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Excerpt from Movie Yoga

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From the chapter 12 The Free Zone, page 149, the section called, Here at the End of All Things:

And then come the words I was waiting for since the first time I saw the movie, and I still wait for every time I see it. And the reason I waited for them that first time was because when I first read the books, they were burned into my psyche like almost nothing has been since: Frodo says, “I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee. Here, at the end of all things.”

And that’s it. Kind of simple, really. Actually, not a big deal. And the reason it’s not such a big thing is because, when surrender actually happens — and I don’t mean some depressed resignation, or some egoed-out, fear-driven act of phony heroism — I’m talking about the real deal here — it really is simple. That doesn’t mean it’s not profound, because it is. It doesn’t mean it’s not deep, because there’s nothing deeper. It is a calm that goes beyond our understanding. Born of pain and sorrow beyond belief, sure. But to recognize, with all our being, what the Buddha called impermanence, not with the mind, but with the whole being — this is surrender, the acceptance of death, either physical or emotional, the death of our false self. That’s the priceless gift of this scene.

And perhaps the story could have ended there, with the death, and it would have been altogether fulfilling. But it doesn’t. There’s more. How it could be any sweeter or more profound, I couldn’t imagine. But it is. Fade to black: There are no words, either, for Howard Shore’s soundtrack, here or in any other moment of the trilogy. But now, in this moment of their death, out of a bitter-sweet lament of angelic grief, and a glowing smoke-filled horizon, appear one, no, three winged shadows — no fell-beasts here, not this time. It’s the lord of all eagles and two others. He carries Gandalf upon his back. They swoop in with a haunting cry and pick up Sam and Frodo in their talons, as gently as the sweetest mother ever held her child. And carry them to safety.

Unexpected, miraculous rescue: a profound theme in all the world’s mystical traditions. Death and rebirth. Being carried from hell to heaven by an eagle, a solar bird: a common shamanic theme. But let’s not get in our heads right now. Time enough later to do that thing. Let’s stay with the experience of it. And maybe let ourselves sink into the possibility of that kind of miraculous rescue happening for us — or maybe it already has.

And if so, give yourself time to savor what that was like, or what it might be like.  Miracle moments.  Grace, like gentle lightning coming from where we don’t have a clue — unlooked for, perhaps undeserved.  Maybe that’s why these moments are such gifts. As the Lord of the Rings trilogy is such a gift. Let’s do ourselves a favor and savor the films. In this moment they’re miracle enough.


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