Friday, July 28, 2006

28 July

Today’s date, 28 July, and this combination of numbers, 28 & 7, are mnemonics of conscience for me.

They connote loss, as opposed to possession, and sacrifice, as opposed to indulgence.

This day, several years ago, was a very sad one for me, full of grief, pain and darkness. And I had brought all this on myself, with my desire, craving and grasping, despite knowing everything.

Ravaged and devastated with intimations of loss as I woke up that day, I willed everything I cherished to be taken away from me, and accepted living with that loss.

But I could not bear the pain. I wrestled with it, and sobbed and wept – and before the day ended, I found solace and I saw light. It was not rage or vanity but trust, compassion and love that brought light.

Through my folly, I had been haunted by some lines from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. After I emerged from my ordeal of 28 July, I still did not learn. And hence the teaching of this date, on transcending craving and embracing sacrifice, had to be grievously re-learnt anew. Now I can understand and accept Gibran, when he tells us:

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Our moments of extreme helplessness are the very moments we are actually lifted to the bosom of Life, and our experience of pain is actually the searing heat of that protective embrace. Dispossession and loss also bring safe deliverance.

Picture: Untitled Grief, by Shane Moore

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