The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Both a wave and the water

I've been thinking a lot about a passage from Thich Nhat Hanh's book No Death, No Fear:

"...Looking deeply, we can also see that the waves are at the same time water. A wave may like to seek its own true nature. The wave might suffer from fear, from complexes. A wave may say, "I am not as big as the other waves," "I am oppressed," I am not as beautiful as the other waves," "I have been born and I have to die." ...But if the wave bends down and touches her true nature she will realize that she is water."

"Water is free from the birth and death of a wave. Water is free from high and low, more beautiful and less beautiful. You can talk in terms of more beautiful and less beautiful, high or low, only in terms of waves. As far as water is concerned, all these concepts are invalid."

I feel powerful and free in my life when I remember that my husband and I are both waves and the water. We are each individual expressions of the same thing - whether that is God, my higher power, the universal consciousness or something other. Non-duality. We are all aspects of one thing, so there is nothing to be afraid of in the not-knowing of it all.

Tonight (on the treadmill where a lot of my good thinking seems to happen) I realized that I've been holding my husband responsible for the unknowability of life. "I am afraid, I've realized I can't be certain about anything in life, and it's your fault."

But the unknowability of life is not Husband's fault. Husband is only the vehicle for this lesson. I don't believe it's possible for me to know the future, no matter how sure of it I feel. But in some areas I had forgotten that. In some areas I felt sure that I knew what I could trust, sure that I knew how life would go. But despite the surety I felt there was never really any knowing. How can I know what hasn't yet happened? It only felt that way.

That is not to say don't trust, don't have faith, don't be optimistic.

Instead, I see there is a possibility of learning to trust, to have faith and to be optimistic in the face of not knowing. Of being present, experiencing the moment with whatever it brings, feeling the pain and the joy of being alive instead of trying to escape into the future or the past, into desire or distraction.

Sometimes I can actually wrap my head around these things, and in those fleeting moments there is such serenity and peace.

1 comment:

thejunkyswife said...


Those moments when it all comes together so nicely are so rare and special. Thank you for sharing yours with me and giving me a little mini-epiphany after your own.