Smoke in a Sunbeam

Finn had this line he’d keep on quoting, an Alan Watts bit. He’d go ‘Hey, K.? HEY, K.? HEY! You know when you blow smoke into the sky in front of you and you see a cloud of some in the sunbeam? It’s full of whorls and designs and magic and all kinds of marvelous things are going on right in front of you, and then slowly it disappears. Well everything’s just like that.’

Finn really did believe that. Now that I think back on it, it kills me that he did. His eyes would light up at the ethereality of this huge, vast awakened thing the others would try to box up and call life. And he’d confidently say you can make two things out of this gift of life that’s given you. One, you could curl up and pretend to be a slug and refuse to feel anything, saying ‘everything’s going to go away anyway, we’re all going to die, I don’t want to feel hurt so let’s risk-proof the goddamn thing and not get too involved’. Two, you could blow up with the sheer joy of the thing. ‘We’re all going to die — WOWEE!!’

That’s how Finn saw it. Wowee. Or at least that’s how I think he did. He really did enjoy the whole impermanence of this big thing, he really did. His favourite one was this story he’d made up about a vase. He’d say love for any person or thing was like loving a delicate vase. It’d Be there, in space and time. You could sit with it, enjoy it, breathe it, see it, feel its beauty; truly love it. But if you try to hold on to it too hard it’ll break. And so he’d say that in all things in life we must have the lightest of grips. Don’t hold on, he’d say. Let go, and observe the beauty of the thing.

Well, now he’s gone and I’m here scratching my head thinking why he didn’t think exactly this at that last moment. Didn’t he see that in himself? Was it too hard? Did he see the demon on him, like unruly lint? I wonder. It’s been nearly ten years since he’s been gone but I still wonder.

He’d always call it a dance. Life. He’d jump and jig about like a possessed clown ballerina telling everyone to join in. ‘MAKE IT A PART OF THE DANCE!’ he’d say, of almost anything. And even better, he’d keep on dancing even if we were sulking and not in the mood. He’d sidestep away, jigging this way and that. He’d keep on dancing. Why isn’t he still dancing? It kills me that he isn’t still dancing.

Maybe he was trying to teach me something with all those speeches about love and acceptance and Being, just as we Are. I tried to hold on to him too tight. Like that wisp of smoke whorling in the sunbeam I lost him the moment I thought he was mine and tried to grab hold of the beauty that I saw. He was never mine to have. We were just two points of awareness, twin flames, opening our Being to each other like soulmates would. I didn’t see that then. I tried to hold on, I destroyed his beauty, I strangled his Becoming. And now he Is no longer.

Here and now, with his help and a decade too late, I see that I was trying to hold on to something that wasn’t really mine. I feared losing him. I was attached to Finn. He’d often quote his favourite, Alan Watts, and say that ‘if you fear losing something, it isn’t really worth having’ and I now feel this to be true. By holding on to him I was living with an attachment, that Parasite of the Now. My Now was an ignorance of its beauty. I wasn’t simply sitting with Finn like he told me to. I wasn’t breathing him, seeing him, feeling his beauty, like he said I must with that vase.

Listen to Finn. Listen to him. He’s the source of goodness, beauty and kindness within you. Let go of him and love him like you’d love a beautiful sakura tree, basking in a maple ray of morning sun shedding in the steady breeze. Love this short sweet life, without attachment. Then you’ll continue to Be, and go on loving and rising in love with each other.

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