I want to talk about the Happy Fault, my father. Last night at dinner describing my recent trip to my sisters where the letters written by my parents to each other during WWII and all the years at sea my father spent away from home, I said the gift my father gave me was his pain, the sand in his oyster. Without this grain of sand, the oyster will not be driven to create the pearl of wisdom. Without this irritating rub with the world, there is no reason to evolve your consciousness, to seek unity and atonement with the world.
Those who are fortunate enough to have no rub with reality, have no reason to evolve and leave their happy home. But me, I had the Happy Fault, and was driven to leave the safe harbor and search the seas for the Lost Paradise of the Father and Son. (Son is a word that includes daughters too. Son is a metaphor for the self that is beyond gender.)
The search for the missing father on the historical level is also a search for God, for one’s source, for unity with the world and your own experience of the world. It is the search to speak the words of Jesus when he said: I and the Father are One. Speak but. the Word and my soul will be healed, goes the prayer.
The search for Father is a search for one’s own Voice, one’s original Word, the search for who you were before your parents were born. The explorers search for the headwaters of the mysterious river. Adams search for the Tree of Life in the Forbidden Garden. The Exile’s longing to return home.
Without this Happy Fault there would be no reason to be human. We are human because of this Happy Fault. We suffer because we are human. Atonement with the Father (world) is the cessation of suffering.
I call my father the Hyphenated Father———— because for 20 years he was at sea two decades spanning 1929 to 1949 when he finally got 4 years of shore duty and actually lived at home for more than a couple of weeks. I can only image what it was like for a son whose formative years were spent asking when Daddy was coming home. And when he got home, he had no idea what to do with a little boy.
You don’t learn those skills on a ship at sea. So when he was at home, he played the role he played at sea, the naval office in command of his ship. While he never got a command at sea, he was in command at home. We were his ship; mom the executive officer, me the sailor. His only passion when he got home was going for drives in Southern California, visiting the mountains, or the desert, or the plains of vegetables and fruit trees. At sea one lived at the center of a flat plate with no reference to anything other than what was on your ship. The life of the sailor is like that of a monastic, for when you go to sea you leave the world behind. And when you come ashore it’s like the Mardi Gras after the austerity of Lent.
So it goes without saying I don’t have many memories of my Father. My first memory must have been around the age of 5: I have this image of a man in a white uniform when he came home and we were living in a hotel in San Diego during the war. I remember when he beat me with a belt for teasing my little sister. I remember the sudden slap in the face when I misspoke to my mother. I remember when I had to tell the Italian girl in ninth grade who has asked me to a dance (my first opportunity) that I couldn’t go with her. “You aren’t going to any dance with a Wop” My father grew up as very poor Irish and I never understood his angry prejudice.
In my own search for the Father, after I left home and stopped searching for the atonement with my physical father, I rejected the Father of conventional religion and set out on my own to find my Source. This quest took me in many lands, but my ship never stayed in any one harbor for long. Always the Call of the Father took me back to the sea.
When I met Swami Rama Ramkunj, I my heart bowed to him, and I accepted him as my guide to the Source. A hologram rose out of him of my father and hovered between us and then return to him. Looking back I can see this was the moment of transference of one father to another. My search entered a new dimension, one of the Soul.
But still I could find no safe harbor to moor my ship. Always the Call, always returning to the ocean. Was the ocean my Source? When you are at sea, alone, you are the center of the whole cosmos. In a 360 degree panorama, there is no fixed point. You are at the center. But as soon as something appears, a lighthouse, a mountain in the distance, you are now on the outside or periphery and the object is the center. You are outside looking at the world as that object.
And this was where I was stuck….on the outside looking in on my own experience, judging it, commenting on it, dissatisfied with it as the the world. This was separation from the Father or the world and my own source. The world is our source. The universe represented as the world we perceive is our Source, but we feel separated from it. The world is over there and I am outside looking in through the window at the joy going on in that warm family living room.
Perhaps my father, the eternal sailor only felt really at home at sea. Like a monastic, you leave the troubles of the land on the dock when you board your ship. At sea life is simple, and time seems to drop away. Back on land is where the trouble begins.
The search for the Father is (staying with this metaphor) the search for the Center where you are the center or source of the universe. You come ini from the cold of being outside of yourself. You find atonement with your own self, and you become one with. yourself as the world. The rub is gone. You love your enemy, the world…the Other.