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Reply To: Reflections Upon a Hawaiian Graveyard,” with John Bonaduce, Ph.D.”


John, what thoughtful and sensitive insights you offered; and are so deeply appreciated. Yes, this helped a lot with what I have been dealing with. (Stephen also has been extremely helpful with this.) The journeys we travel are uniquely our own as we seek the answers to many of these important inner questions and issues that we have to grapple with that have deep meaning in our lives. Yes, my mother’s tragic death affected many people, and had a lot to do with the trajectory of my life which brought me later to Joseph’s work which gave me a bridge to work through so many of these inner conflicts I have been struggling with over the years.

There is so much I owe to Joseph Campbell’s work I hardly know where to begin, (especially his insights into the work of Carl Jung). And one of the insights he shared had to do with how the trajectory of one’s life changes its’ orientation from that of “achievement” in early life to that of “meaning” in later life. Jung said: “We are in a constant state or process of becoming”; and that “Axiom of Maria”, that alchemy of the inner life struggle to define itself, is always engaged in constantly defining one’s interior in such a way that a new challenge emerges as one moves or evolves toward what he called: the “Dark Gate or Grand Egress or Exit” towards death. We start asking ourselves these deep questions about the meaning of our lives and what will be left behind as our legacy.

Yes, your topic triggered a memory from my past that I needed to assimilate which brought up questions on how we process emotional relationships and resolve some of our past conflicts; or at least see them in a different light. This reminded me of something I experienced years ago when an old friend of mine had passed and there was going to be a “Wake” the night before the Funeral the next day. (If I’m not mistaken there were stories in some of the older Irish traditions where the corpse is actually sat in a chair with a drink in his hand, so he could be right there enjoying his own send-off; but I digress.) I was distressed because I had to work and could not attend either event. This fellow had a lot of friends who were in the same situation, so it was decided that a separate time and space was arranged for all of us to attend and we gathered and just shared personal stories of our friend and it felt very intimate like his presence was there with us for his send-off. There was no formal ceremony; (in other words), there was an emotional catharsis if you will that made a huge difference in how we processed our grief.

But my aim in all of this was to explore this inner cathartic aspect of grief and meaning; in other words: how we connect relationships and meaning to our own life. People are not inanimate objects but living creatures with feelings and emotions that produce profound inner meaning and purpose within the context of our existence; and our death is the final act that crosses over or through this veil or shroud that covers the Grail of our lives and conveys as its’ meaning or purpose of what is left behind that lives on in memory.

Again, thank you so very much for your kind and considered insights for I know some of my thoughts may have seemed a bit nebulous concerning my request. Namaste