By Jeff Brown
Meta-Dating — An excerpt from “An Uncommon Bond“
Before returning to my apartment, I went to meet Daniel for Dim Sum in Chinatown. We have a long-standing tradition of discussing life over dumplings and noodles. To get a sense of Daniel, imagine a stocky panda bear. Now add a pair of very thick glasses—thick like the bottom of a pop bottle. Now redden his hair, and brush some of it forward. Now add a kippah (a Jewish skullcap), and a small gold stud to his left ear and make him unstoppably cuddly. Oh, and magnetic blue eyes. That’s Daniel.
When I got there, his head was buried in yet another Eastern spirituality book.
“Good to see you Danny,” I said as I kissed his forehead and sat down in front of him. “How are you?”
Without looking up, he replied, “Neither good nor bad—just here.”
“Oh good, detaching from your wound-body again, are you?” I replied sarcastically.
He put the book off to the side and looked me square in the face. “It’s better than activating it, my friend. Much much better.”
The showdown had begun.
I replied sharply, “It’s always active, my friend. Transcending it doesn’t make it go away. Doesn’t heal it either. Just comes back later and bites you in the ass.”
When I first met Daniel in law school, he was a passionate love seeker. If he wasn’t in a relationship with someone he called “the one,” he was sure he had just spotted her. And then he met Hannah — a woman that he loved so deeply he would have given his life for her. Two orthodox Jews madly in love, we were sure they would get married and raise a beautiful family.
But then she left him on his 26th birthday to “explore other possibilities.” Three weeks later, she died in a scuba diving accident in Belize.
Perhaps to manage the pain, perhaps to find an answer, he became a spiritual seeker, focusing on various Eastern perspectives. Lately, his focus was on detaching from emotional pain. He was desperate to find the moment, while sidestepping his unresolved wounds.
“Non-duality requires a more expanded consciousness, Lowen. Less ego more…”
I cut him off, “No, not less ego, Daniel. Less unhealthy ego. Listen, you can’t call it a unified field of awareness if you remove everything uncomfortable from the moment: the ego, your body, your unresolved pain, your personal identifications. That’s not expanded consciousness, buddy. That’s dissociation.”
“Quite a soliloquy, but let’s look at the facts. You spent the last few days tormented by your latest love relationship, right? I spent the last month unperturbed by anything.”
“Like a robot.”
Clearly agitated, he shot back, “You are pissing me off.”
“Wound-body awakens. That was quick!” I replied.
He went quiet and took his glasses off to clean them—a habit that signaled he was feeling uncomfortable. This dialogue was hitting a nerve.
“Just let her go. It’s too intense. What’s the point? You’re just gonna crash and burn,” he said with great certainty.
We sat and slurped our noodles in silence for some time. Although he was annoying me, I also felt grateful for his impeccably timed message. In a way, he was the perfect reflection at the right time, representing the part of me that wanted to detach from Sarah; that wanted to find nirvana without risking loss; that wanted to find my answers in concepts rather than feelings. He was the wounded part of me that was still chirping in my inner ear, trying to convince me to give up on love as path. He was the isolationist part that wanted to make God a fleshless head trip. It was good to see myself from the outside.
I thought of Sarah in those last moments just before we parted in the mountains. The way the sun danced on her face, the way her smiling eyes sparkled, the softness of her hand in mine. Only once in an eternity does God launch this kind of heart-rocket. How could I turn away? I suddenly felt compassion for my friend, struggling as he was to find his faith in love after such a tremendous loss.
“Right now you can’t relate but you will again, Danny,” I said softly.
He replied, much less confident in his position, “I get there meditating.”
“Yah, me too,” I replied. “Meta-dating, there’s just something about the effect of two destined hearts merging that deepens the meditation experience.”
He quickly responded, “It’s destined to fail,” with a shaky voice, failing miserably at sounding firm.
I wanted to challenge him again, but I looked up and noticed a tear in his eye. There was suddenly nothing to debate. He was doing his best to manage his pain. I was doing my best to believe in love. To each their journey.