I am looking through the window toward our back porch and see a floating apparition. It is some sort of flower seed composed of gossamer filaments radiating from a central spire—similar to spokes on a bicycle wheel. It hovers effortlessly in the still air, buoyed by an unseen hand. Light reflects off the fine needle-like radii, making the seed appear like an inverted umbrella. I wonder why it does not move. A gentle breath of wind disturbs the stasis and sends the seed higher into the air until it is no longer visible.

I gaze into the space from which it disappeared and, in a blink of an eye, the floating seed magically reappears out of nowhere. It pauses to hover, and then descends, alighting gently on the lawn to eventually grow into another flower. One moment here, one moment gone, another moment here. It is like our human life in microcosm—birth, death, rebirth. Non-sentient life has a cycle that mirrors our own but with no self awareness. Sometimes I envy that.

This week I experienced the gift of being present to a human death. For some reason I am called to be part of this cycle for my family and others by request. It is a humbling task, but one I feel grateful to fulfill. The spiritual tradition in which I have the good fortune to be somewhat trained, offers me tools to help facilitate the disappearing act we call death. And maybe it will help to support an auspicious rebirth—if that is to be.

Life seems to have a natural urge toward death. Every attachment suggests we die in order to live more freely. The more attached we are to our ego-self, the thought of an inherent independent existence, the more we are urged to let go and realize our interdependence. It is a beautiful system. What holds us back urges us to let go and move forward. We suffer only when we refuse to follow this natural prompt.

The flower seed I observe is not supported underneath by a thermal current or the wind. It is suspended by a vortex of low pressure created as air flows through its filaments. Videos produced using a column of smoke reveal an egg-like area of turbulence above the filaments that actually lifts the seed. Maybe this is like our pure awareness urging us to ascend beyond our ego-induced dramas. We are not so much buffeted around by karmic winds as we are lifted out of our complacency by vibrant clarity. A little turbulence is good. We just need to relax into the flow of natural unaltered awareness—and we fly.

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