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My wife awoke to the news of yet one more family member on life support waiting to die and woke me to the news as well.  Those notes set a tone and a wall of silence soon separated us.  Quietly, we went about our Sunday rituals of salad at the Oasis, filling the water bottles, buying newspapers and food.  Much time was spent in the car, my eyes on the road and her’s off to the side, gazing out the window at the countryside.  Some how or another I had the good sense to keep quiet….To allow this space of non-talking to simply exist between us, holding it.  We held hands and walked from the car to the store but otherwise we did not speak – we maintained silence averting our eyes holding our thoughts choosing to maintain this space that held us.  (It was uncomfortable for some time and very obviously different for both of us – to hold and to maintain the space of silence enfolding us….and let that be.

In days not so far away and sure as shooting, one of us, either skillfully or clumsily would have said something to initiate or provoke speech.  Today, she didn’t initiate and I didn’t provoke. We let it be.  It wasn’t fun.  It wasn’t angry and it wasn’t personal.  It was just silence and a  sense of being OK with that with each other and simply allowing each that space and trusting.

There is a practice called Noble Silence.  I have learned of it through my immersion into Buddhist spirituality.  I am sure it is not limited to Buddhism but for me, the Buddhist observation “that all things are impermanent” combined with experience that confirms the truth that  “all things pass” was enough to provide steadiness and promote patience between us rather than an argument instead.  The day passed,  the silence held us, eventually the need for distance eased up a bit.  The dog benefited with long walks and much play time.

We shared the wonder, the beauty, the amazement of the intricacies and interlacing of life as portrayed in the National Geo show:  Cosmos.  We shared the experience of being  moved and supported within our beliefs,  of the intimate interconnection of all living beings……the intertwining of molecules and volcanoes,  of strands of DNA and branches of a mighty Oak tree, of the inexplicable and inexpressible miracle of life.  We are all a universe within Universes, We are “stardust,” Crosby, Stills, and Nash reminded us years ago and why, why, why do we keep forgetting?   Some might say “sin” for me, it’s getting lost in ego, swept up in self-supporting stories that keep one asleep and lost in dream land.  No sin just a waste of time and opportunity.

In my community we end with a Dedication of Merit where we declare our intention for all living things to be free from suffering, free from from pain, and be held in loving kindness and compassion.  There are other ways of saying similar things ” Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” comes to mind also.  I believe there are as many ways to say thank you for this gift of life as there are tears in our eyes….each eye unlike any other in all the universe.  Makes me think we are the eye’s of God (however one understands that concept), that we are drops of candle light each a hologram of the whole…..that with which we seek God is that with which we are what we seek.  God told Moses:  “I Am that I Am.”  The only way we can see ourselves is reflected / mirrored in the world / in the eyes of another.  There is cosmic humor after all.

Afterwards, my partner and I opened a little book we take turns reading nightly. It is called “The Sage’s Tao Te Ching,” by William Martin.

“Age brings a gentle humility to life.  No longer defensive and afraid, we can move easily through the day.  Mistakes no longer immobilize us but merely deepen our wisdom with the hopeful message, There is always more to learn.  The mind of the expert is narrowly trained.  The mind of the sage is opening wide.  We are not becoming experts. We are just finally becoming good students. There are so many wonders yet to see. Don’t waste today on reinforcing your views and opinions.  Learn something wholly new about your spouse, your child, your friend, your world.”  When she finished reading, for the first time this day, we dared look into each others eyes and remember who we are and awaken with a simple smile.

I wonder what I might learn about my spouse, about my friend, about the child within and about the world tomorrow?