My Father’s Spirit Left His Body

My Father’s Spirit Left His Body November 17, 2014


This fall, Atria published my new book of spiritual inquiry, The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be. It’s a journey that explores the difficult and rewarding aspects of being human, which are often inter-related, including how to restore our trust in life, when suffering makes us lose our way; how to begin the work of saying yes to life, so it can enliven us; and how to make our inwardness a resource and not a refuge. This is an excerpt from the book.


My Father’s Spirit Left His Body

My father’s spirit left his body when he died and joined the sea of light, no longer contained or nameable. And yet, once home, in my study, my first sense of him without a body came in the pour of morning light through the high, thick branches of the oak beside our house. Somehow the essence of my father poured through the leaves and branches that hover over my study, until like water filling a hole, that nameless sea of light filled the hole in my heart, until a sense of him flooded my one window, making me stop, feeling bathed in the part of him that had no words.

Beyond the trees and the living forms on Earth, my father remains indistinguishable from all the other particles of light, but the mystery of the heart’s unending gravity is that, as certain flowers draw certain insects to pollinate them, our grieving hearts open like those flowers to draw the particles of spirit we love to us. It’s what the Universal moves through that makes it personal; the way river over stone makes water sing.


A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a friend or a loved one, describe one way you’ve felt the presence of a loved one who is now gone.

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