Keep That Skull Manchester Hermit

This is part of a comment I’ve submitted to The Manchester Hermit’s blog post You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. In it I make a case for keeping a human skull, and other human bones, in circulation rather disposing of them. If it comes to that, a decent burial I’d have hoped. There’s an interesting exchange of thoughts connected to this post. The tide is turning towards finding the skull a new, and more appropriate home.

Here is the first part of the comment submitted for moderation, and accepted:

As a Buddhist contemplative of some years I find myself joining with the Manchester Hermit and his task and see merit in what is being pointed to through this project. The skull was, in my view, an important first choice. This form brings home, in a disturbing way, the ever present truth of impermanence. A truth we encounter moment to moment yet only when faced with loss, a death perhaps, does it come home to us personally. Bobbing along, as we do, on the river of changeableness there is the ever present matter of choice. On what do we base our choices? Does the contemplation of the crumbling moment show us something helpful about ourselves, and the way we live? Well yes: and then we make wise choices.

I’d like to make a case for keeping the skull, and other human bones in the museum, to be then given into the guardianship of those who have a legitimate claim to their continuing life. A creative impulse has come upon me in the form of a personal letter to the skull. Please understand it’s offered with the greatest reverence and respect.

The letter not published here…yet.

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2 thoughts on “Keep That Skull Manchester Hermit”

  1. Great response.

    It’s an odd one. In one respect I think it’d be great for people to be hands on, feel, look, think about the nature of us and things and our impermanance if not the amazingness that is us. To see the skull become polished by the caresses and thoughts of it’s visitors would be lovely. On the other hand it is/was (?) a person… does that mean it should be put away or protected from us or is it more reason to honour it with our touch?

    BTW the staff hasn’t done much since my return stomping other than virtual (which works), off my feet with high strength anti-inflamitories the last few days for a very swollen painful foot. I’m resting on my back, regularly.

  2. I know what you mean however others might wonder. As I understand the use of the staff for you (as we talked about when you visited last) it’s to clearly and audably signal to stop and take stock of the here and now, to accept ones own inner strength (on multiple levels) and affirm ones connection with the ground. A skillful way to help oneself when in extremity, worked out to help _you specifically at this time._ I emphasise the you and now because I’d not want it to get about as a general ‘teaching’. You might have more thoughts.

    Sorry to hear about the swollen foot. As you can see I changed the last sentence from a the semi technical term, which I understand, to what it is you are doing.

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