Everything is constantly shifting and changing. We are just under the illusion that things stay the same. Like a river, the self is simply a flow of causes and conditions. When you try to hold onto it, it will slip through your fingers like water.
The entire cosmos is like this. Going, flowing, moving… never static. To the cosmos and the fundamental nature of existence, we are just particles among other particles mixing with each other, all together in one Spiritual Dharma body.
We never really leave each other because we are inherently eternally connected in our natures. The illusion is that we are separate individuals. So, when I have a thought of someone I’ve lost and love dearly, I close my bodily eyes, and open my spiritual eyes. My spiritual eyes move through the heart, my body, and outward….and reveal that my grandmother, my beloved Xamuel, and all others are within “me”… they are me.. we are each other. I know this may seem strange or difficult to experience, but underneath the layers we impose upon existence with our own minds lies this beautiful truth: you are not alone.
The Buddhas, Boddhisattvas, and all other enlightened beings are everywhere, in every mote of dust… in every atom.. in every multiverse contained within everything you see, hear, touch, smell, taste… there as protectors for guidance.. all participating in sublime pervasive Nirvana! Call to them as your own fundamental enlightened nature to help you enter the flow of The enlightened mind.. Amituofo .. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Mahasattva..
My grandmother to whom I was very close raised me, fed me, and loved me very much. She passed away unexpectedly last year from health issues. I continue to think of her most days and dream of her frequently. I often cry for her in my dreams. The loss of her really shook my Native family because she was our anchor, our greatest elder. She was the voice of our family with all her strength, integrity, and fierceness.
My mother continues to grieve the loss of her mother, my grandmother See’ei. When my grandmother passed away, I was in California while she was in Washington. I found out over phone that she died and couldn’t stop crying. On her behalf, I recited Buddhist sutras, mantras, and various other prayers for her journey ahead…
The year before last year, my past beloved partner, Xamuel, died while biking to me for a date at the Buddhist monastery where I used to live. He was struck by a truck about two minutes away from me. He was 34; full of life, love, wisdom, and dreams. I was so in love with him.
The day he died, we had planned to meet for falafel, fruit, veggies, and tea. I had prepared a special meal for us to have at my organic produce farm at the monastery. He was a mesoamerican farmer/gardener/seed keeper and I was so excited to show my farm to him. He never showed up that day.
I was so confused and sad. It did not make sense. Three days later, I found out from a friend who worked on the farm with me that his friend passed away and that he might not make it to the farm that day. I felt sorry for his loss.
We continued to talk about the farm, but something inside me wanted to ask him for his friend’s name. He told me his friend’s name was Xamuel. At the moment I realized that he was talking about my Xamuel, my whole reality fell apart. I had never experienced such pain before.
I grieved his loss so deeply for months. The hardest time was the first couple months. I felt like I was leaving my body because I did not want to stay on this planet anymore. In order to process my grief and help Xamuel on his journey, I recited sutras, mantras, prayers, and songs to the Buddhas, Boddhisatvas, protectors, my guru Master Hsuan Hua, and the higher nature.
I had never cried so much. Fortunately, I had the support of some friends during this time as well. I would not have made it though without their support. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas carried me through my grief. The whole community could feel my pain. They held me with their wisdom and compassion. I knew it was my spiritual job to accept guidance during that time and to try to be as patient as possible with my heart and mind.
For both my grandmother and Xamuel, I engaged in the standard 49 day after death devotional practice of Indigenous and Asian traditions. My Native ancestors like Buddhists engaged in selfless acts for the dead for weeks, months, or years after their bodily transition.
I followed in these traditions with daily vegan food offerings, giving gifts to others, donating to organizations, and as much mindful practices as possible. And, during these practices, I would shed fears and sadness that came from my mind. I transformed those thoughts into compassion, peace, and insight.
During the times I grieved the loss of these dearly beloved people, I reminded myself that everything is a test. And with this most challenging test of death can come insight and peace. Though it takes time, perseverance, self-compassion, and mindfulness, there is a true light at the end of the tunnel.
Every time I feel sadness from the loss of loved ones, I always know and feel that they are actually with me in Spirit. Don’t get me wrong, crying is great and heals, but rumination and spiraling can unnecessarily weigh one down. So, we can cry and move on to face the other mysteries and tests of our experiences.
Both my grandmother and Xamuel came to me in dreams. Xamuel expressed regret in one dream and in another he said his goodbye with love while his spiritual body floated into the universe to wherever he needed to go next.
My grandmother recently appeared in my dream. I was very sad to leave her as I usually am. She then hugged me and I felt her consciousness merge with mine into one Mind. As I transitioned into this physical body, I could still feel her in my heart and mind. Difficult to explain with words, but I know that I always carry her with me in my core nature.
Karmic Destiny. We meet people for our lessons, for a short time. Then they leave us when it is their time. This is beyond control. Everyone transitions. And, there is never perfect certainty when this will happen for ANYONE. The unexpected happens all the time when spiritual eyes are closed.
The experiences we have when we lose someone are experiences for growth. If we embrace physical death and accept it as part of life, then the insights of who we REALLY are are revealed. With gentleness, love, patience, and trust, we can all see into the unimaginable Ultimate reality…. interconnected, interpenetrating… free from suffering. All now, all together, all perfect. Mahaprajnaparamita! Rejoice in the perfection of Wisdom!