Let The Self Drift Away – In Memory of Austen Berj Brooks

Austen left us 6 years ago on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In celebration of his life of 23 years, I give you an excerpt from his ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ where his writings are filled with his spirituality and the search for inner peace and freedom – “I just want to drift away and let my mind flow like a surging river” (Journey Through Sobriety, May 15, 2014), the passage below ending with “Stay calm, let the waves take you out to sea.” We all struggle in life from time to time. Maybe Austen’s words can lend some calm and peace in the journey:

Austen, Indiana University, 2011

Time to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to exist on this wonderful planet. Who could have made up such a blessing. With all of its faults and imperfections, the world is still a tremendously interesting place. Reality is truly more fantastic than any work of fiction.

Take [ego] out of the equation. Exist without it. Free myself from the insanity that has dictated my dominant characteristics. Selfish and arrogant and egotistical. But, of course, I am not here to assault my self, just dissolve it. Always seek inner peace and walk with grace. Tranquility, love, openness. Be there for other people. Let the self drift away. I just want to be a good person. I know I am underneath the top layer, but it has been hijacking the entire show of late. I am tired of living like that.

Humility is not thinking less of oneself, but thinking of one’s self less. I trust the inner part of me. The part that has not been twisted by the various difficulties that I had to fight off. I understand why I reacted the way I did, but the defenses need to come down. There are a lot of truths that I need to face about me and my life. I have to walk forward, into fear and uncertainty, trusting that my ancient and eternal wisdom will guide me forward. The universe is alive within me, it can come out if I relinquish control.

Photo of Austen taken by his friend Reid Fragel in 2009.

Stay calm, let the waves take you out to sea.

November 18, 2014

‘Always Seek Inner Peace,’ photo by Suzanne Sahakian, Half Moon Bay, California, 2019.