Since my consciousness started to become autonomous, I began to seek the meaning of my life in literature, music, travelling, in my contact with Nature, getting to know things, people and diverse places, the more different the better, and in the love of the people I have around me.
I was looking for an answer taking for granted that happiness is something you always find along your path first, until some years later I convinced myself I wouldn’t find it there, because what gives meaning to our lives is the path itself, and that meaning is something we find as we walk. In other words, I still didn’t know where to look at, and until long time later I was still looking where I couldn’t find it: outside. And never where it lies, in our animal essence, in our human condition. Inside.
I have come across with famous thinkers afterwards, people who have given words to this feeling:
“The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.”
- Rabindranath Tagore.
”So many people come to me when I talk about purpose and finding meaning in their life, what is it, why it seems to be eluding me [...]. I’ve always felt that the real purpose of life is just to be happy, to enjoy life.”
- Wayne Dyer.
Deep inside me I have always known it: always I have looked for it along my path, the meaning to why I am and why I am here I have always mixed with the pursuit of happiness. However, for those words to have the meaning they have for me today, I have had to make a leap. The impulse comes from the first times I listened to the wisdom that explained the meaning of things. Day in, day out through such expressions as ”We have to feel happy” and the answer to the question, always affirmative: ”Are you happy?”. Getting to know Facundo and seeing the easiness with which that wisdom was part of his everyday life helped me be a little more aware, to change my perspective, and an important tool to face my future.
This text does not intend to explain how it is to connect to somebody with dementia. I just want to share how it was for me to make a connection with him. To do that I had to see through his eyes, the ones of somebody who lives his present moment so intensely. It often meant to return from the antipodes where my chain of thought had taken me. I rememmber moments when I found some resistance, bigger or smaller according to my fears, which were not always conscious and not inmediatedly explainable.
I agree with those who believe that somebody with dementia keeps the essence of who s/he is. I also believe that being in touch with someone who lives his/her present so intensely is a privilege for anyone who finds the space/time to be there and can in exchange collect that gift of peace, wellbeing and happiness, for having connected here and now, something that comes natural if you let it happen.
This text is part of my gratitude for one of the most important, transcendent lessons I have ever received. To someone whom I never met without advanced symptoms of dementia.
Juan Cruz, Madrid, Spain