Rise of the Phoenix
Radiation Level: Half a Mile Deep
Listening To: Aad Guray Nemeh by Snatam Kaur
Chi-Chi-Chi, Le-Le-Le! As I write this, the last of the Chilean miners are being brought to the surface. What an ordeal. First to be trapped, no contact with the earth’s surface for 17 days, two spoonfuls of tuna every 48 hours and then to have to wait. Underground. In the dark. For two months. Words that come to mind are courage. Solidarity. Faith.
Below is the capsule in which the miners would take a one-way ride. It invokes the Greek myth of Orpheus, who after the death of his love Eurydice, traveled to the underworld to ask Hades and Persephone to bring her back to life. They agreed that Eurydice could return with Orpheus to earth on one condition: he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. He set off with Eurydice following, and, in his anxiety, as soon as he reached the upper world, he turned to look at her, forgetting that both needed to be in the upper world, and she vanished for the second time, but now forever.
The Chilean miners never turned to look back, they had absolute, resolute faith in God, their country, the mine company and each other. Let’s take a look at the Phoenix itself, named after the mythical firebird that combusts into flames and emerges, reborn out of the ashes.
As I get older, I get more and more claustrophobic, so I really can’t imagine a forced existence half-a-mile underground. Pondering the smell of all those men turns my stomach. Heat. Humidity. Fungal infections. This wasn’t a pretty place to be. But it has captured my imagination as a mythic story of rebirth. It is remarkable these men are ALIVE.
I’ve been thinking about death and rebirth in a symbolic sense a lot since I started the Kundalini Yoga. We chant SA TA NA MA which means: Existence, Life, Death, Rebirth or, more simply, Infinity. There is something about this mantra that gives me hope. It reminds me that things can’t remain the same forever. It is irrelevant that this might be both good and bad, pleasant and troublesome. It is life as we know it. It is us as life knows it.
BRING ON THE REBIRTH!