No Self


Dear Maya,

I wanted to be close to you when I wrote to you, today of all days.  “Close to you”.  That is a strange idea now.  Close to what is left of you?

I wanted to tell you about me today, about my path, my work.  You see Maya, you were so very with me today.  So here I sit at your graveside, telling you a story.  A story about you, and me.  As always, a story about us. But it is not a reminiscence from the past, or sadness about the lost future.  It is about us now, in this precious moment, in our now.

Today I was thinking about the “self”, and what an illusion that really is.  I spent the weekend away, learning.  Learning about selflessness, serving others, and the reality that there really is no separate “self”.  Throughout the weekend you were with me as I grappled, questioned, reasoned.  You were with me when I realized that indeed, you had annihilated your bodily self, but had done nothing to diminish your ephemeral self.  You were with me when I realized that our connection is as strong now as it ever was.  And you were with me when I felt you by my side in the shrine, teasing me as usual, lending me a healthy dose of perspective, of humility.  You see Maya,  you keep me humble. That is your gift today. One of your gifts.

I did not weep today Maya.  That is what you wanted, remember?  You said “have fun without me here.”  I feel your love and I feel so connected.  I miss your physical presence, that version of self, deeply.  But the other self never left.  It was hidden for a while, but not any longer.

Today I began the process of abandoning  my self, Maya.  But not the way you did.  I let go of my sense of self, my sense of me, my sense of other.  I never understood that the way I do now.  It is your legacy, you see.  On October 2 the wall between me and other was demolished.  The sense of isolation and uniqueness was blasted away.  In one fell swoop you destroyed my ego, Maya, my conception of who and what I was, my sense of self, my identity, all of it.  Nothing was spared, Maya.  Nothing.  And I am rebuilding.  Rebuilding on what is a sounder foundation.  A foundation built on age old truths, on practical wisdom, sage counsel.  

Oh Maya, the gift of this path we are on is huge.  Of course, I would still rather have you here, in the body, to tickle, chase carry and bother.  But that is not my choice.  It never was, my ideas notwithstanding, it never was. I can only choose how to respond to what has happened.  And I am choosing a path that will honor you, Maya.  A path that will build a legacy on all that you believed, but could not embody in your short time with us.  A path with heart, steadfastness, and love.

I love you and miss you Maya, and I am deeply grateful to you, more than ever.



3 thoughts on “No Self

  1. Thank you, Mathew. You are blessing me with your insights, and I am forever appreciative.
    Rabbi Jonathan

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