Other than hearing the sound of the springtime winds howling through the desert canyons, I realized how extremely quiet our house was when I woke up this morning - a far cry from the past week when the house was filled with the sounds of our family here visiting, including the sounds of gurgling and giggling made by our little baby grandson. It was a wonderful time together as we went on little excursions, played with the baby, sat in restaurants and at our family dinner table sharing our reminiscences. It sure did seem quite this morning.
Yesterday after we said our tearful goodbyes at the airport, I realized that I was no longer the same person as I had been before they all came to visit. It also struck me that this is what happens whenever any of us encounters one another, that’s the way our humanity works- in every contact we have with anyone, to some degree we are always changed, fashioned into a newer, different person.
This morning as the the sounds of silence lingered in our house, I walked into our dining room and sat quietly touching the wooden table that we have had in our family for over 30 years, and suddenly I was overcome by a powerful sense of “relationship.” I thought about the hundreds of people who had sat around that table over the many past years- my spouse, our kids and now my grandson. I thought about all the meals shared with friends and acquaintances - strangers and sometimes even enemies also sat around that table. We shared times of joy and sorrow, pain and frustration, even times of confrontation and disagreement. Over the years we had wept together, laughed together, lamented together and sometimes even argued together while sitting there at that table.
This morning as I touched the table, I wondered if some of the very DNA of all those many people who had been at the table in the past might have somehow rubbed off and clung to some crevice or crack in the wood? In a sense, while I was all alone in the room, all the people of my life were sitting there at the table with me. Over the years we had all contributed something of our “self” and become someone new when it was time to leave.
Every time we say hello we are different by the time we say goodbye.
I so very much subscribe to the wisdom of the Buddha who teaches that the very idea of a separated “ego” is nothing but a “delusion.” Our “true self” is our relationship with all other beings. We are one another.
There is a Zen saying:
The true person is not anyone in particular but
like the deep blue color of the limitless sky,
the true person is everyone, everyone in the world
I am also reminded of a line from the Sufi poet, Rumi:
They say there is a window from one heart to another,
but how can there be a window where there are no walls
I miss my family being here in this house, especially my baby grandson; but they are still here with me and I am with them because we are one another.