Some claim solitude leaves me to wander both through and beyond a dark foreign land (death). There’s no one single road, nor is there a map showing the way. Yet, if I can pass through, will I not find peace? Maybe my answer is not physical, but the very nature of why God called me to trust. Of course, there are steps, His and mine. And therein I find spirit of life walks with me. We walk together. And until I am ‘called,’  the world moves.

Given the fact a major stroke awaits at any moment, life propels onward ‒ there is work my employer requires, conference calls, deadlines, and debts to be paid. Life goes on regardless of how much of Thanksgiving week was spent lying in bed, hobbled by hip pain beginning Monday, November 23rd. Since I had no fall, no bruising, no trauma, and based upon symptoms, osteoarthritis is the likely culprit. The right hip, yeah the one which had only inconveniently plagued me until now, decided to perform a full-on assault. Every movement was either a dull ache or produced noticeable suffering. Walking required further leverage of a cane, and sitting was ‒ as I would simply put ‒ a bitch.

A friend might say to a doctor, “He won’t tell you this, but he is suffering.” Truth be told, the past few days had been an assortment of pain. However, no such friend knows the burden. I ate even as Advil and Tylenol percolated throughout my bloodstream.  Like almost all parts of this journey, I was alone when I read recent medical results. I sat alone in my favorite recliner while medication turned upside down every 6-8 hours. As terrifying as it is, it is a solitary journey. At a very gut level ‒ the soul ‒ it’s what I’ve come to embrace. 

There’s some portion of every soul for which the journey must be alone.  Sure, there are parents, lovers, friends, lovers, coworkers and others who can, and often will, assist, but there’s an integral part that is solely our own. No matter how much I would like to have a friend who could support me, there’s no possible way to transfer the pain. It is my ‘cross,’ mine and mine alone.

Supposedly the Buddha said, “If for company you cannot find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, then, like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom, or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest, you should go your way alone. Better it is to live alone; there is no fellowship with a fool. Live alone and do no evil; be carefree like an elephant in the elephant forest.” I think I understand the reason for the advice.  

People who are on a path of spiritual growth learn not everyone is on the same path. Even though we are all, essentially on the same journey (see Falling Through the Cracks, where 90% will pass from one of six diseases), it’s important to choose what we allow into our minds.  The Buddha basically says to try and associate with “wise and prudent” people, but don’t get lost following a crowd, just because you want some affiliation. Real spirituality is not a social practice; most of the time, it is a private endeavor between God and you. It’s an individual matter. I was tagged as being monolithic, an impersonal, sometimes non-political, structure that is invisible, yet indivisible. True, but not quite.

I am privy to all the thoughts and feelings I tend to hide from the world. My journey is personal, deeply personal. I am continually looking for transcendence, but I am also hoping we can look past indifference to one another. To some extent, God choosing to dwell where least likely to be looked (within the depths of my soul) is genius. And maybe, just maybe, by the time I meet God and Ms. K., I will be fully awake and the soul will fully comprehend.

Master: You see only what the eye sees. What the soul sees cannot be denied.

Student: Will not the soul, too, be denied in death?

Master: No. The soul always sees.

Student: Yet the body dies.

Master: Does the sun die?

Student: It does not shine at night.

Master: It shines somewhere. You just cannot see it.