A year ago yesterday my dad passed away and I spent the day alone, with myself. The death of a loved one is often life-changing for those left behind. Reflecting on these past 12 months, that was certainly true for me. And true for the rest of my family. Our priorities have shifted and the allocation of our time is engaged in very different endeavors.
I read a book many, many years ago called I Got Tired of Pretending. Although 20 years have passed since then and I don't remember the content, the title stayed with me as I moved through my days, my weeks, and my years. I question how much or how little I betray myself by pretense, by pretending that what I see, think, and feel is what I really see, think, and feel? I marvel at how often life asks me to pretend that what is real, is not; and that what is "not real" is what matters and holds meaning.
I would guess this is why many refer to life as merely another game.
"Fear not, what is not real never was and never will be.
What is real, always was, and cannot be destroyed."
These lines from the Bhagavad Gita are my answer to the need for pretending according to my roles, my self-identifications, self-justifications, the expectations of others, and all the other rules of the game that we collectively perpetuate among ourselves. We are a most curious creation. Arising from nowhere and nothingness, breathing life we begin to see, think, and feel. As we grow we are taught who and what we are according to how we differ from others. The basic premise is that we are separate, divisible, objects surrounded by a universe of other separate, divisible, objects that we must learn to function with, around, and between. That we survive among others in a predatory world becomes the prime directive.
What if this basic premise is flawed? What if we are not as we were told and have come to believe?
The world we have constructed within our minds is reflected in the world we see outside. More than 20 years ago I embarked on a journey in search of myself. I always knew I was not who or what people said, regardless of what nouns or adjectives they chose. Some words stuck, other words changed, but none satisfied the need to know my self. I became an explorer of many realms and my searching led me around the world. I investigated science, delved heavily into philosophy, and read volumes absorbing the teachings of the world's major religions. I can more easily say what I am not then to tell you who I am. I am not separate from you.
And yet, even knowing this, I miss my dad. I miss entertaining the idea of one day being held within his big, strong arms again. His transition from form to formlessness still brings a tear or ten, and yet, I also feel his presence more today than when he lived and breathed. What is real is the Love we felt for "the other", and that can never be destroyed.
We love you dad. Forever and always.
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