel free to post your own favorite poems or quotes (that goes for anyone actually – this is part of how we process these things, I feel.)


35 Comments leave one →
  1. Madeleine Poiesz permalink
    June 10, 2009 3:57 am

    Between their births and their deaths,
    three out of ten are attached to life,
    three out of ten are attached to death,
    three out of ten are just idly passing through,
    Only one knows how to die and stay dead and still go on living.
    That one hasn’t any ambitions,
    hasn’t any ideas, and makes no plans.
    From this mysterious place of not-knowing
    and not-doing he gives birth to whatever
    is needed in the moment.
    Because he is constantly filling his being
    with nonbeing, he can travel the wilds
    without worrying about tigers or wild
    buffalo, or he can cross a battlefield
    without armor or weapon.

    No tiger can claw him.
    No buffalo can gore him.
    No weapon can pierce him.

    Why is this so ?
    Because he has died, there isn’t any more room for death in him.
    -From the TAO TE CHING of LAO TZU-

  2. Par permalink
    June 10, 2009 4:06 am

    Milarepa’s goal is a compassionate one, as he wishes to assist lower beings along their own path to enlightenment by his meditation–By David Mathews

  3. Liz Musil permalink
    June 10, 2009 4:41 am

    i was dead
    i came alive
    i was tears
    i became laughter

    all because of love
    when it arrived
    my temporal life
    from then on
    changed to eternal

    love said to me
    you are not
    crazy enough
    you don’t
    fit this house

    i went and
    became crazy
    crazy enough
    to be in chains

    love said
    you are not
    intoxicated enough
    you don’t
    fit the group

    i went and
    got drunk
    drunk enough
    to overflow
    with light-headedness

    love said
    you are still
    too clever
    filled with
    imagination and skepticism

    i went and
    became gullible
    and in fright
    pulled away
    from it all

    love said
    you are a candle
    attracting everyone
    gathering every one
    around you

    i am no more
    a candle spreading light
    i gather no more crowds
    and like smoke
    i am all scattered now

    love said
    you are a teacher
    you are a head
    and for everyone
    you are a leader

    i am no more
    not a teacher
    not a leader
    not a servant
    to earth’s wishes

    love said
    you already have
    your own wings
    i will not give you
    more feathers

    and then my heart
    pulled itself apart
    and filled to the brim
    with a new light
    overflowed with fresh life

    now even the heavens
    are thankful that
    because of love
    i have become
    the giver of light

    ~ I Was Dead ~ by Anonymous

  4. Glenda McCarthy permalink
    June 10, 2009 5:14 am

    Hopi Prayer

    Do not stand
    at my grave and weep.
    I am not there,
    I do not sleep.

    I am a thousand
    winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.

    I am the sunlight
    on the ripened grain.
    I am the gentle
    Autumn’s rain.

    When you awaken
    in the morning hush,
    I am the swift,
    uplifting rush
    of quiet birds
    in circled flight.

    I am the soft stars
    that shine at night.

    Do not stand
    at my grave and cry;
    I am not there,
    I did not die.

  5. June 10, 2009 10:01 am

    I was going to post my favorite poem on Do Not Stand at my Grave and realized that it has already published. Sorry to hear about your friend. May he rest in peace!



  6. June 10, 2009 2:01 pm

    You are being held with peace and warmth. May your journey through this time be fruitful. This is why we practice, huh?

  7. June 10, 2009 2:30 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend’s “skin suit,” as we say here in the pad, believing, of course, that we go on to get our “sparkle suits.” (It’s a way we talk about it that makes us giggle.)

    As you know we lost someone on Sunday, and we are, right now, awaiting a phone call about someone else. Both of them were only in their mid-50’s.

    And we all say “that’s too young.”

    And it hit me yesterday morning upon awakening that saying that dishonors the life, the path that the person was given. There is no such thing as “too young” if you believe in purpose.

    There is no such thing as “too young” if we all believe the things we say, especially that there is an eternity in each moment.

    Peace to you, Lisa, and may you gain insight and strength as you process your grief.

  8. June 10, 2009 2:33 pm

    send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee. -Donne

    DEATH be not proud…
    One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
    And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die. -Tennyson

    Don’t worry about life after death. The real question is: is there life before death? -paraphrased from Anthony de Mello

    Sorry about your loss.

