Not to Mourn when we Have to Part

This is from a meeting with Mr Adie on Wednesday 9 November 1983.

Part One

“Mr Adie?” Robert asked. “Since the news about my father on Sunday, I’ve tried – ”

Mr Adie interrupted to explain to the group: “He received news that his father died.” It was a principle that everyone in the group should understand what was being discussed.

I’ve tried to have a place inside where, somehow, I can somehow be open in a way – I don’t really understand,” continued Robert. “But I feel the need to somehow make contact or allow the influence of that to affect me. And I’ve tried every night and morning just to spend a little longer in my preparation, to realise what it means, what it can mean for me, and how to be.”

“What does it mean?” queried Mr Adie.

“What is the relationship? You are not your father. You are one of his children. But he lives in you. He is, as is said, “dead”, but he lives in you, to the extent that you are consciously remembering, and even subconsciously.”

“So he lives in you – when you are alive. It can’t be denied,” Adie continued.

“And, in a way, like all dead people, he lives in everything he contacted. That influence never ceases. It’s a rather terrifying thought, because not all our actions are so beautiful.”

“So your duty, being-duty there, in that regard, begins to have another aspect, doesn’t it? If you could repair the past in regard to that … what a work that would be!”

“What otherwise is life? His body is one thing, whether it’s been cremated or buried, but his life is all the influences that he has received and that he’s emanated and radiated. So you are very intimately involved there.”

“It gives us a glimpse the mystery of heredity, of the operation of the genes, how far one son can be like the father, and other children can be unlike their father. If nothing else, there is evidence that the influence goes on in the genes. But there is more than that. They live even more in their influences and example.”

“So people don’t die, you see. In a way, they don’t die as other people think they die. This is why it is so vital for people for people who have lived together and had a happy life or a good life together, that they don’t mourn and be negative when they have to part. Certainly they are going to feel it and suffer, but there is life. Even the suffering can remind them that there is still life and connection.”

“And this kind of contemplation or thought or feeling of influence doesn’t correspond to my ordinary everyday ideas at all. It has a special quality​.”

Part Two

That Mr Adie did not dwell on his thoughts does not rob of them of their depth. He was saying that those we have known live on in us, even when are not conscious of the fact. There is not much to be said about it, perhaps, but time can be spent digesting it.

He was suggesting, perhaps, that rather than dwell on the past, we try and to be present to its influence, and so to raise it to a higher level. For instance, if the manifestations of my parents hurt me, my work might be not to identify with the hurt, but to see that they were asleep, and to myself awaken, at least in that respect, so that my experience enriches rather than depresses me. I tend to think that compassion for others and for oneself go together: at times, it is easier to come to one rather than the other, but any gain in one direction will have some result in the other, and for a rounded development, both are necessary.

There is no contradiction between saying that the influence of those who have died is with always with us, and that it is there only when we are conscious: when we are conscious, their influence is of a radically different kind from what it when we are asleep. It is the difference between bearing a weight and engagement. That is, if I am unconsciously subject to the influence, then it is conducting the passive or negative force. It takes me down. But if I am conscious to it, then it conducts the active or positive force, it delivers just the material I need. It even brings a real joy that I am repairing the past, and so working for those whom I knew.

From this perspective, then, mourning, as opposed to grief, is to turn the influence of the deceased into something negative.

Joseph Azize, revised 13 November 2017

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