Zen Spot #272 - Mindfulness, meditation and a final apology to the child long gone December 3, 2019 00:00

Comes a time

My mind’s eye is a powerful piece of technology. My mind is a a leaking spacesuit. I’m sure every spacesuit leaks. Yours, mine, that guy I just saw chasing a chicken across the rainbow crosswalk not far from the Bezos’ Balls. I’m in Seattle.

On a seven day trip to see my son, two days past I crossed a line I should probably have crossed five years ago. The line? My children must be let go to live their lives as they see fit. 

Perhaps every parent understands this necessity. Perhaps not. My concern is that my children are not prepared — expressly because of my failures as a parent, but I must let them go nonetheless. 

The pain is excruciating. I’ve earned it. The pain must be let go of as well. Simply writing that last sentence is a punch in my face with my own fist. To understand that self flagellation is an expression of ego, and an appropriate result of cause and effect, and the sum total of dogmatic crap, and the doorway to the next part of my life is, at once, confronting an astonishingly complex matrix and a astonishingly simple choice. The shape of the pinhole in the leaky spacesuit counts.

The monster

In particular, I’ve gifted them with a monster of the mind. It writes well. It is writing this essay. It’s an asshole that I’ve learned to live with, but the swath of wreckage it has left in its wake is staggering. The fucker showed up on my doorstep when I was nineteen and never left. I know its weak spots and have and have to wrestled it into submission periodically. The monster’s children are an awful gift to my children. 

That said, the monster doesn’t account for some phenomenon. And I’ve shown my children how to deal with it. I’ve had success in learning to manage its fury — and they’ve witnessed the success. They’ve chosen to ignore the growth in a manner that benefits them, and now I must let them go out into the jungle.

I’m sending you out with anger — mine and yours.

Each

Child #1
You are my spitting image. A pothead savant, I am not. You are. Your compassion is almost limitless, except for me. That said, your lies are so profound and subtle — at least those you tell me — that I’m not sure guilt can bridge the gap across the span of the liar’s bell curve. Ninety-six percent of the population resides in the middle of the curve. Perhaps you don’t lie to ninety-six percent of the population, which would make you more honest than almost anybody I know. You are my paradox cilice. 
Among the most revolting is the lie about the respect you say I’ve earned. Perhaps you can see into my soul. Perhaps I can see into yours. If you respected me, you would either to tell me to go fuck myself or simply say hello once in awhile.
You learned to shave on your own. I lost you long before your need to learn to shave — to your lying. Your contempt for education will be overcome, or not. If not, the rattlesnake will bite you at the moment you are most vulnerable. Maybe I will be able to help. 
I hope I will be able to help. Life requires shaving lessons until the day we die. 
Child #2
The child I would most want on my side in a fistfight, your brothers, each of them quite tough, are pansies in comparison. Your fury knows only the limits of the lining of your soul’s stomach. The knowledge of having passed my disease on to you is almost as bad as having to watch the disease eat you— but I’ve shown you how to chain the monster to a radiator. I’ve walked the walk. You choose the rage for which I am responsible over the stability I have tried to teach. 
While I expect this essay to tap into a place of rage for each of my children, the combination of manipulative faux confusion and understated bile that will be blasted toward my ghost, after I leave the room, is fueled by a profound contempt — for me, for you, for your mother and god knows who else. Perhaps I’ve shone a light on the sculpture that is you. Perhaps I half-carved the sculpture. We each have sculptures that have been half-carved for us. In a metaphorical twist, you can un-carve my contributions, and actually add back the marble that was chipped away, by embracing enough love for yourself to get help. 
Learn. Or, in the event that I am wrong, go forth and enjoy your life in the way your mother and I want for you. Be assured, the monster always finds a way to pick the lock that chains it to the radiator. Spend your life running or beat the shit out of the monster every once in a while.
You can.
Child #3
Your spacesuit leaks a bit — only a bit, but more than you reveal. Get the hole fixed and you’ll be fine. You understand the ugliness of life and you understand its beauty. Yin and Yang. 
Respect the monster. It can’t be reasoned with and, one way or another, you’ll eventually have to chain it to the radiator — for you or someone you love. No beauty or lesson will be found. Just scars. Be careful.

Truth

My words may appear harsh, with only anger at their core. Accompanying the anger is unconditional love. As your father, it’s not my job to always tell you what you want to hear; it’s my job to mostly tell you what you don’t want to hear and then encourage you with boundless love.

I’ve written my truth.

A final apology

I am truly sorry for any choices and behavior that hurt each of you. The list is long. To be sure, many of the things for which I seek forgiveness you’ve forgotten. 

It’s been ten years. Many of the things for which I need to be forgiven, I’ve forgotten. Further discussion and analysis takes valuable time that should be focused on creating happiness in the rest of our lives — together hopefully, apart if necessary.

I love you unconditionally. Through my anger. I hope you can return the same.

I forgive myself.

A hopeful hello

I want you in my life. I hope you call to say hello. 

Dad

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Postscript:

Anger expressed appropriately is healthy. Anger expressed publicly needs to be tempered. My anger, as expressed here, un-carves the sculpture with my truth. Perhaps it is the monster’s truth. Among the greatest mistakes of my life have been the words I have written. Fury will likely follow. If it doesn’t, a greater truth will be rendered — the truth I seek, the truth I never want to see. The fury will die eventually. Apathy is eternal.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?