  9. June 10, 2009 3:44 pm

    My feelings go to you and your friend’s family.
    As you know, I read people’s soul records and often see death scenes while doing this service. We know death is a transformational process. Yet, I also understand the impact of losing someone you know closely.

    Take care, I look forward to reading your next post when you come back from this experience.

    Love, Light, and Truth,

  10. June 10, 2009 4:09 pm

    I’m sorry for this shattering news. While they change form and go on, we are left with loss, something missing. Take care of yourself. hugs

  11. Hathor permalink
    June 10, 2009 4:56 pm

    “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
    you make me happy, when skies are grey,
    you’ll never know dear how much I love you,
    please don’t take my sunshine away!”
    You will be missed my friend,but you are forever here in my heart.

  12. Kelly permalink
    June 10, 2009 6:34 pm

    “Life is short and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourself to meditation. Avoid doing evil, and acquire merit, to the best of your ability, even at the cost of life itself. In short: Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves and hold fast to this rule”

  13. June 10, 2009 10:38 pm

    My heart is with you, my friend.

  14. Marilyn permalink
    June 11, 2009 2:39 am


    If tears could build a stairway and thoughts a memory lane, we’d walk right up the stairway and bring you home again.

    No farewell words were spoken – no time to say goodbye. You were gone before we knew it and only Source knows why.

    Our hearts are draped in sadness and many tears still flow. What it meant to lose you no one can ever know.

    But now we know you want us to mourn for you no more. To remember all the happy times – life still has much in store.

    Since you’ll never be forgotten we pledge to you today a hallowed place within our hearts is where you’ll always stay. We knew you for a moment in time and your light remains with us forever….

  15. Mumon permalink
    June 11, 2009 5:23 am

    “The Great Way has no gate,
    A thousand roads enter it.
    When one passes through this gateless gate,
    he freely walks between heaven and earth.”

  16. June 11, 2009 8:33 am

    The end of the story.

  17. June 11, 2009 1:28 pm

    I’m so terribly sorry for the loss of your friend Lisa. I’m thinking of you and hoping that you find some peace and comfort along with the grief. Hugs.


  18. June 11, 2009 2:11 pm

    I’m so sorry Lisa.

    You know that I know that terrible and sudden void all too well. One of the things that helped me get through each of the unexpected deaths of my loved ones was the book “No Death No Fear” by Thich Nhat Hanh… and his concept of continuation.

    Since we have always existed and will always exist, our day of birth and day of death are merely moments of continuation, when we change from one form to another (from caterpillar to butterfly, from cloud to rain).

    I’m sending you a giant virtual hug!

  19. June 12, 2009 1:07 pm

    Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, and especially at such a young age. I do believe that life after here takes us to an even better place. My heart goes out to you and all who loved this soul…

  20. June 12, 2009 8:10 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    I just wanted to say I am very sorry for your loss and my heart and thoughts will be with you.

  21. Chaton permalink
    June 12, 2009 9:38 pm

    That was such a beautiful poem – as are all the rest that are posted here.

    Matt was such an amazing person and an old soul – one of the purest, most incredible individuals I have met in my whole life. I know he impacted everyone he met and it is such a loss.

  22. June 14, 2009 8:43 pm

    “There are only two ways to live your life.
    One is as though nothing is a miracle.
    The other is as if everything is.”

    ~ Albert Einstein ~

    Every event is reason to celebrate. Love is a teacher in infinite forms and formless states. Transitions are simply reasons to be grateful for connections you have made and footprints left on the sand of soul.

  23. mike permalink
    June 16, 2009 6:18 am

    According to a blessing Milarepa uttered towards the end of his life, anyone who but hears the name Milarepa even once attracts an instant blessing and will not take rebirth in a lower state of existence during seven consecutive lifetimes. This was prophesied by Saints and Buddhas of the past even before his lifetime.

    matt, we are all better people from having known you.

  24. June 16, 2009 9:49 pm

    May your heart be comforted knowing that your friend has returned to the light and is at peace.

  25. June 17, 2009 5:37 pm

    The Waking
    By Theodore Roethke

    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
    I learn by going where I have to go.

