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Lions Roar : January 2014
both cultures. He had a cartoon sense of humor, for which he credited his mentor, Wavy Gravy. Why was Jon gone and Muammar Qad- dafi still here, I was asking the universe— Qaddafi, who had just said that the Libyan resistance fighters rose up because Osama Bin Laden put LSD in their Nescafé. It makes no sense. All of the spiritual tradi- tions say that losing a child is the worst suffering we can experience. Why is this happening? We make a little altar on the table with pictures of Jon. Ram Dass says that Jon was here to do certain things, and when they were finished it was simply time to go. He came like an angel to affect the people in his life, help them see things they other- wise would not. He says he thinks life after death is an infinite space of love, but that our understanding from life will affect how each of us experiences it. We run out of words and even out of silence after a while, and Ram Dass decides to work on his public talk for the following night with the philosopher Peter Russell. I take a fresh coconut and a straw down to the pool. I swim and think about Jon and about Ram Dass, who is slower and paler than he was and is hav- ing trouble with his breathing. There is an empty space around him that he used to fill up, even though he seems surrounded by light. When I see him later, he says, “I watched you swimming.” “Oh,” I say, “how was my stroke?” He pauses. Then he says, “Reliable.” May you always find me reli- able, I think. May my spiritual friendship and my love always be reliable. That night Ram Dass wants to watch a Japanese film, Departures, about a young cellist who trains for a new professional role as a nakanshi, one who prepares the dead for burial. I think R.D. is interested in the cello part, because he used to play the cello, but the movie is really about death and about grief, service, and ritual. I think as I watch this beautiful movie that I want that ritual for my body when I die. I ask Ram Dass where he wants his ashes spread when the time comes, and he says, “In the ocean” and looks out the window. “Out there.” ♦ Earth-friendly tees and hats for men, women and kids. Choose from several messages and designs. 50% of profits go to organizations teaching children the power of compassion. sohaclothing.com make a statement. make a difference. Shambhala Sun, ISSN 1190-7886, published bimonthly. Subscriptions: $29.95 US, $39 CDN, $49 Intl. Mailing address: 1790 30th St., Suite 280, Boulder, CO 80301. Central Business Office: 1660 Hollis St., #701, Hali- fax, NS B3J 1V7 Canada. Publisher: James Gimian; Editor: Melvin McLeod; Deputy Editor: Andrea Miller. Publication mailing address: 1790 30th St., Suite 280, Boulder, CO 80301. Headquarters: Shambhala Sun Foundation, 1660 Hollis St., #701, Halifax, NS B3J 1V7 Canada. Total no. of copies: actual 78614, avg 80098; Mailed outside- county paid/requested subs: actual 42622, avg 42109; Mailed in-county paid/requested subs: 0; Paid dist. outside the mails includ- ing sales through dealers and other paid dist. outside USPS: actual 20197, avg 21502; Paid dist., other classes: actual 3, avg 2; Total paid/requested dist.: actual 62822, avg 63613; Free or nominal rate outside- county: actual 489, avg 491; Free or nomi- nal rate in-county: 0; Other classes mailed through the USPS: actual 71, avg 75; Free or nominal rate outside the mail: actual 690, avg 688; Total free or nominal rate: actual 1250, avg 1254; Total dist.: actual 64072, avg 64867; Copies not dist.: actual 14542, avg 15231; Total: actual 78614, avg 80098; Per- cent paid: actual 98.0%, avg 98.1%. 74 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2014