Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last Words, Lastly.

This post is for Eric Aadhaar's soul ceremony, held on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in Australia, and in various corners of our little blue and green planet. 

(J.S Bach Prelude in C-Major from Bagdad Cafe soundtrack)

Hello from the past, and thank you for being here right now in the present. Thank you for bearing witness to my passing, and to hearing these final few words I wish to let go out into the world.

I am aware that I do not wish to shape your memory of me by what I say here and now. You will remember me the way you want and need to. And I love that. So this short speech today is not really about me.

As I sit here, in the past, writing this, I am imagining the future; this present of yours, and what I am feeling is immense gratitude.

Really, I just want to thank you.

I would like to think I made my love for you well-felt enough when I lived, but of course we never can, as humans, ever love enough to satisfy ourselves. Such is our desire for love, for each other, for the amazing sense of oneness we share as people, that I spent most of my entire life trying to have others see my love. Perhaps, that I might see it in myself. Where I was remiss in seeming to love you, I am sorry; it was not for lack of love, just a flaw in me.

But like I said, this is not about me.

In life I had the immense good fortune to have loved and to have been loved, and eventually to have let myself feel that love properly, truly, deeply, too. This; despite my own best efforts at sabotaging my own happiness. You, my family of man, have constantly embraced me. You have allowed me to feel the love of the universe through you. You have taught me, finally, one of the Great Life Lessons it seems I most needed to learn: to trust. Through you I have learned to have faith, purely, not in any single or particular thing, but to allow the feeling of faith to be real. In the end I did get what those spiritual masters and prophets who have gone before have said on the subject of faith and belief, and in the end, it was you through whom I awakened to it. Nature, Godhead if you will, spoke to me in great part through you. This is true of my closest companions and the most random strangers.

What happened? How did I come to feel so changed and loved when at times in life it seemed so much suffering and pain was stacked against me? When the world around in itself could seem so torn and broken and wretched with needless agonies and destruction?

Well, I don't know.

But it's something to do with nature, and spirit. You see, I say that all this love has come through you, and this is true, but deeper still, I feel this love as that of the love of all creation, the pure light of some divine reality. The same stuff you get from properly just sitting and being with a tree, or a cow, or whatever. The what is unimportant. The just being is the thing, the place at the edge where it all happens. For what it's worth, I came to see it more and more around me, and as my days faded the light I saw, the glimmer of man slowly but inexorably returning to Nature, reconciling with itself, grew greater and clearer. I don't think it was just me. I think we really are changing.

I am pretty sure I did not die perfect. But I am even surer that I died pretty damn well, and for the opportunity, the great good fortune to do that; the enormous luxury of time to truly suffer and deeply experience the lessons my oh-so-slow mind insisted on trying to grasp and speak out loud, I am thankful. For letting go and going past that, I am more thankful still. To have found release, to have glimpsed the Oneness of death and life, at least in some small way.

It might be fair to say that today your life has more death in it than the average day.

Let us then celebrate the gifts of life, but also those that death brings us; closure, relief, renewal. Letting go. The cleansing power of grief to shift our energies, to stretch us and our ability to love and grow. But let us never forget to equally honour the darkness, the hurt, the pain. These things are OK. Really, I promise.

That death and disruption strike at every hour, yet we continue to behave as though we were immortal; this is the greatest mystery.

I shall not seek to ask your blessing, or that you remember me well, or even at all. I do not seek to have the last word, and given my form in life it's a fair cop that so many of you would at least inwardly chuckle at that' but seriously, I trust you to let me go the best way you know how, in the way that makes it feel rightest - that is, the most right - for you. Because learning to trust in life has given me a great faith in what is happening, or has happened, since writing this and in dying.

How can we decide to trust life and not trust its equal and necessary partner, death?

I am not going to ask you not to grieve, I do not want to try and deny you the needs of your pain, as can be such a fashionable thought these days, to quarantine all the 'negative' thoughts and feelings and – in the case of death – celebrate the good things only. Let us celebrate the grief and the growth from pain, as well as the joy.

But let's DO celebrate, for my life has been simply the most fabulous fucking thing ever.

