February 23rd, 2012

Hu design

Aunt's funeral & fidelity

I went to my aunt's funeral this morning. She was my mother's sister.

Her husband passed away several years ago, and they had three children. None of the children (i.e., my cousins) married. They are now all in their 50s. My oldest cousin has MS and has a girlfriend who looks after him. She, however, did not sit with my cousins during the funeral. As the casket was being led out of the shrine, the cousin with MS was the only one who cried openly.

The shrine was pretty and intimate, but the priests had thick accents that made it difficult to understand some of what they were saying. I guess it's getting difficult to find native-English-speaking recruits for the clergy.

For all that these people are supposedly professionals (i.e., the Catholic clergy), they always seem to read directly from books as if they had been called in at the last minute as substitutes.

I find American Catholicism terribly impersonal. During the funeral I was trying to recall the illusion that I used to have as a child that the verbiage of the church was somehow very powerful and very personal. Perhaps it was a projection of my mother's state of mind. I also thought about how people who fail to get what they need interpersonally often turn to spirituality.

In the car on the way down and back I listened to David Sylvian's album Dead Bees on a Cake. It's the album that reflects his involvement with Mother Meera, Shree Maa, and Amma, and also his marriage (his wife appears on a couple of the tracks). After his divorce his style became much more spare (Blemish), and in his second album after his divorce (Manafon) he stops mentioning Amma in the acknowledgements.

As I listened to the album, I thought about how some mystical paths tend to make the personality more diffuse. (The song "I Surrender" is evidently about Amma's darshan.) It began to occur to me that, for some people at least, a heart-opening mystical path is not a one-way journey toward enlightenment or salvation. It seems that, for many if not most, after an initial period of opening there may follow a period of disillusionment or uncertainty, followed eventually by a strong desire to attend to unfinished business in one or more areas of one's life. This may be perceived to be a lack of faith, or a betrayal of the path (in favor of ego, of course), but it may also represent the beginning of a more mature faith, a faith that guides one back to one's evident destiny after a period of opening and softening (which inevitably involves vulnerability that is easily exploited).

It's difficult to know how to support and protect such a "turn" without appearing to be bitter or belligerent when one is feeling pressured by people who regard themselves as the "true believers," but maybe it really is a matter of fidelity to one's own calling, regardless of who does or does not understand.

Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,