Our long-time friend on the path, and life-long TAT member, Sandy (Samuel) Beigelman passed away on May 13, 2014 at the age of 59. Many of you met Sandy back in the 1970’s at Kent State University or in Cleveland, Ohio through the Pyramid Zen Society. Sandy was an original member in both groups. Sandy participated in TAT and regional affiliated groups throughout his life, and was among the first generation of TAT members who contributed his personal energy to building an ashram at Richard Rose’s farm. He lived in Houston in the mid 1970’s and helped keep a group going that met regularly at Rice University. He worked for Schlumberger while in Houston as a technician on electronic instrumentation equipment. Subsequently he moved to Miami, FL where he earned a degree in architectural engineering. Through the 1980’s he was an active member of the Miami Self-Inquiry Group and regularly made the 22-hour drive to TAT meetings at the farm in West Virginia. In recent years he suffered from declining health due to a form of paraplegia and required an assisted living environment. Sandy retained his hunger for things spiritual to the end and manifested a commitment to ladder work to the best of his abilities throughout his life. He maintained contact with various TAT group members until the end. His family would appreciate donations in Sandy’s name to TAT’s building fund and will be notified of such donations.
In December 2012 Bob Cergol learned that his old friend Sandy Beigelman was suffering from serious health problems that required him to be in assisted living, and that Sandy’s memory was rapidly deteriorating. Bob wrote Sandy a letter reminiscing about the time they both lived in Houston, Texas between 1976-78, and a trip they made together to see the Rockies and the Grand Canyon in May 1978. Bob wanted to share this excerpt from that letter in memory of Sandy, who passed away on May 13th.
Any time I think of you I immediately think about our shared time in Houston, Texas. I treasure the friendship that we shared during that time in our lives. It is hard to believe that was over 35 years ago! We never thought we would grow old did we?!
[ … ] But the most memorable adventure – and I have told this story many times! – was our drive through the Havasupai Indian Reservation that a ranger told us about that took us through 20 miles of mud to the very rim of the Grand Canyon! We were able to look down the length of it instead of across it as most tourist stops allow. We were able to actually drive to the very edge of the rim.
I wanted to get a picture of my truck – covered in mud except for the area of the windshield where the wipers swept the mud away – with the canyon in the background. This required backing up my truck to the very edge of the canyon! You were standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon – and I was driving backwards taking your directions. All I could see was the vast expanse of the canyon through the rear window as I leaned backwards – and you facing me, waving your arms, saying: “C’mon back, C’mon back, keep coming, keep coming” – and I am driving backwards towards this endless abyss! – and you with this mischievous grin on your face! Good memories…. Good times ….. Good companionship ….
It’s a memory and an image frozen in time.
Even as the memories and images of ourselves that we have in our mind are likewise frozen in time.
From what Steve told me I know you are having difficulties with memory and difficulties with other body-mechanics.
But I also know that no matter what the content of your attention, no matter what thoughts you are thinking, no matter what feelings or emotions you are watching, no matter what you remember or don’t remember, no matter what you are looking at right now – I know that you are still aware of being alive – aware of being you – and you know what? – it’s not important that you are aware of being a specific you, or of being Sandy Beigelman or any personality – that remembers the stories from the past, stories tied to you or some lovable character with memories of other lovable characters. What is important is simply that you are right this moment aware of being – not aware of being you – just simply aware of being – and are aware of watching an experience of being aware as some character on the stage. I think in your heart and soul you see and know that what you are is not that experience, that you are not the failing body – that you see and know that you are not that failing mind – that you see and know that you are that very awareness alone, you are that very sense of feeling alive without needing to be alive as a body, as a mind, as something specific – and that no matter how blurry the vision becomes, no matter how random the thoughts become, no matter what emotions are felt – that you are that awareness alone that tightly surrounds all of those witnessed experiences like a blanket swaddles a crying babe – and the love you feel for this life and towards all who have been, and are, dear to you now – is simply a reflection back to you of the nature of your own essence – which is all-loving, all-encompassing, timeless, unborn, and undying.
Remember Richard Rose’s words and prediction about the end of his character on the stage? He said:
I will take leave of you
Not by distinct farewell
As one entering vagueness
For words, symbols of confusion
Would only increase confusion
But silence, seeming to be vagueness,
Shall be my cadence,
You will understand
It is my wish for you Sandy that you abide in the Silence and know the peace and comfort found there.