The Magnificent Journey of Profound Grief
I have spent the last two weekends literally sleeping. I became ill upon my return from my visit to my Mother in Las Vegas (Henderson), NV. It seems that my immune system these last several months has taken a ‘hit’ and I’m susceptible to almost every ‘bug’ that I’m exposed to (allergies too it seems...). Granted, I’ve not been taking very good care of myself since last October (2017) – when we came to realize that our time with Lefty was to be much shorter that we had envisioned – confirmed by the MRI that showed the dreadful progression of His terrible disease. It is my typical response to such crises – to withdraw into a place where only prolonged sleep seems to alleviate the pain – and the profound, accumulated exhaustion. That and a complete ‘plunge off the wagon’ per se; eating like shit, drinking, smoking, not meditating, not working-out (or working-in), not getting enough rest, etc. It has been the way I’ve responded to most significant emotional traumas in my life – an utter emotional and physical breakdown.
I chose to spend Lefty’s final months, weeks, days, hours with Him – relishing our dwindling time together. I didn’t want Him to be alone – at all – and I resented the ‘requirements’ of my life – the drudgery of my corporate work in an office, my trips to the gym, my yoga practice, almost anything that took me away from His side – even ‘social’ occasions. Everything became an ‘interruption’ of my shrinking time with My Beloved Hanuman-ji. I gladly, gratefully ‘pushed’ everything aside for Him – even my own health and well-being.
I am adept at the painful ‘foreshadowing’ of grief. I’m all too comfortable and willing to indulge in ‘anticipatory grief’ and I’ve come to realize that this is a supremely difficult lesson – especially as I get older and the underlying ‘temporary-ness’ of my life and the associated circumstances (the ‘stories’) take on a ‘gravity’ of the ultimate lesson – accepting my own mortality and the ultimate ‘letting-go.’ You could say that my penchant for ‘pushing-it’ with regard to my difficult, challenging Spiritual Path has been to address and understand these fundamental, existential lessons. Trying to understand the ‘un-understandable.’
Even more-so, I am compelled to ‘push it’ as not only a Service to my own Path, but also as a Service to the ‘witnesses’ of my life – all those I LOVE so much. If I had an idea of a ‘legacy’ – of something for which I am remembered – it is that I tried to LOVE as fiercely as I possibly could – and in doing-so, tried to ease the Path of others – in some small way – by way of my experience, by way of my example. Granted, we all have our own Paths – and we cannot – and should not assume that someone else’s suffering is not all part of their unique Path – and as such is absolutely required for their evolution. Still, I believe we can help others, Serve others in such a way that they ‘see’ something useful to their own Path – in the examples of the lives of others. I believe that by our ‘up-leveling’ our own consciousness – we can help others do the same. And in some small way, be of Service to them when all seems lost.
Lefty and Richard left indelible imprints upon my heart and psyche. It is now almost five months since Lefty’s passing (The Winter Solstice, December 21, 2017) and almost three months since Richard’s passing (Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018) and I am still, firmly in the grasp of great, profound grief. I have employed everything, EVERYTHING that I have learned as a way to respond to these great losses – in such a way that not only Honors them – but also in such a way that I ‘survive’ their losses – in such a way that allows me to continue living my life in a way that they would wish for me. If I am still and contemplative, I can ‘feel’ their legacy for me – the Great Love that was expressed through their manifest, physical presences – and the GREAT LOVE that continues unabated.
I am not one that easily asks for help. Especially in the realms of emotional and spiritual support. It has not always been a ‘safe’ enterprise for me. I became, early on, rather self-reliant in these terms. It was – and has been – to my detriment. Rather, I became reliant upon my direct experience of Great Mystery (the “felt presence of direct experience” ~ Terence McKenna) – whether in solitude in Nature – or in Sacred Ceremony – or in the simple, profound shared silent presence with Great Beings such as Lefty or Richard. I’ve yet to have a partner – a ‘significant other’ whom was able to meet me in this ‘penultimate’ place. It’s a very tall order in intimate relationship. I’ve come close, but the ‘cultivation’ necessary for such a relationship always seemed just out of reach. And of course, such ‘cultivation’ is a two-way street. Oftentimes the necessary cultivation was something I was lacking. Timing is everything.
Lefty and Richard left me with a new set of tools – not the least of which is a greatly expanded Heart. I believe one must have their heart utterly broken so that it may be expanded. And I am now more involved in a ‘community’ – facing Great Mystery in a group of like Souls, a group of Kindred Spirits. A group of (beautifully wounded) men whom are practicing profound vulnerability – and are actively asking for emotional and spiritual help. So, for as alone as I can feel – and I do often feel profoundly alone – I do have a new ‘touchstone’ upon which I can rely.
Probably the most striking thing I’ve come to realize in the midst of my profound sadness is that Lefty and Richard are STILL with me – STILL teaching me. The Great LOVE never stops. Once a Great Guru, always a Great Guru. We are never ‘abandoned’ by these Great, Great Beings. Their transition simply gives them access and abilities beyond that which they could ‘Hold’ in form. As my Great Teacher, Abdi Assadi, said upon Lefty's passing – “His body could no longer hold His energy.” It is my belief that this Energy (LOVE) is freed to Serve us in more profound ways – to perform even Greater Miracles. This is exactly how my Great Teacher Lefty was, exactly how my Great Teacher Richard was – and it makes perfect sense that this is how they shall forever be…
“Not knowing IS knowing” ~ Abdi Assadi
Not knowing is the key (Thanks for the reminder Jason DeFilippis). Not knowing the answer(s), not understanding the answer(s) or even the questions (!) is key. Being comfortable (at peace) in the ‘not knowing’ and at the same time, having the Great Faith that we are all ‘Held,’ that we are all ‘Guided,’ that we are all LOVED is essential. It is difficult – up there with ultimately letting-go of our stories (our Great Loves) in the end – but even then, Great Faith Serves us in the ultimate ‘not knowing’ in the face of Great Mystery. These Great, Great Beings – these Great, Great LOVES are our ‘proof’ of the Power of Infinite LOVE, of the ‘ultimate reason’ for Great Faith – for our very existence. In this way, our Great Faith becomes a resolute certainty – a certainty of reunion – a certainty of union (Yoga) – a certainty that indeed All is One. Forever.
“Rock loves stillness, Water loves movement, Love loves loving. Perfect. Breathless. Ineffable.” ~ Judi Bachrach