A Letter To No-one

Never to be Sent

My Dearest Family,

Who I love more than anything.

I’ve thought a lot about what I would tell you, the things I knew you wanted to hear, the things I know you don’t. I’ve realized there is no point in having secrets from the people I love the most, but I also know there are some things that are too painful to hear.

I’ll start with an analogy.

In dive training we were taught that a drowning man will always cling to the highest point— unfortunately for his savior, it is the head. He will dunk you under in a chest seizing game of chicken; so you train to remain calm, to hold your breath until the drowning man can get his own. Working in development is like going out into a riptide. At one point you lose your footing, then your buoy, without such things you start to question if you can float yourself. You are engulfed by waves, frantic energy tries to drag you under before you can even reach the man you are trying to save. When you get to him you’ve lost all your tools, and you are there, naked, hoping that you can hold your breath long enough.  Long enough to save him, to give him respite from the salt water gushing into his lungs: long enough to survive the pressure building in your chest: long enough for yourself, to keep yourself free from the salty flooding.

I feel like the drowning man myself sometimes, praying for respite as I am dragged farther from the shore, farther from familiarity.

Please don’t fret over my explanation, it is myself at my lowest point. Sometimes I ride the waves, I float for hours on calmer waters; knowing that if I don’t, if I keep kicking— I too will drown. To save something for yourself, I think that is the hardest part of development, that and the feeling of being naked in front of a drowning man.

Even as I sit here, I accidentally make eye contact with a man on the side of the road— he braiding elastic rope as I look over my lunch. He’s there every day, his place set in the stone of his life and I’ve never seen him make a sale. Sitting by the side of the road, braiding this rope is all he has, so he does it each day.

The only thing I recognize in this uncomfortable place is the sweet eyes of a dog, who visits me for food I no longer have, stays for a good rub and then meanders away to stare sweetly at somebody else.

All dogs seem familiar to me—even those that stare with guarded, alert eyes; ready to snap for some reason or another.

If dogs are the same everywhere, if cows have the same kind eyes, are humans not too?

Are we just the same? The best and the worst of us? Am I not the same as the man who braids rope on the side of the street? Who braids everyday but never makes a sale?

The best and the worst of humanity is in each of us, so how can I not feel fraternity for this man? For the drowning man?

Is it the ego that jumps in the way? That screams ‘I am not like anyone else!’ Is it the ego that separates us from the worst of human kind— murders and manipulators, those that knowingly feed off of others’ ignorance? The thieves who comprehend the harm they are doing? Should we not celebrate the ego then— the thing inside of us that separates us from knowing depravity? The thing that screams “I am not like him!”

But is it not also the ego that separates us from the man on the street? That whispers ‘I am not like him’ comfortingly in our ears?

In these moments I’ve turned to the words of the Mother, while alien, she provides a semblance of comfort:

… you are made up entirely of something which is the forces of Nature expressing a higher Will of which you are unconscious.

    ‘Only, one doesn’t understand this except when one can come out of one’s ego, though it be only for a moment; for the ego – and this is its strength – is convinced that it alone decides. But if one looks attentively, one notices that it is moved by all sorts of things which are not itself. . . .

    ‘From the minute you become unconscious of the Unity – unity of Force, unity of Consciousness and unity of Will – well you no longer have the perception which makes you quite separate from others, so that you do not know what goes on in them, they are strangers to you, you are shut up as it were in your own skin, and have no contact with others except quite externally and superficially. But this happens precisely because you have not realised in yourself the perception of this oneness of Consciousness, Force and Will – even of material vibrations’” 

So do we celebrate or lament our ego?

Is it our greatest strength or our most crippling weakness?

My dearest family,

These are the thoughts I cannot share, for if I did they would break your heart. So they shall remain a secret, familiar only to myself.

-Your loving daughter

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