Karl Brulloff. Italian Woman Heavy with a Child Examining a Shirt and her Husband Making a Cradle. 1831. Watercolour on cardboard.
Let us dig our gardens and not be elsewhere;
Let us take long walks in the open air...
Let us bathe in the rivers and lakes...
Let us indulge in games...
Let us be more simple: simple and true in our gestures, in our words, and simple and true in our minds above all. Let us be ourselves.
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you should begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
---Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don't ask if I've ceased my wanderings;
already I've trampled all over the south.
Understanding should be what you yourself understand.
Mind is not someone else's mind.
There is a great benefit in writing...and it's not just another chance to tell people what to do. It's not even to inform friends and relations what you've been up to. The gift of writing your words is in the opportunity to collect your thoughts and work on them thus. Maybe you'll share it, maybe you won't. Here, in this writing, I will be heartfelt.
Presently my family is enjoying the presence in our home of the lady our son has chosen totally. And she has chosen him. They have been friends throughout their schooling in this town, and in recent years discovered their feelings were true love. They felt even more freedom together in that realization, and became joyfully radiant in celebration. Everyone around them knew it to be so and benefitted in their presence. Jeroch and Karen are a couple and you can see it strongly.
A few months ago a child decided to be born out of them, and Karen carries her now to fruition in December. They have a charming house chosen for this beginning, and they await final preparations for them to move in...probably next month. In the new style of American youth---that some elders are tempted to call cart-before-the-horse---they haven't gotten around to the stupendous wedding occasion that is sure to come. For one thing, her older sister also is getting married, and Karen is deferring to her in mutual agreement to have the first wedding. And who's to say the horse can't be in the back, pushing or something?
Jeroch is spending most of the summer in an internship at the esteemed Omega Institute for Holistic Studies http://www.eomega.org/ . He's been emailing people throughout his experience about the amazing people and great sages he has met. It is clear he is growing in every direction. Karen had spent a month in Mexico earlier in the summer, receiving certification in an advanced yoga discipline. Together they are preparing for this birth, marriage and family in a most unique and individual way. Jeroch was here during the last week, and it was wonderful to enjoy their company in our home until he flew back to Rhinebeck Friday.
In the autumn and continuing, they may be able share these new skills with others as there is great interest in these things in this community of Athens. But they will support themselves simply, as Karen's university degree qualifies her for substitute teaching at this point, and Jeroch works in the managing of Crumb's Bakery, a business with rapidly expanding distribution.
For Jeroch's mom, his younger sister, and me, the challenge is to watch and participate in all this---hmmm, how shall I put it?---without worrying too much. I suppose families normally worry about each other, but the gracefulness of this caring mustn't become a burden for the loved one. I'm discovering it's hard to do. I never thought there was any special skill you had to learn to become a grandparent, but...as with the rest of life...HELLO.
When your child is in the house, you tend to do all this teaching and regulating stuff. You've only got a dozen years or so to get it all packed in there---all the traditions, the rights and wrongs, the skills, the healthy lifestyle, the work and the fun. And at some point, the kid starts wanting to do it his way and not necessarily yours...and the tension about freedom surfaces bigtime. Then the child goes, and there's this period when father and son are just these 2 guys looking across at each other. Did it end up you can be friends or are there still tensions from the battles?
I guess the grandparent time is when I get to sit down and do the learning. Perhaps there are families out there in America in the 21st Century where the children proceed to do everything they learned at home...and just live it out the same way the family did, and maybe the generations before them. But I didn't do that and I don't think my wife did either...but not as radically as I had to do things my own way. I'm sure my parents laid awake nights worrying about me, but when they let slip that they did I didn't want to hear about it. Now it's my turn.
How many problems can Dana, Ilona, and I think up that might befall these 2 angels---soon to be 3? How anxious can we become about preparing them for the unexpected pitfalls? We mustn't spread such nervousness. We need to sit quietly, we need the silent strength within, we need to pray, we need to have and show faith. There is great work and growth in grandparenting. And isn't it great if you have a kindly aunt who actually cares about and spends time with you? This has been a huge summer!
May I conclude with a section of Jeroch's writing he sent out onto the Internet a couple weeks ago? Here he is talking about something called Retreat Week...and a meditation master whom he met, and it appears what Jeroch has to tell me is just what I need to hear~~~
Adyashanti is a teacher of one of the silent retreats. "Adyashanti is a dynamic and inspiring spiritual teacher who lives an ordinary life while demonstrating an extraordinary gift for transmitting a simple truth: liberation is the birthright of us all. His teachings have been compared to those of the early Zen masters and Advaita Vedanta sages. Over the last 10 years of Adyashanti’s teaching, his sangha (spiritual community) has grown to several thousand students worldwide, and he has published three books of his teachings: The Impact of Awakening, My Secret is Silence, and Emptiness Dancing." It just so happens that the day I chose to be silent, Adyashanti was giving a staff lecture hour. These staff hours are a tremendous blessing. It is always very personal, intimate and there are always moments of deep reflection. Adyashanti is a bright, shining light of a being. He radiates a simple truth. That inner silence leads to deep realization. I think almost the entire staff attended the discussion, it was packed. Many of the other staff members had also taken vows to remain silent. We had the opportunity to ask questions of him, so I took my pen and wrote down something I had thought of that had left me very curious. After two very emotional questions that he offered extensive teachings on, he said we had time for one more. I rose my hand and to my delight he chose me. I walked up to the front of the theater and handed him my inquiry. He read it. And then read it again. And smiled. And I smiled. And a moment of infinite love passed. He spoke into the microphone and read it aloud. " I love silence, love it! But isn't silence an illusion? Everywhere I go I hear my heartbeat." I will paraphase his answer. " All is silence. Reality is an Explosion of silence. When one has the capabilty to be silent inwardly, then one will be able to hear the truth. The truth cannot be spoken, cannot be summed up through words. Your heart beat, the wind blowing in the trees" He waved his hands above his head like the wind. "This is the explosion of silence." We bowed deeply to each other for his answer had filled my heart with joy. And for the rest of the day I enjoyed the explosions of silence. I learned much from my day in silence. Much that cannot be put into words, yet. Mostly I learned how important it is that we communicate our inner most feelings. Letting out that which is at the center of our souls. The Love at the center of our being. I have only a few more days here at Omega and am taking the time to enjoy every moment of it. I hope that all of you are having wonderful experiences living the lives that you love. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, peace and harmony through cooperation. Jeroch