…left his body on 8 March 2021.
Dhyan Tadhg writes:
How to write about the passing of my dearest friend?
Every approach seems inadequate and words lose any meaning. In the face of the incomprehensible mystery I am left with poetry to lean into and borrow from.
All shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching
So ends the third stanza of T S Eliot’s long poem ‘Little Gidding’, where he is paraphrasing the 13th century English mystic, Julian of Norwich.
I start here, because it is the ground of the last season of my shared explorations with Avida.
I met Avida at a retreat in Centro d’Ompio in northern Italy. From the first glance we seemed to share a mutual respect and an easy familiarity, a shared intuition of a common ground between us.
We were both sannyasins and continuing our spiritual journey in the Diamond approach. Over the following years we met infrequently but our relating always had this basic ease and a trust which developed into a profound and intimate level of sharing and exploration. We shared the common background and formation from the world of Osho, the Diamond approach, and also the language and understanding of practising psychotherapists. We were both in long-term relationships, and the centrality of the relationship with Doris in the life of Avida will be well known to all who knew him.
During one of our long explorations via Skype, we found ourselves in a domain of a particular sensibility and openness to the divine, which led us to discover that we shared the sacramental experience of having both been brought up in the Catholic tradition.
Our later conversations ranged from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Julian of Norwich, to modern Christian mystics.
To all our explorations, Avida brought a quality of spaciousness and stable presence, an exquisite sensibility and a powerful ability to conceptualise without losing the essential quality. There was in the ordered quality of his thought and the breadth of his vision something of the grandeur and immensity of a great Gothic cathedral, with the tabernacle of Being glowing deep gold in the holy of holies.
He was passionate in the pursuit of reality and truth, and impatient with the pretentious and the false. Those of you who knew him will understand completely.
It is impossible to describe adequately how important, joyful and healing our exchanges were for me. We continued to share throughout his illness. Tears, laughter and extraordinary heart-opening silences. What a privilege for me to be able to share so much in his final months with him.
Avida’s last words to me were: “I am how I am right now.”
…which bring me back to Eliot’s closing lines:
Quick now, here, now, always —
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
All shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Safe journey home beloved Avida,
What a blessing and a gift to have shared some of your Pilgrim’s Progress.
Avida’s sannyas darshan
Prem means love, avida means knowing. Love knows, knowledge only pretends. The mind goes round and round, love goes direct to the very core of the matter. Intellect moves around and around and always goes on missing the real. Love never worries about the periphery, it simply goes to the centre. These are the two ways of knowing – the way of the head and the way of the heart, the way of logic and the way of love. Logic is perfectly adequate as far as matter is concerned. The moment consciousness arises, logic is simply inadequate. Only love is adequate to know that which goes beyond matter.
Intellect creates science, feeling creates religion. And the problem encountering humanity is that we have become too obsessed with intellect. It is good as far as it goes, I am not against it, but it does not go far enough. It touches only the insignificant; the significant remains beyond it. And without the significant, life has no meaning.
Science will give us better houses, better cars, better technologies, better standards of living, but it cannot give us a significant life. It cannot give meaning to us. It cannot give us ecstasy. That is beyond it, that is just absurd for it; nothing like that exists.
But what is a better house and a better car and a better machine if the better man is missing? So we have to discover again, have to rediscover really, what love means and how love can become an authentic source of knowing. A totally different knowledge is utterly needed, urgently needed. If that knowledge is not released into the world we are going to commit suicide, a global suicide, because science has come to the very end of its possibilities, potentialities and man has lost all balance.
That is the meaning of… Prem Avida: a knowing that happens through love, that only happens through love, a kind of intimate knowing. Two lovers know each other. They may not be able to express what they know, but they know. They feel deep in their hearts that they know.
Knowledge that comes through love is self-evident, it needs no other proof. Sannyas is an effort to know life through love, to know existence through love. Once you have your love functioning, existence starts having a new quality.
That quality is what divineness or godliness is. There is no God as such but everything is divine. That is possible only when the eyes of love open.
Osho, The Open Door, Ch 6 – 6 December 1977 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
My friend Avida was committed to truth.
His passion to make a difference in the world was great. What an amazing intelligence and talent in teaching and coaching.
It was my pleasure sharing with him.
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