My Burden of Sorrow

It seems that with my gift comes responsibility, and a heavy burden.
If I am to be sane, I must also bear a profound grief that will never lift.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

November 16, 2009

Copyright © 2009 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

The following is a letter I sent today to my ex-wife Bonita

Things have been all topsy-turvy lately but they have settled down again.

I went Through The Looking Glass again, not once but many times. I managed to get myself 5150ed - that is, involuntarily committed - by calling 9-1-1, then telling both the dispatcher and the deputy who responded all about The Thought Police. I knew I'd get admitted; that's why I made the call.

But I have known since Vancouver that The White Rabbit hasn't been trying to lead me into Wonderland, he has been trying to lead me out. I've been given this precious gift many times before. Despite always recognizing it for what it was, sanity has always managed to slip through my grasp. I've been working hard for some time to understand why, and to prepare myself to hold tight the next time the gift was offered to me.

It seems that with my gift comes responsibility, and a heavy burden. If I am to be sane, I must also bear a profound grief that will never lift. I understand that now, and have accepted the price of my Salvation.

It is this: it is well-known that most mentally ill never seek treatment. I can tell in an instant who they are; all I need to diagnose the existence of neurosis in a stranger as we pass on the street is to look them in the eye, smile, then say "Hello".

If they're neurotic, then even when they smile they still look sad.

What gives me such grief is not so much to be surrounded by so very many sad and unfortunate people, but to know that there is nothing whatsoever I can do to help them until they are ready to help themselves. Many, if not most of them will go to their graves without ever asking anyone to lift their own burdens from their shoulders, because they will never consciously realize that their burden is even there.

I bought a copy of The Path is the Goal yesterday, because I wanted to read again the story of Gyalwa Karmapa in the Editor's Forward. In much the same way and for much the same reasons as he burst into tears upon looking out from the top of a Hong Kong skyscraper, I burst into tears when passing strangers on the street.

Traditional accounts tell us that at the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment, he saw a vast panorama of beings throughout the six realms of existence, suffering in their ignorance through an endless round of attachment and disappointment, birth and death. In the literature of the Buddhist tradition we find other accounts of such visions of human suffering. A recent account concerns the Gyalwa Karmapa, Rikpe Dorje (1924-1982), who was the sixteenth incarnation in a line of enlightened heirarchs, heads of the Kagyü order of Buddhism in Tibet. It recounts an incident in his first journey, in the mid-seventies, out of the medieval Himalayan world he had known into the modern West. His first stop was Hong Kong, where his hosts took him to the top of a skyscraper. Standing on the observation platform, the Karmapa looked out with astonishment and delight at the vast view of the city below. Then, after a moment or two, he began to cry. He had to be helped inside by his attendants with tears pouring from his eyes. Later he explained that at the sight of the huge city with its teeming masses being born and struggling without a shred of dharma to help them - "without," as he said, "so much as an Om Mani Padme Hum" - he had been overcome by grief.
-- Sherah Chödzin, from Chögyam Trungpa's The Path is the Goal

This happened to me before, in Truro. I knew then it was a burden I could not bear, so sanity slipped my grasp once again. But this time I have accepted my burden, and will shoulder it for the rest of my days.

I hope that someday this letter will make sense to you.

-- Mike

Farewell, Friends

It's not that I'm going anywhere - I'll always be right here. It's just that we are now separated by a barrier, possibly for the rest of our days.

When I smashed Through The Looking Glass, I could not understand why you kept trying to push me back into Wonderland. I sought the answer during a journey to visit some of my oldest and closest friends. I did not find the answer I expected, but I did find the answer I sought.

You all haven't been trying to push me back into Wonderland, you have been trying to pull me back.

But it's too late for that; I spent several years preparing for this glimpse into The Looking Glass. I have taken some steps to ensure that I won't be pulled nor pushed back. Neither will I retreat on my own.

I considered reaching back Through and hauling the lot of you out of There, but then I realized that even had I the strength, it would not be right. Quite likely you would just cut open all your necks on the sharp glass.

I have no choice but to wait for you to join me. I am sad, yes, but wait I will. I want you all to know, that should you finally decide to face your deepest fears, I will be here to welcome you, and comfort you after your short, frightening journey out of Wonderland into Reality.

I'll toss this bread crumb back through, to help you find your way: I was mistaken. The Thought Police are not my deepest fear. They never were.

I knew it was time to make a fist, haul back then punch as hard as I could, when The Looking Glass finally showed me just a glimpse of my Real Psychic Horror.

What I never expected though, was that there would be than one.

Until We Meet Again -- Michael David Crawford