By Jo Mooy
Nothing is ever lost. It’s all evolving and transforming into it’s even more perfect form.
It’s hard to keep track of all the tumultuous passages that happened over the past 18 months. Few were immune to a pandemic that isolated nations and kept us separated from our families and friends. Many called the fallout from Covid a “life-altering experience” and said there was no going back to the way things were. As our world shrank to a few physical walls, we were left on our own to cope.
After watching endless hours of TV, a few found coping to mean cleaning out clutter in the home. For others who were isolated without a buffer or friends to bounce off their thoughts, their normal beliefs were replaced with odd-ball ones. Some turned to more spiritual pursuits—spending plenty of time in nature, trying different meditation techniques, or chanting. For them, isolation became a major healing process that’s still unfolding in its depth and understanding.
I found Covid’s isolation liberating. It freed me from every obligation I previously thought was so important. I rebooted myself and relished each moment I claimed of not doing and not going. Time was mine! I could sit on the lanai and watch dawn’s rise and still be there at noon without any guilt. How delicious that was. I reread favorite novels. I also resurrected some of my favorite teachings of the great Zen Master Suzuki Roshi.
One teaching in particular helped immensely with the death of a very dear friend named Madri. One of Suzuki’s students named Lewis Richmond told this story:
The Master gave an extended talk at a monastery in California. When the talk was over a young student raised his hand to ask a question. “You know,” the student said, “you’ve been talking a long while about all these complex Buddhist teachings. I don’t really understand anything you’re saying. Can you tell me what you said in a simple way so I can understand it better?” Everyone in the room glanced around. Some of the monks, stunned at the impertinence of the question, began silently praying on their malas. Others laughed nervously. Suzuki however, took the question quite seriously. He waited for the laughter to die down and then he quietly said, “Everything changes.”
Madri was an integral part of my community’s social and spiritual sphere, and she seemed eternal. She died seven days after being given a dire stage-four cancer diagnosis. The day of the diagnosis she was shocked. Three days before she died she told me, “Can you believe this is happening?” Then in her own Zen moment she added simply, “Everything has changed.” There was power, simplicity and magnitude in those three words.
Months later, they seem to be etched on my soul. I look at everything around me now with different eyes and deeper feelings. The impermanence can be startling. Some changes, like coal to a diamond takes billions of years. Other changes, like the lifespan of a mayfly, are over in five minutes. Each of us, along with the loved ones that we hold so precious and dear, will also disappear one day. Nothing lasts forever—Everything Changes.
Madri knew this on a deep soul level. She planned out her final instructions in a tabbed three-ring binder, which she began a year before any sign of illness. When I asked her about it she said, “Everyone should do this because things can change quickly.”
Looking anew at everything around me, I again hear the words: “Everything changes.” A fragrant yellow rose is blooming on the tall shrub. One day there’s a new bud. In two days the flower opens. In five days it’s as large as my palm. In eight days the petals are falling off. I don’t despair at its demise—but I rejoice in it’s limited beauty. The fragrance it had still lingers in my scent memories. It changed form but its essential essence remains.
When Suzuki said “Everything Changes” he was also teaching his students how to practice detachments. Detachment isn’t about not caring. It actually teaches that all things are related to all other things in a Cosmic connection. The only thing to realize is that it’s all evolving and transforming into it’s even more perfect form. Nothing is ever lost. Not loved ones, not the rose, not our very existence. The truth is, being here, experiencing life as it is, allows everything to eternally change towards the perfection of itself.
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.