I could write a list. It would be really, really long. But I shan't, for the time of counting blessings is past now too. The blessings are in totality; alongside my old self, all become one.

Music has been the closest thing in my life to religion.

Earlier you heard a scant two minutes of a simple piece of Bach, played by a young amateur actor, on a nearly clapped-out old upright piano, that touches for me every single aspect of human experience worth having. It is a magick. One single note at a time, the entirety of life and all eternity held up to the light and exultant. So if you wish to know what I think about the afterlife, or what is here for me now, beyond death, listen to music. Music will tell you. Art is here for us that we may have some way of understanding that which logic can never touch.

There is so much I could say to and of each and every one of you, but that time is gone now too. Still, there are those to whom I wish to dedicate a special place in the heart of this day.

The first, my mother Betty, father Michael, and sister Bronnwyn, for bringing me into being and shepherding me through the first years of my life. And the last, my partner, comrade, lover and friend, Meeta. For all that we have done and shared and been. And for being here to help me go in the way that you have. There are not words for how grateful I am to you Meeta, for there is no edge to my thankfulness and love. It's OK though, because I know that you know that I know what had to be known in the end. We knew.

Posterity, it turns out, isn't something I ended up being overly concerned about. It feels to me now like I did what I wanted and needed to do in life. And that, the sense held deep in my very marrow that I went where I needed to go, faced the challenges and learned from the failures and hurts as much as from the joys and cheers, is the blessing I wish for everyone on earth.

I wish that you find a place of true contentment, a safe and sacred space inside, a connected space that holds you snug in the embrace of nature and light, yet a space that carries always the memory that death is just … right … here. All the time. That is the way for us to heal; to heal ourselves, each other, and most vitally, our planet. To heal our Nature. However you do that, as long as it's real.

Goodbye then.

Please go deeply into your day today, whatever that means and however that goes for you right now. Look around, look at the person either side of you for a moment and remember their faces, with love. Before you take your leave today and go back into your own private day of life, remember to take the moment to feel the love of everyone here, and everyone touched by knowing you, or even just meeting you for the very first time. Remember I loved you, and knew well of your love for me. Remember we are all the same. We are all the same thing. Even as I am dead and gone now, we are still one with matter and energy, in entropy, and in the light that shines through us.

Thank you not just for your love in my life, but for your love in letting me – helping me – to go.

I will leave you with one more piece of music, which I hope you will like. It is I guess a little parable about the power of love and togetherness; to grow we humans well, as a part of nature, accepting all that comes, beyond judgement.

It is called “One Voice,” performed by the Wailin' Jennies.

This is the sound of one voice
One spirit, one voice
The sound of one who makes a choice
This is the sound of one voice

This is the sound of voices two
The sound of me singing with you
Helping each other to make it through
This is the sound of voices two

This is the sound of voices three
Singing together in harmony
Surrendering to the mystery
This is the sound of voices three

This is the sound of all of us
Singing with love and the will to trust
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
This is the sound of all of us

This is the sound of one voice
One people, one voice
A song for every one of us
This is the sound of one voice
This is the sound of one voice

(from the album "40 Days")

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Last Post

That you are reading this now means that I have died.

That I am writing this now, ahead of time, is part of the act of letting myself go.

A good and solid friend a while back generously agreed to look after and wind down my online presences once the time came, and it is by her good grace that you are able to read this now. Thank you for that, Olga.  The idea is that this post will be updated with details a little later, you know, about the funeral and such, but that this is the last ever post from me. It and the rest of this blog will stay here, for posterity as it were, until such time as entropy works it levelling charms, and this thin skein of words falls apart and returns to the Great Background from which it emanated.

It's that I wanted to say goodbye, and to thank you, is all.

Between finishing this post and my leaving we may have 'spoken' some more anyway, you may have shared a little piece more of the journey; borne witness to days that only now lie in your past.  And for that, if that is the case, I am sorry.

That is the other thing I want to say, that I am sorry for being that guy who did this in your life and you watched on and were made sad because suffering just does that to people and ... yes, I am sorry for all that. I ask forgiveness for the hurts I have done you, in whatever way I might have, including the hurt that having to let go can sometimes bring. I am sorry.

