Letting you go has always been difficult.” I haven’t seen her since 1991, and still she remains one of the growing number of people for whom my desire to see again and hold close knows no limit. She told me stories, she tucked me into bed at night, fretted over me when I was sick, she was the witch with the long scratchy fingers; she was my Granny. At fifty-six years young she left us on her journey of truth. Sometimes now I wake in the night and try with all my might to remember her face and the sound of her voice, and yet I know I will recognise her had she to come to see me again someday unexpected. Our final memory was watching her dust take to the wings of the wind beside Loch Lomond on a beautiful calm summer morning, but now all of these remembrances are fading; becoming less complete. The time will come when no one will remember them – when no one will remember us; all things will pass quietly into the goodnight of the soul.

If we look deeply into the present moment, we see the past and the future in it. We may say that the past is already dead, but ultimately the truth is deeper than that. The past is still here in the form of the present. We may think that there isn’t anything we can do about the past anymore, but there is.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

As my mind settled, as best it could, upon the cushion of Zazen I sat for a time with thoughts of people from the past. Perhaps in the strictest sense of meditative practice this was a distraction, but all too often do pleasurable distractions come in the shape of consolations. I enjoyed their presence and sat with them awhile smiling.

Afterwards, recalling Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, I was comforted by his insight that all time – the past and the future – is held secure in the great storehouses of the present moment. In the depths of the universe of mind lives every moment, every thought, and every action performed and word spoken. This was another real presence, a personal Anamnesis. Yesterday’s joys had distracted me. They had dropped in on me unexpected, and I had recognised each one and by each I was comforted and filled with a present joy. Letting go has been difficult, but perhaps in letting go we can discover that our open hand receives also the peace of knowing we belong in some eternal present.

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