Originally posted: December 23, 2017
Danny Cruz, who passed away in December, would have been 26 on Monday, July 30. This week, with deep appreciation of this wonderful human being and of the Grand Mystery, I turn again to share December's post, "The Grave Matter of Life and Death."
Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken! Take heed!
Do not squander your life
-- The Zen Evening Gatha
Although the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy that ultimately ended his precious life at age 25 may have limited the freedom of his body, Danny was the quintessential Free Spirit. His creativity, energy, revolutionary zeal, and passion for life appeared to be limitless.
Through his copious artwork, through his unbridled musical expression with the Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth, and, perhaps even more importantly, through his many encounters with members of his beloved community, Danny's upbeat exuberance and good will were boundless.
It touched all those knew him.
Chogyam Trungpa once described the Crazy Wisdom that is revered in that school of Tibetan Buddhism as "an innocent state of mind that has the quality of early morning—fresh, sparkling, and completely awake. "
The ten thousand volt sparkle I often saw in Danny's eyes comes to mind.
The fresh, unfiltered honesty and the immensity of Danny's goodwill towards others were extraordinary. Although many of us experienced shock at the suddenness of his death, and grieve the loss of his Presence on this plane of existence, the Generosity of Spirit that Danny exuded freely transcends his death.
It still touches us.
Although I, admittedly, rolled my eyes when Danny described himself as a Zen Master in our first encounter in the Wednesday Mindfulness Circle, over these past years I came to appreciate the unique nature of his Mastery. It manifested in his ability to stay positive in the midst of circumstances that would have crushed the spirits of many. It manifested in his unwavering aspiration -- and unparalleled ability -- to Connect with those around him. It manifested in his ability to rise, again and again, to the defense of anyone or anything that had been criticized in his Presence.
Like any Zen Teacher worth his salt, Danny ceaselessly challenged the concepts and attachments that serve to separate us from ourselves, from one another, and from the Miracle of the Present Moment. I learned a lot with Danny in the Circle.
Jai Guru Dev Danny Jai
Healing Into Life and Death
The process of opening the heart fully to the death of a loved one can be a Holy Experience, connecting us to the One Love that embraces both Life and Death. It is there we are Healed. This is, I believe, exactly what Yogi Jesus was getting at when he proclaimed "Blessed be those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."