    We think by feeling. What is there to know?
    I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Of those so close beside me, which are you?
    God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
    And learn by going where I have to go.

    Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
    The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Great Nature has another thing to do
    To you and me, so take the lively air,
    And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

    This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
    What falls away is always. And is near.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I learn by going where I have to go.

  26. June 18, 2009 4:42 am

    Hi Lisa,

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Life is short and sweet and we never know when it’s our turn. One of the tragic beauties of life. Peace to you and everyone who knew your friend.

  27. mommymystic permalink*
    June 19, 2009 2:52 am

    Thanks all of you for your support and powerful quotes and poems. I’m going to stay mostly offline for a couple more weeks, except for my weekly BellaOnline articles. Namaste-

  28. June 22, 2009 9:32 pm

    My heart is open and going out to & for you, Lisa.

    This is the song my Mother requested be played at her funeral (which I did), which I also played for her on my iPod while she lay in a coma waiting to die:

    At My Funeral – Crash Test Dummies
    “I’m still young, but I know my days are numbered
    1234567 and so on
    But a time will come when these numbers have all ended
    And all I’ve ever seen will be forgotten

    Won’t you come
    To my funeral when my days are done
    Life’s not long
    And so I hope when I am finally dead and gone
    That you’ll gather round when I am lowered into the ground

    When my coffin is sealed and I’m safely 6 feet under
    Perhaps my friends will see fit then to judge me
    Oh when they pause to consider all my blunders
    I hope they won’t be too quick to begrudge me


    If I should die before I wake up
    I pray that the Lord my soul will take but
    My body, my body – that’s your job


    I can’t be sure where I’m headed after death
    To heaven, hell, or beyond to that Great Vast
    But if I can I would like to meet my Maker
    There’s one or two things I’d sure like to ask


  29. June 24, 2009 8:44 pm

    Thank you for this perspective on death, and for continuing to share your insights and those from others.

    May we all be loved.
    May we all be free.

  30. June 30, 2009 7:01 pm

    My love to you, Lisa. It seems this was a period of time for many to make their exit suddenly. Your friend’s is one of many unexpected deaths of people close to those I care for – and all within the last few weeks. Perhaps they’re all gathered together for a great planning meeting to help with what is just ahead for all of us.

  31. July 1, 2009 8:44 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this Lisa – love from Robin

  32. TC. permalink
    November 12, 2013 5:49 am

    the prophet is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read! I’ve recommended it to so many people. this by far was my favorite insert of the book. although I’ve been struggling to understand what a certain passage meant. “for what is it to die, but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun”. what are your thoughts on that? I’d love to know! thanks 🙂

  33. November 12, 2013 8:05 pm

    Hi TC, yes it’s a beautiful book isn’t it? In terms of the passage you mentioned, I really view The Prophet as poetry, and so the images stand on their own. To me, this image of standing naked, with the wind blowing all around, and melting into the light of the sun captures what a spiritually conscious death might feel like – a letting go, raw and alone, into the light of Source. So I take it as poetic imagery. But that’s just me, perhaps it has more symbolic/metaphoric layers to it that I don’t know about:-) Thanks for commenting. Lisa

  34. Patty Nemeth permalink
    October 1, 2014 6:28 pm

    A poem by Rev. Arnold Crompton
    When I have moved beyond you in the adventure of life,
    Gather in some pleasant place
    And there remember me with spoken words,
    old and new. Let a tear fall if you will,
    but let a smile come quickly
    For I have loved the laughter of life.
    Do not linger too long with your solemnities,
    Go eat, and drink, and talk
    And when you can –
    Follow a woodland trail
    Climb a high mountain
    Sleep beneath the stars
    Swim in a cold river
    Chew the thoughts of some book that challenges your soul
    Use your hands some bright day
    to make a thing of beauty.
    Or to lift someone’s heavy load.

    Though you mention not my name,
    Though no thought of me crosses your mind-
    I shall be with you
    For these have been the realities of life to me.

    And when you face some crisis with anguish –
    When you walk alone with courage
    When you choose your paths of right
    When you give yourself in love
    I shall be very close to you.
    I have followed the valleys,
    I have climbed the heights of life.


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