Saturday, July 30, 2005

Three Years

Betty was both a "holy man" and a "common man". She was as much like all of us as she was different. Many of us have stories about our experiences when someone we know dies. With Betty, even being this far removed from the event, it is just short of unimaginable that she is gone. Those who knew her will attest to her insight and wisdom, her energy and determination, and the common sense way she approached her spirituality.

I learned of her impending death when I received an unbelievable email message from one of her friends. Over a weekend three years ago Betty had led a retreat at Asilomar, and on the way home started to feel ill. On Wednesday it was determined that she had colon cancer and by the following Sunday she was in a coma, the result of a brain hemorrhage that occurred following the surgery to remove the cancer. She died early Tuesday morning.

Betty taught that we all have teachers who come to us from the "other side" during meditation and in dreams, and since her death I have experienced many dreams in which Betty appeared. For the last several days I experienced unusually depressed feelings. I was drawn to the ILF web site, where a note from her husband mentioned her death, and I understood where the feelings were coming from - my biological clock was aware even if my active mind was not quite so attentive.

About a year ago I was reading a series of books about the reincarnation of Buddhist teachers when I experienced a sudden insight that Betty had reincarnated. She had often mentioned how she wanted to get her lessons right this trip so she would not have to come back, but perhaps circumstances were right for her to reincarnate. The insight experience even provided her name (I believe she came back again as Betty) and general geographic location (Midwest or South Central US). I am not sure I buy this, but wouldn't it be great if she were back among us somewhere? Like the Buddhist monks looking for a reincarnated Lama, we should all keep our eyes and ears open. The rhythm of her voice is unmistakable. Just listen for it.

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