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The Other Side of Everything

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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on March 1, 2010, and categorized as Flip side, Living.
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How do you describe liberation to somebody who has never experienced it? It’s a tough one, that.

My mother lost her partner, her soul mate, my father, just over six months ago, and in the time since then, we’ve had a series of remarkable conversations.

I’m minded to let our conversations branch wherever they will and to allow the criss-crossing of themes and ideas as diverse asĀ  they come. What use-by date does her medication actually have – is it, as the doctor says, expiring a month after opening, or is it what it says on the packet, good until 2012? Then again, do we only live once on this earth, or do we reincarnate? Do we as unborn souls choose our parents? Is time non-linear? Should we choose to reincarnate, are we able to go to different times, apparently before and also after this one? Are we indeed living in a holographic representation of two-dimensional universe? This last one we discussed today.

We discuss these things with a degree of fascination and intellectual curiosity, and find it both comforting and amusing. Mum told me today that my sister had recommended that she meditate and that I might show her how. I thought that perhaps she already had techniques on board to de-couple her busy mind and relax. Swimming as it turned out is her meditation, which she does as much for the mental calm as for the physical exercise. Recovering from a cataract operation, she can’t swim for another few weeks, and she’s feeling less relaxed as a result.

My sister on the other hand could definitely use meditation. I expect she’ll claim she does meditate, but she doesn’t – at least, not in a formal enough way for me to think it deserves the name. She certainly does have some working techniques to control anxiety and she’s reflective. Yet all of this pushing and pulling expresses our familial love and concern for one another, in a roundabout way; and I don’t mind at all that my sister advises my mother to ask me for help doing what she should actually be doing for herself.

It’s almost impossible to describe meditation, except that it works best when you just get on and do it, without skipping a single session.

It should be like the daily drop of water upon a stone.


After twenty years or so, the water’s steady, gentle splash has worn away and smoothed the hard rock. Even though the benefits are profoundly liberating, there is no purpose to it – it’s just the way it happens.

Like the discussions about everything in the universe which I have with Mum, it doesn’t need justification. Just keep on going, doing, letting be, and rather than wasting breath trying to describe it, let the freedom find itself.

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