What follows is not an inclusive list of a grandfather’s hopes for his grandson, but a reflection of some of what I hope you learn as you go about your journey.
I hope you will be keen on living and that you will be full of wonder and that wonder will grow with your years.
I hope you learn the joy and beauty of insight. There is nearly nothing more enjoyable than having a true aha moment. Love is one of those insights, one of those moments.
I hope you will be able to distinguish between learning, experience, and wisdom. They are not always the same and confusion between them can lead to a confusing path. Do not let learning and experience contaminate your awareness. True wisdom is uncontaminated awareness, the best “place” from which to properly apply learning and experience.
I hope you learn that as you are a stewardship, so shall you incur stewardships. There is no amount of property, degrees, status, or money that in itself is more important. I hope you learn that your very awareness is a stewardship. I hope you learn that stewardship is a gift, as you yourself are.
I hope you learn to forgive and forget. Forgiveness is always appropriate. Forgetting varies. You will make many mistakes. Those mistakes are the roots of wisdom. The roots are stronger if you forgive your mistakes, but not forget them. The roots are stronger yet if you forgive others their mistakes, and sometimes, as is appropriate, forget their mistakes.
I hope you learn the difference between submission and surrender. When one surrenders, their dignity grows. When one submits, a dull ache grows. And consider that you can be a fool with dignity.
I hope you learn the difference between sacrifice and temperance. Temperance is about knowing when to do something and when not to. Check out the world around you. Notice there are rhythms—cycles. Be in tune, whether you’ve discovered a rhythm or created one. Sacrifice is about giving up something. If you have something to truly gain, what you give up is not a sacrifice. Temperance is necessary, sacrifice not so much.
I hope you learn the difference between struggling and suffering. There is no getting out of the struggle—it is the furnace that tempers your being. However, choose your struggles wisely if you can, not all are necessary. Suffering is optional. It is a bit of human drama. It can be amusing and lots of fun unless one forgets it is a choice.
I hope you learn the differences between heaven and hell. Consider that they are not separate places, but separate perspectives. That is not so easy to tell as it is fairly easy to confuse a perspective as a fact. Heaven is our inheritance and allows for deviations, hell is only our deviation. Deviations can be good and fun, unless we lose sight of our inheritance. Ask yourself: Are there strings attached? Good strings can be easily loosened. Not-so-good strings envelope and enslave us. Notice that the essence of awareness contains no strings at all. Learn that perspective well and you will be able to play and not become enslaved.
I hope you learn there are many paradoxes and that paradoxes by nature cannot be solved by choosing one side or the other. Consider that the nature of paradoxes is about interaction. There is no place nor any perspective, short of pure, empty awareness, that allows you to avoid the interaction. There is only pretending there is no interaction, which is still an interaction. As for pure, empty awareness, notice that one can be in that state for only so long. It is not necessary in heaven to remain empty. It is necessary in hell to not be empty.
I hope you learn to be careful in following others. They can start off in the right direction, but lose their way on occasion. A good follower knows how to be a good leader and vice versa. For instance, consider that your grandfather doesn’t always know what he is talking about, though that doesn’t stop him from talking, as you can plainly see. Be careful what you embrace, check with your own uncontaminated awareness, not just with what others are saying about theirs.
And with that, I hope you learn to laugh, especially at yourself. Do so freely and without shame or loss of dignity. I hope you also learn it is all right to laugh with your father and grandfather, with your grandmother and your mother, with your aunts and uncles, your cousins, and with any siblings that are to come, about our journey, as we will laugh with you about yours. After all, we are family and you are very much a part of us.