Last time I visited my father, he could hardly maintain a simple conversation. He recognized me, but did not say much, apart from, ‘Can I have another cigarette?’
Now he lives in his own world. I do not know what happens in there. That was 3 years ago, just before I moved from the Netherlands to Indonesia.
Doctors called it “early demetia” – he was around 65 when they said that.
As for me, I think it was his way of escaping from his fears and troubles. He has always been struggling to overcome his fears, fears for new things and life’s challenges. He battled it with thinking, obsessive habits and hobbies, and alcohol and cigarettes. But fear always got the upper hand.
I recognize that struggle, in a way, that war continues in me, his son. But I have had the luxury of time, education and a philosophical curiosity which helped me learn about myself, about life, and about psychology and spirituality. I do not want to fight, I want to understand. But that’s not easy.
But the first thing I discovered is that fear cannot be conquered.
Change cannot be forced. What a frustrating realization!
So what then, give up?
In a way, yes. The secret is to EMBRACE fear, to welcome your inner demons as friends, not fiends. As change cannot be forced, it must COME ABOUT BY ITSELF.
Change is already there, it is part of nature, part of being human. Your true self is always changing – although in a way it also remains the same, as change is not an absolute state, but rather a part of the umlimited, interconnected whole of the ultimate reality.
But basically, we are born to change. What happens when we don’t change, is that we are BLOCKING it, out of fear and the desire to be IN CONTROL.
Control and fear come from the Thinking Mind, the EGO. It creates a false sense of control, a false universe, defended with fear and other emotions or obsessions.
But once you realize that, you must come to the conclusion that embracing fear means embracing change and embracing opportunities.
So the secret is to learn how to welcome fear and change, to accept it just as we accept all our thoughts and fears. But, the Thinking Mind might fight back.
Addictions, obsessions, more fears. What to do if it is simply too much? COMPASSION. Compassion and gratitude. They open the gateway to the whole, they free you from the chains of the selfish, but poisonous EGO.
So practice ACCEPTANCE, COMPASSION, and GRATITUDE every day!
A small note: I realize that I’ve written about my father and have an opinion about his condition. That is not to say I know everything about it, from a medical or other point of view. But from my experience with him, from my own experiences and those of many people I met, from my studies and countless other resources, I know that a medical condition does not exist on its own, it is strongly influenced by the psychological. And I have been a witness to his struggles, and really believe that these have influenced the onset and prognosis of his early onset frontotemporal dementia.