Death of a loved one disturbs the relationships that sustain a person’s sense of ‘identity’ and the high level of binding and cathexis concentrated on the person who is lost is suddenly disrupted . . . there is a close link between the doctrines of egolessness and suffering.
De Silva, Padmasiri. An Introduction to Buddhist Psychology. Landam, MD, 2000.
Through this lens of Buddhist thought, I begin to feel a crumbling of a child’s self with an understanding of how my father’s absolute and final absence from our lives disrupted the multiple relationships between my father, mother, sister, and me. Besides the sudden severing of the identity I was forming via my father, the connecting emotional threads between those of us that were left, although still intact, were unknowingly stretched and pulled by our own individual fears of egolessness.
My father’s death left my mother, a young woman deaf from infancy, with two daughters and pregnant with her first son. I do not recall whose idea it was to wander outside the house early that morning as my mother slept. I can, however, imagine my young self following my older sister as if an invisible thread that tied us together tugged me along as she, with her five-year-old world view, undertook an emotional duty to find our father. Did we believe we could find him fly fishing in the creek that ran alongside the house? Or was there something about the water that enticed us into abandoning our search? I can recall to this day the cessation of anxiety and arising rapture that coincided with my surrender to the inevitable. Two young men, I am told, rescued us both from this search for our father.
Koeford, BC. A Meditative Journey with Saldage Homesickness for a place, a time, a person that cannot be
…he also is as though covered by a mist, a cloud, a darkness that hides everything he does and hides everything that takes place within him.
Trans: Ira Progoff. The Cloud of Unknowing
And ‘when I speak of darkness’ the author of The Cloud of Unknowing says, it is ‘not the kind of darkness that is in your house at night when the candle is out.’ It is a darkness of a quite different kind. ‘I am referring he says, ‘to a lack of knowing. It is a lack of knowing that includes everything you do not know or else that you have forgotten, whatever is altogether dark for you because you do not see it with your spiritual eye. And for this reason It is not called a cloud of the air, but rather a cloud of unknowing that is between you and your God.'” (IV:18)
“…Visual transmission through images speaks directly to intuition and feelings, circumventing the verbal mind. Drawings offer spaces for imagination to wander, evoking meanings too complex or subtle to know intellectually. This state of mind, in which one can receive information through images, points to one of the closest parallels between the contemplative and creative paths. Aesthetic appreciation and receptivity to spiritual teachings are both practiced with an open-ended state of mind, a state of comfortable not-knowing. We draw and meditate in heightened awareness of what is happening in the moment, opening the space for new ideas, and allowing change to happen.”
The emptiness of entityness (one of five types of emptiness discussed within Buddhist philosophy) is illustrated … with the example of a cairn and a human being. Both exist and are mutually exclusive…a cairn when viewed from a distance can easily be mistaken for a human, whereas upon closer inspection, there is nothing whatsoever that is human about a pile of stones. A human is utterly absent there. A rope mistaken for a snake would seem to be another example of the emptiness of entityness.~D. Lopez, Jr. (The Heart Sutra Explained, p54.)