How do you process the loss of precious life? I grapple with the question as I grief the death of my dog, Jackson. He passed away while under the anesthesia last Tuesday, right after I published the last blog. We buried him in our backyard under the tree. I still have the memory of my mom crying in pain after her dog died. I was in sixth grade. He was a street dog who followed her to our house. She took him in but he had all the freedom to roam around. He wasn't quite a family dog but he was a family member to her. She buried him in the backyard under my favorite tree I used to climb up and daydream. Jackson was my ward and I had a strong emotional bond to him. I grief the discontinuation of the emotional bond as it were.

Sadness slows me down and offers space and time for contemplation. Even the most subtle physicality like the softness of hair and freshness of scent are animated by energy in motion. Though I no longer feel for his body rotting under the soil, Jackson's spirit continues to vitalize my physical and mental memories. There were times I felt sharp pangs of guilt. Mental suffering is an extension of unfamiliar or strong sensations in the heart and body. I had stomach cramps for two days last week. There is no getting around feeling the movement of spirit. Emotion vitalizes the sensation of the body and mental mood. I have no choice but to let the spirit move my body and thoughts. But I have a choice to either avoid or succumb to obsessive thoughts that lead to physical ills.

Metta--loving kindness meditation was the focus of my teaching last week. It is the cure for excessive self-centeredness that often comes with the sense of loss. To lose something is to believe that something belongs to you. The spirit does not move alone in an individual body. It is moving in unison with the rest of life. I dance because of the music others play. I draw because the images of others seen. Metta meditation is an emotional practice. In order to feel anything, at least two things must come together. Vitality is the movement that creates friction which creates heat--passion and feeling. The heart is the center of vitality because it is where the most friction takes place. It is where you feel emotions the most. I teach because yoga moves us closer to one another. I practice yoga to optimize the flow of vitality from my heart to yours.