It might be important for you to know that I feel like I've had a really great life.  Also, that I feel like I'm having a pretty great death too, as things go, and that means I carry no ill will of my own.  I cannot now really pinpoint the moment I realized that I really had no regrets left, and there was no-one left to forgive in my petty wounded ego; that I had been, for some time, already set free.  Hallelujah.  Let's say it again:


As I continue to dissolve as a self, even with each letter I type a bit more of the me-ness crumbling off and subsuming into the Everything-ness, I am still aware that my great fortune in life seems to come down to two things, separated by what might be a near-universal habit of mind.  Nature and mankind.

I am thankful to both in equal measure.

If you have read my blatherings here and elsewhere online the last couple of years you will have some idea of my understanding of things spiritual, of my approach to the Sacred.  My observation is that man constantly seeks to return to nature, as if there has indeed been some catastrophic division set up between what we see as ourselves and what we see as Everything Else, spirit included.  For what it's worth, I believe that man is evolving in a good direction, and during my life I have seen more and more evidence that man is - albeit slowly and haltingly - making his way back to Oneness.  Hallelujah some more, for that.  Certainly, it is a theme that has defined my journey into death, if not my whole life.

Today death might be on your mind a bit more so than on most days.  Let's celebrate that.  On the way to meet my death, I have had great fears.  There was terror and anguish and pain, there was grief and lament and years of losing, incrementally, bits of life along the way.  Yet every pain ultimately only brought me more goodness.  More contentment. Deeper experience of the stuff of life and heart and spirit.  More love. And you have been there, reflecting Godhead (and me) all the while, playing your own special role in Nature, growing alongside, living your life.  Thank you for sharing it.

Lastly, it may be important for you to know that in life I got to know how much I was loved.  Thank you for showing me your love, and helping the universal love find its way to me through you.  My only remaining aim in life, as I let things go, was to be a conduit for that love in the world.  I hope that somehow I have brought into your life just a little bit of the immense loving kindness that I have experienced.  There is just one thing left to say:

Thank you, and goodbye.

Some Practical Details

[Funeral details have been removed. The rest of Eric Aadhaar's message is below.]

If you are attending the funeral, please dress as if you were going out for a lovely lunch or something like that; don't be afraid of colours, or celebration, for it will be a celebration of life as much as a ritual of its passing.  Please bring with you a spray of foliage; a small branch of twig of leaves from a favourite tree or shrub, or any plant that speaks to you along the way; of the right sort of size to act as a fly swisher or a  fan.  This will be used in the ceremony, so hang on to it.

If you wish to attend but cannot and would like to participate in my passing, then maybe consider a small ritual of your own.  Find yourself a suitable little branch of leaves, a beautiful quiet spot with an outlook on something natural, and meditate on the life that runs through you.  The life that runs through your being from crown to footsoles, that courses through your switch of foliage, that extends around the planet and is the very same energy with which you and I are connected.  Meditate on the Oneness of you and I and everything, and if you are moved to do so, bring your memories of me to mind.  Then take your fan of leaves, and swish me away. See my spirit rising up before you as if a wreath of fragrant smoke, and fan my spirit back home.  Guide my spirit upward and outward, fan me away, and let me go.  Dissolve.  When you are done, return your little branch to nature as best you see fit; fire, compost, or just left gently on the earth under some trees.  And say a prayer for yourself.  Perhaps the one below.

And also, have a wonderful day.

Great Spirit, whose voice in the winds I hear,
And whose breath gives life to all the world. Hear me.
Before you I come, one of your many children.
Small and weak am I.
Your strength and wisdom I need.
Make me walk in beauty.
Make me respect all you have made,
My ears to hear your voice.
Make me wise that I may know all you have taught we people,
The lessons you have hidden in every rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brother,
Make me able to overcome my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ready to stand before you with clean and straight eyes.
When life fades, as the fading sunset,
May my spirit stand before you without shame.

(adapted from Chief Yellow Lark of the Lakota, North America).