Friday, April 6, 2012
One of my favorite things to do is to sit with my elderly father who has Alzheimers. It's a beautiful thing just to sit a place of profound not-knowing with him, a place where I do not know what to say or do. I sit, without expectation, without trying to 'fix' him, or manipulate his experience in any way. I just listen, without trying to make things better in the moment, without playing the role of 'the one who knows'. As consciousness, I am simply available to him. I don't need to 'know' anything in this place, for we are each other. I simply cannot tell who is the one with memory loss.
And here, I notice a deep and profound acceptance of any wave of frustration or sadness that appears in the ocean of experience. His pain, my pain, there is no difference at all.
And this seems to me to be what true relationship is at its very core - meeting, really meeting in the moment, without hope, without a future, without expectation, without a story. Coming face to face with yourself. Nobody meeting nobody.
I love what Nisargadatta Maharaj says:
"With the dissolution of the personal 'I',
personal suffering disappears."
But crucially, he also adds:
"What remains is the great sadness of compassion".
Yes, the absence of 'I' is not cold detachment and neo-Advaita world-rejection,
but intimacy of the most unspeakable kind.
Thanks, Dad, for keeping me grounded."
~ Jeff Foster
from his newsletter: Life Without a Centre
art by picasso