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April 08, 2008


I completely relate to his last statement.

And I have to say, I would have "liberated" the book, too.

I think he's staying alive simply to tell you (and/or recount to himself) every single thing he wants to divulge before he goes!

These are wonderful stories, Beth. Juicy stories with lots of chasms.

Fascinating. I agree about the tragedy, but I suspect when you're facing the end of your own world, other people's tragedies don't mean as much.

(I cannot approve of "liberating" library books. It's way too selfish.)

Kaycie, I'm surprised he's asking himself this now; I thought he was sure of the answer (If I were answering for him I'd say "no," but maybe in his world of reasoning he'd say "yes.")

Leslee, actually I think it has nothing to do with me, personally, but he is clearly voicing things he's trying to come to terms with - when he's done maybe he'll let go.

Pica, thanks for enjoying the stories... and their holes.

LH: Probably exactly right. And I don't approve either!!

Being privy to some of the wealth of material your FIL has provided you with in recent days, I am most impressed with the "choices" you made in writing this installment.

Two comments:
First, Beth you have such a capacity to sit with him in silence and allow him to go deeper.

Second, I have to wonder about Bonhoeffer (and all of us) keeping our intellects in gear. In the last few years I am seeing how I turn my intellect on when I need to protect myself from the full impact of feeling.

My Zen(?)teacher speaks of "dancing on the Void" - avoiding full transcendence by avoiding feeling. I have been watching how I do that with my intellect. I kind of view it now as "cheating" on my next bit of spiritual work.

But, it doesn't seem like either you or your father-in-law are cheating for a moment ... Perhaps this is just an illustration of the different paths to knowing. I would welcome other's comments on this.

OK- apologies for length... this whole series you're presenting really moves me.

Someone very dear to me stole a book from a library, it was Meister Eckhart's sermons the volume was long out of print and unobtainable (pre-internet), he wanted it so much. It was completely out of character, I was astonished. He wept when he told me, which was after he'd secreted the book back into the library! Happily it came back into print and he now has his own copy.

I sympathise when you say he's never quite so interested in your stories as his own, but I suppose that's as it must be...

Thanks again Beth. I liked the last post too.

Dave, yeah...it wasn't easy to "choose." I've got notes on a great deal more material and some of it will definitely eventually make it into the manuscript. When families and living people are involved, it's so hard to know what to write, and what to leave out.

Pat - I agree about using one's intellect as a protective device and think we all do it, perhaps even especially those of us who are drawn to Zen. And in difficult situations, we need our capacity to reason! I'm such an empathizer that I know I feel and absorb too much sometimes, but that edge your teacher talks about is, I think, the porous and scary-feeling place where we learn the most about non-separation and "I AM" as opposed to "i am." Your comment has made me think, and I want to continue to muse on this before writing much more - maybe I'll try to discuss this in a post and see if we can get some additional comments from readers. I'd like to hear more from you about this.

Lucy - thanks for sharing this story, and its very human ending. Desire is so strong sometimes; it's like we go a little crazy. I wonder what Meister Eckart would have said - I doubt he would have been very judgmental.

Fascinating bedside philosophical dialogue.

wonderful writing!

birth and death, so spiritualising, so numinous.

i watched my 3 children born at home, i watched my mother die.

right there with the absolute peak experiences of my life.

now i am a massage therapist, and work with clients in their 90's sometimes, trembling on the brink...

one foot in, one out. such a fine line, to give them peace without over inviting them back into the world of the senses, helping them let it go.

what i find most fascinating is the character unspooling, the essence emerging as the rings of conditioning, the mental superstructure disassembles itself with the same quirky individuality with which is was built.

i love also how, just as with newborns, the non-, or better termed para-verbal kicks in, and the silence becomes so pregnant with meaning and love, that it seems like the ceiling will fly off, there's so much reality in the room.

thankyou for sharing this unbelievably poignant discussion with us.

it really hits my sweet spot. bookmarked!

When the time comes and for long after, these commentaries will be so valuable a resource.

Yes, what Dick said. My ceiling's close to flight just sitting here.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.