Writing about my relationship with my father honestly feels
like an impossible task. For most of my
life I viewed him as a larger than life figure.
My memories of him are biased and looking back there are things that I
wish I had the foresight to ask. He
passed away two years ago and I still feel his absence yet the memory of him
lives on with me. He left me many things.
Not so much tangible possessions, though
I have taken some of his old clothes and all his books on spirituality are
mine, but things like skills and knowledge.
Because of him I know how to plant and grow, how to farm the land, work
construction and maintain a home, how to wash dishes so there is no stains or
grease, how to pan for gold and where to look for it, how to fight and defend
myself, but of all the things he did
show me what I am finding the most useful right now is how to meditate and
clear my mind. Entering a state of a
mind without thought.
My father despite growing up in a strict Hungarian Catholic family became a devout practitioner of meditation and a follower of the teachings of Hindu and Buddhist sages. He himself learned how to meditate in his 30s at a Hindu monastery. Monastic life wasn’t really his cup of tea though, and he returned to the world. He would say that the head monks saw the restlessness in his soul and advised him to leave. He always lived a very hermetical life even after leaving.
When I was young my father would have me join him for his nightly meditation sessions and morning yoga practice. I personally hated it. Meditation was boring for me. I didn’t see the point of just sitting there staring at my own blank mind when Instead I could be reading the next chapter of Harry Potter or playing with my toys. Yoga I didn’t mind that much, I hated stretching my stiff legs and the discomfort would sometimes bring tears to my young eyes, but usually after my body would feel relaxed and good in the way only yoga can make one feel. My father insisted that I’d practice meditation with him as according to him I was to restless and scatter-minded. If I think back, I see that he wasn’t wrong, and I still am easily distracted by a bird flying past the window or a random dog on the street.
Once I started college, I stopped the practices he had taught me as university life took over. Along with my studies came anxiety and eventually depression as I struggled to find some form of balance in my life. I’d going days trapped in my own head not wanting to leave my bed or room. My grades suffered and that led even more anxiety as I felt like an overall failure. Somehow, I managed to get bye despite all of my own self sabotage, never really doing well, but never utterly failing.
After Hurricane Maria hit my home of Puerto Rico, I took a semester off. It was probably for the best as that was the semester my father passed. I was the one who found him on the floor, in a puddle of his own urine, after the stroke that would lead to his death seven days later. It was good I was there to help my mother through that time, and after I went back to university but things were a bit different.
My anxiety and depression didn’t seem as big of a deal and I realized that part of its origin came from the desire to make my father proud, something I no longer had to worry about. But my mind seems to be programmed to look for something to worry about. The semester following his death was arguably my best semester academically, but the semester following it I had a particularly rough breakup, and my anxiety and depression returned with a vengeance. This time they were accompanied by suicidal desires the likes of which I hadn’t experienced before. I made it through still, somehow, despite feeling lost and without purpose. During that time, I had halfheartedly begun the practice of meditation in hopes it would help, but eventually turned to medical cannabis instead as it made things feel better quickly, though momentarily.
After a summer of “Soul Searching,” I am back studying. I’ve realized that I don’t really like myself when I am high, it only solves the symptoms of my problems, not the cause. It does nothing for the underlying issues of insecurity and anxiety that I’ve adopted as part of my persona. Plus, the mental haze it gives me can sometimes make spotting the origin of my self-delusions even harder, or even lead to new delusions. I have started to practice meditation again and I’ve realized just how powerful of tool it can be. Meditation allows me to clear my mind of all thoughts and look honestly at myself. It allows me to reject the prejudices and precognitions that define my ego freeing myself from them. In this day and age, I feel that an honest look into your own being is a rare thing to possess. People are basing themselves on how they think the world sees them and how they see the world, instead of seeing themselves for who they really are. The voice of their ego become the voice of their reason and they confuse their ego for their self. Thank you, father, for showing me how to see myself for who I am. May you rest in peace.