The Dharma Dynamics Online Programme
The spirit lives on
“It’s been five years since I lost my husband Jack to cancer. He was my soul mate, best friend and handsome champion. He struggled with his illness for over three years, but as you know, I lost him in the end,” said Phillipa, who paused for a moment to compose herself.
“I’m sure you remember that the first two years of his illness were ironically some of our best. He was strong enough to travel with me to healing retreats in the south of France. He bought a classic Enfield motorbike. We went sailing, even though I am a ‘landlubber.’ And together, we had a spiritual awakening. We learned how to meditate. We did yoga. We asked a lot of questions. We cried. We laughed. We were so connected that we sometimes heaved great sighs at the same time, which made us laugh even if we weren’t in the mood.”
“I haven’t seen you since the last anniversary of Jack’s passing. I’m happy to see you again Phillipa. You seem well. Is there a reason for your visit?” I asked.
“I wanted to update you on what’s happening with me and give you some feedback on my experience of working with you,” she said.
“I appreciate feedback. Thank you.”
“Firstly, thank you for helping me before and after Jack’s passing. You and your wife Lalita held the space for me to grieve and eventually heal.”
“Jack was a great guy. His passing left a big gap in everyone’s life, especially yours. We wanted to help.”
“I got a lot of support from friends like you. But you helped me in a special way, which is what I wanted to share with you.”
“How so,” I asked.
“I remember reading with you the passage in the Bhagavad-Gita where Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that the body dies but the soul lives on. I think he says that the soul is imperishable. I thought a lot about that, especially in the early days after Jack’s leaving. I found solace in that idea. Jack and I have always been soul mates. Our first meeting felt like a reunion and we always joked that we were married in a past life. The Gita quote made that real for me.”
“I first read the Gita in my early teens,” I said. “It changed everything for me.”
“So, the Gita quote helped, but it was the Dharma principles you taught me that helped me put my life back together.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“My biggest challenge in Jack’s passing was that in losing him, I lost myself. I didn’t know who I was without him. I had to come to terms with the fact that my life was defined by our relationship. He gave my life meaning and purpose.”
“And with his passing came the challenge of finding yourself. I remember how we talked about the Dharma principle of truth as a means to do that.”
“Yes, that’s right. And do you remember how I struggled with that idea?”
“Well, I gave a lot of thought to the idea of what is my truth. At first, and for quite a while, it always came back to Jack. But with a bit of effort – another principle you taught me – I reconnected with how Jack always encouraged me to be myself. As you know I’ve always been shy, but Jack was always supportive and did his best to bolster my confidence. At the time I thought, ‘oh, he is doing that because he loves me’. But whenever I doubted myself, he would always tell me ‘you can do it.’ Sometimes, even now, I wake in the night and hear him telling me ‘don’t doubt yourself.’”
“It sounds as though Jack’s memory has helped you in the search for your truth,” I said.
“Exactly. Eventually I asked myself, ‘what was it that Jack saw in me that I couldn’t see in myself?’ I then realised that he wasn’t being nice because he ‘loved’ me in a sentimental way. Rather, he wanted me to see myself as he saw me. I have now accepted that he loved me for who I am, for the deeper me, for the truth that is me. And so now, every day, I make the effort to live up to his love by being fully myself and sharing that with others. Am I making sense?”
“Perfectly,” I replied.
“Your teaching of the Dharma principles helped me accept what Jack had tried to teach me for so long. Jack’s transition to another life left me no choice but to find myself, and it was the wisdom of Dharma that helped make that possible.”
“That wisdom and your effort.”
“One more thing. A small confession,” Phillipa said. “I remember you telling me that every one of us has a unique truth to discover and live. It was in that conversation that you introduced me to the Dharma principles. I have to admit that my reaction at first was that they were too simple. But, having spent time thinking about them and applying them in my life, I can tell you that they work. They may appear simple, but they are deep. I am grateful you shared this wisdom with me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
“Thank you for your encouraging feedback. Can I share your story with others?”
“I hope you will.”
Feel like sharing?
“Being well. Doing well.”
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