Happy first blink, Mateus.
You blinked and 24 years went by. Blink again, look back, and 48 years would have passed. Blink a 3rd time, and there goes 72 years. Blink a 4th time… Time passes by fast, so make it a priority to follow your bliss.
I have been thinking about the fact that we are in each other’s lives, and about the bond that unites us. Some say that we are spiritual beings having human existences and that before coming to this physical plane we met in the spiritual dimension and agreed what roles we would play and what we would be doing to help one another down the path of purification, enlightenment and liberation. Maybe that was the case, and when we met you said, “I am going to be your son, and I will help you,” and I said, “I am going to be your father, and I will help you,” and we created a sacred contract.
If we believe that we come here to learn how to liberate ourselves from the cycle of human misery, and if we believe that we keep coming back until we succeed, we have to accept that some individuals are further along the path of purification and liberation than others. I remember Wally telling me that he thought you were one of those more evolved beings. And I agree with him: I recognize in you a being with special wisdom, traits and abilities. I see you as a teacher, my teacher. I’ve learned and continue to learn a lot from you. Do you remember when you told me how you dealt with people who were illogical and stubborn? You showed me the wisdom contained in doing a simple shoulder shrug, saying “Whatever,” and moving on. It may seen completely unremarkable to you, but believe it or not, it made a huge difference in the quality of my life. It was an eye-opener that taught me, once and for all, to let go of the compulsion to convince those who do not see as I see.
You blinked once and this globe upon which we live has traveled through the cosmos and completed 24 ellipses around the sun while rotating around its imaginary axis 8,766 times.
When I first held you in my arms, I could never imagine what your life would be like. I could never imagine that one day I would have a son who would graduate from the most prestigious university in the world, who would travel to so many exotic places, and who would live in the most vibrant metropolis on the planet.
I admire you very much. I think about the challenges you faced, such as moving to two countries during your childhood, and having to leave everything behind, and having to get adapted to new cultures, learn new languages, and make new friends. I know it wasn’t easy, but I believe it helped to make of you the exceptional man you are. I also remember you as a stubborn and hard-headed little child, and when I see the very determined man you are now, I rest knowing that it all worked out for the good!
One of my most precious memories are the times I used to take you to Mrs. Corrigan’s first grade class. I remember our little ritual: you hung your backpack, I got down on my knees, and we hugged each other behind the classroom door. Those were long, tender, endearing hugs, not different from the ones we share now. I guess that’s when our ongoing who-will-hang-in-there-longer hug challenge began. Back then, I thought you needed the hugs. Now I see that I was the one who needed them.
I think about what life has in store for you. It is my desire to be around to see you performing to thousands of people. I can see myself rejoicing while seeing the crowds having a good time, singing your songs. I know it has already happened. I can “remember” it.
I can’t resist to give some advice: Create music that makes you happy and that will make others happy. Be generous. Give your audience what will make them feel good. Spread positive vibes that will make the whole world better.
Dream of success, but never forget that you are greatly successful already. Do not condition your happiness to any imagined situation in the future. Don’t wait. Be happy now, for no reason at all. Be happy now because you are a success already.
If someone asked me, “Do you know a good man?” I would point at you, and praise your civility, generosity, honesty, goodwill, good nature, and respect for others. You have a compassionate heart and a joyful, fun-loving spirit. You make people around you smile, laugh, feel better, and love life. You are such a great man! I admire you for so many things you have done, such as the work you did with One Planet United and the OPU Club, your work for the homeless at Harvard Square, and the work you are doing now helping underprivileged children in the New York City boroughs. I admire you. You are a light that brightens the world.
“The tiny flame that lights up the human heart is like a blazing torch that comes down from heaven to light up the paths of mankind. For in one soul are contained the hopes and feelings of all Mankind.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
Everything is impermanent, so do not get attached to anything. Pleasant things and experiences, as well as unpleasant ones, will come and pass away. As George Harrison sang, “All things must pass, all things must pass away.” The most important thing is to move along the path of purification that leads to enlightenment and the liberation from the shackles of human misery and suffering. So, in your pursuit of success, stay away from obsessive craving and clinging.
“They cling obstinately to lives of wealth and honor, comfort and pleasure, excitement and self-indulgence, ignorant of the fact that the desire for these very things is the source of human suffering. If one carefully considers all the facts, one must be convinced that at the basis of all suffering lies the principle of craving desire. If avarice can be removed, human suffering will come to an end.” ~ The Teachings of Buddha, Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai
You have already lived 1,252 weeks and 2 days, or 8,766 days (out of which 6,260 were weekdays and 2,506 were weekend days… Yes, I looked it up!). You have been breathing now for 210,384 hours, or 12,623,040 minutes, or 757,382,400 seconds. Be happy because you have used all this time wisely. You have built an amazing masterpiece: You.
Happy birthday, my son!
Without any intention of sounding morbid, it is interesting that we celebrate birthdays, isn’t it? “Happy birthday! You are one year closer to the end of your life!” Physical death is not a bad thing, is it? I don’t see it as such. Maybe the biggest rewards are at the end of our physical existence. Who knows, right? What I know is that being mindful of our impermanence is a good thing. It makes us pay more attention, and focus on what is important.
Some say that life is short. Yes, we have many desires that we want to fulfill, many projects that we initiate and want to finish, many experiences that we want to live. Life is short for all we want to do, and I guess that the majority of us on our deathbeds regret not having done some of the things that we envisioned. So, I leave you with this quote:
“I don’t regret the things I did. I just regret the things I didn’t do when I had a chance to do them. I regret the decisions I waited too long to make. I regret the times I hesitated and didn’t approach the people I was attracted to. I regret the times I didn’t say what should have been said… I don’t regret the things I did; I just regret the things I didn’t do and the chances I didn’t take.”
Time passes by fast, so approach the prettiest girl and the people who may help you, no matter how unapproachable they may seem to be. Life is short, so choose wisely: surround yourself with uplifting, positive people, who build you up and make your days more enjoyable, and stay away from those crazy-makers, energy-draining vampires, and toxic environments.
Continue to do good. Remember always that the good you make comes back to you. If you are good to others, others will be good to you. If you are generous with others, others will be generous with you. If you forgive others, others will forgive you. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make (you know where this line came from right?).
Remember what Daniel Barrett told you when you met: “How stoked are you willing to be? In your life, sort for pleasure.”
So, follow your bliss. Take risks. Try, or as Master Yoda would say, “Do, or do not. There is not try.” Do more of what makes you happy. Above all, don’t die with regrets.
Remember that it’s all in our thoughts. Be attentive, alert and vigilant. Observe what goes on in your mind, and populate it with positive, optimistic, happy thoughts. This is the greatest truth: “We are what we think.”
I love you, now and for all eternity.
It’s good to be your father.
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Learn about upcoming workshops and retreats at the Peaceful Ways website www.peacefulways.org
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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”