Aging, awareness, Beauty, Bible, Buddhism, Buddhist Psychology, Change, Christian Theology, Compassion, Death & Dying, depression, Desperado, Eagles, Eldering and Saging, Friendships, Mindfulness, relationships
I was walking with a friend, a fellow I met a few years back some of you might remember him as The Preacher and he used to be a man of reckoning. But that was in the past before he got caught by the devil who tossed him into the belly of a dark space to undergo an archetypal Jonah experience from which he has never quite recovered. Having failed to confront the energies that placed him in that ordeal to begin with he has been drained of resources and the will to live. It’s just a matter of treading water until he goes down. The Preacher brought his dog and I my camera and we walked among the grave stones and the autumn trees ablaze in color and then as photographers are most apt to do, and circumstances force friendships to change, our paths drifted apart.
I wandered around in wonderment delighting in the light spotting moments when the beams touchdown gently illuminating just a few right spots and was reminded of my own “nana” who once upon a time taught me to love quiet places and how to perceive the love in those spaces. Who taught me the importance of having passion and allowing the love of beauty to shine in.
I caught up with my friend as he was basking in the sun with his dog on a hilltop. The grass was green and we both laid down as if once more we were young lads sharing secrets and we laughed and talked and smelled the still growing-ness of the Autumn grasses up in the cemetery where the dead people go. He spoke as he does of the narrowing down of life as he experiences it. Choices made long ago seem now to have not been wise ones and as the time in his life winds down his options of how to live dwindle…..I was struck as much by the contrast of our lives as I was by the bright orange Maples and golden Willows against Colorado blue sky and shadowed and blackened Junipers. “I still experience beauty Robert,” he said, “I just don’t receive joy from it,” he said.
I nodded, the path my friend has chosen to walk is a joyless and lonely one. I see his steps etched on his face, the roads taken away from commitment to the town that sheltered him, and away from relationships never allowed to blossom or die of their own, and there is depression that has haunted him going on 30 years now. A depressive mind state that he cannot shake and cannot seem to find a moments rest from and it robs him of the ability to experience pleasure, for him to allow himself to notice happiness. His, is a life lived intelligently, and without the tools that mindful awareness brings. My friend has stumbled along all his life and now he is caught up in quicksand. His mind moves but never changes he cannot or will not turn and face his demons. He knows all the answers and refuses to test any of them.
As we sat in the warm sun, the dog stretched out offering its belly for a rub, I saw that my friend will not be able to share with me the steps that lie ahead as I age and quicken on the journey into eldering and mentoring and perhaps, who knows, even being a sage now and then. My friend, being stuck in the past or lost in the self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling nightmare streams of thought that suck him into the future, leaves him no place to rest and no place to call home…and a person needs a home to call their own if only that home is the loving and compassionate sheltering of their own heart. My friend cannot see the beauty of his own heart and without that his life is even more diminished…….it is as he is simply counting days until no more days are left to count.He is truly homeless now and I am convinced that this is because for reasons unknown, for karma unexplained, he has not learned to love…..I believe he believes love isn’t in the cards for him and that in the end, just as he thought, “the queen of diamonds let him down she was just an empty fable….” My friend is desperate and I understand he cannot journey with me as I hoped would happen and sadness arises and tomorrow, so will the sun and like flowers our lives fold and unfold countless times during a season and like leaves, we float away when it is our time.