Denver, Colorado 1720MST
23, November, 2020
My Beloved Soulmates
Your letters have expressed deep, undeniable truths about the world, our world, that surrounds us now. I have seen in both of your small corners of the globe the polarities that give rise to the pain, suffering, and death so many are immersed in as I write this, as well as the joy, fertility, and transcendence that also abounds right outside our doors.
As I hiked in my beloved Rocky Mountains today I entered the trail quietly, with respect, reverence, and affinity. Every rock, blade of alpine grass, swaying Ponderosa pine, chirping squirrel, cawing crow, and whistling wind spoke to me those divine words uttered by Brahma – tat tvam asi. I didn’t begin my journey as a hiker, an explorer, a naturalist, a tourist, or a lover of nature. I began my journey today as all those things and more. I held my breath and my judgment of those things surrounding me as separate from me, and I entered a whole other interconnected world of love, devotion, and surrender to my earth:
“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.” RM Rilke
When driving home this evening, I came to the conclusion that life is wise – is the very definition of wise – and it doesn’t create or destroy on a whim, caprice, or selfish motive. A virus is an organism, billions of years old, with which we share this world. It is neither evil or good…it is…life. Coronavirus didn’t evolve to kill humans. It evolved because it represents, manifests the same life force that we do. Prana, chi, orgone, call it what you may, it is as much a legitimate resident on this earth as the plump ripe cherry, pregnant sea turtle, blooming orchid, great white shark, and playful macaque monkey- tat tvam asi. I realized my ego was judging this virus as an enemy, something alien and intrusive, rather than just another manifestation of life. When I consider the billions of bacteria and fungi and other similar organisms that live within me right now – 63% of me! – and are cooperating with my body to keep me alive and healthy, I have no right to single out one organism over another as enemy, rather than friend. Tat tvam asi. Yes, I may contract the virus, get sick, and perhaps even die. But isn’t that as much “life” as all the other manifestations I mentioned? As Falstaff declares in Henry IV: “We all owe God a death.” Yet, we owe that same God, equally, a life. Our life. Whatever we desire to make of it…today, tomorrow, next month, 10 years from now. Every breath, every glance, every complex gesture of our fingers and toes, every smile, every frown, every physical or emotional pain, every shudder of delight and ecstasy, are all ours to live in this moment of being. Pure. Without judgement. As if they were both our first…and our last.
I remember reading about a great zen master who died. At his memorial service, someone read the master’s last thoughts to his followers. At the end of the service, the reader asked a friend if the followers were actually listening to what the master wished to express, hoped that they would hear. The friend replied: “They were listening like deer in the forest, as if their lives depended on it.”
As wise Shraddha has implored us, I will take care of every thought, word, and action to heal the world and soften the suffering.
I will be listening from now on…and speaking…and writing…and singing…and dancing…and cooking…and hiking…as if LIFE depended on it. My life, Your life. Our life. Life. Tat tvam asi.
As you go into your silence, brother Dinesh, you can take these words of the poet Rilke with you:
“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”
We will be here, waiting, to welcome you back as if you had never left – which will be the case, anyway, since you will be perpetually present in our hearts and minds.
I love you both – Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.