In the Bardo

Having just re-listened to George Saunders’s magisterial and wildly creative novel Lincoln in the Bardo, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of the bardo this past week.

The bardo is a liminal space in some Buddhist traditions: a place of suspended animation between this life and the next, where contact between them might be possible. (In Saunders’s imagination, it’s a bit like Halloween crossed with Purgatory, but that’s only a very rough analogy.)

Metaphorically, then, on this first day of a first phase of reopening, might we still be in the bardo?

And if the not-knowing inherent in transitions is still difficult (as it so often is), how might we embrace it, or at least learn to grip a little less tightly, as transition creates space for transformation?