You are the cause of every meaning in the world that you perceive.
In 1986, Patrick Duffy’s parents Marie and Terrence Duffy were shot dead by two teenagers trying to rob the tavern they owned in Montana.
Though I’m not Buddhist, I come across a lot of Buddhists – quite regularly, in fact. I’m sure it’s because my personal beliefs overlap with many Buddhists’, particularly a nondualistic view of existence.
When I was growing up, I loved science fiction. It began with the movie Star Wars, which in retrospect was quite soft compared to the novels of Robert A. Heinlein and Frank Herbert that I moved on to.
Or did it begin with Star Wars? Around the same time – I was ten years old – I watched the Man from Atlantis made-for-TV movies about a man who washes up on a Californian shore dying from suffocation. Doctors are unable to save him but a marine biologist, noticing his webbed hands and feet and that his lungs seemed more like gills, hits on the idea of ‘drowning’ him to save him. He turns out to be a water-breathing man.
The character was played by an unknown Patrick Duffy, later to become a household name as Bobby Ewing in Dallas. As I really enjoyed the Man from Atlantis movies (and I stress the movies, not the limp TV series that followed), any news about the talented and very handsome Patrick Duffy caught my attention.
When I heard about his parents’s murder, what struck me was his reaction. He was calm – so calm in fact he was criticised for not showing grief. And that was when I learned he was Buddhist. What he’s said about this, then and since, is profound and inspiring to me. I’ll share some quotes.
“I had been a practicing Buddhist for 15 years.… I don’t feel any more separated from my parents by their deaths than I would by going to bed at night, by being asleep and feeling separated from them. It’s just a matter of perception.” 
“You are completely and totally responsible for your life.… Every single unfortunate thing that happens, including, for instance, the murder of my parents, I am responsible for. I am responsible for being the son of two people who got murdered. I didn’t cause their murder. But if I’m suffering because of it, it’s my karma that I have manifested in this lifetime in this particular set of circumstances.” 
The sentence “I am responsible for being the son of two people who got murdered” is one of the most profound utterances of acceptance I have ever encountered.
He is clearly a self-aware man. Rather than succumb to what society tells him he should be feeling, he knows what he should be feeling and acts on just that.
One of the most life-changing lessons a person can learn is that you can be responsible and not be to blame. They are not the same thing.
Being responsible simply means you recognise you are the cause of every meaning in the world that you perceive. There is no meaning but what you create. So be responsible and feel the responsibility for it. But don’t blame. Blame is a judgment that there is something or someone at fault, when actually, there is no fault. Everything that is happening is simply what is happening.
When Patrick Duffy was asked if the criticism of his apparent indifference hurt, he said, ‘No, it actually encouraged me because it gave me an opportunity to show people an alternative point of view.’ 
I’ve said elsewhere that what the world needs now is forgiveness, not love. Patrick Duffy has a different take on it, though I know he and I mean the same thing: Punishment is not the answer. Detachment is the answer.
He said, ‘It never occurred to me to forgive them [the killers] or to blame them and I had closure the minute it happened. But I do my Buddhist practice twice a day and chant for my parents.’ 
In contrast to him, his older sister Peggy Joanne was “destroyed” by the event. He said, “I don’t forgive them … I think what [my sister] has got to do is let go of the concept that she has a responsibility for their punishment. That’s the problem. And that’s the problem universally with all the conflicts in the world.” 
(I put dates with the above quotes because I wouldn’t know if something’s changed, for instance if his sister since 2009 has come to terms with giving up her sense of responsibility for punishing the killers.)
Patrick Duffy has an overall air of happiness about him. His interviews overflow with an obvious gratitude for the life he has, for his wife (“The best part of any day for me is when I see her.”), for his 11-year stint on Dallas (“My wife always made fun of me. She said, ‘I have never seen anybody leave for work every day of their life so happy.’ I was always happy going to work because I knew I was going to see Larry [Hagman] and Linda [Gray] and play. And I knew I was going to get a paid a lot of money to play. The highlight of Dallas was not the work. The highlight of Dallas was going to work.”)
The music I’ve written is inspired by retrograded motives from Bach’s 54th cantata, Widerstehe doch der Sünde. The German translates as “stand steadfast against sin” but I always interpret sin as inauthenticity. When you’re saying or doing something other than what you truly believe, that is inauthenticity. It doesn’t matter what you believe, that is what you must do, or your conscious and unconscious minds will be so out of rapport there’ll be hell to pay. It’ll show up as a tug-of-war in your life, and any success you have will be tainted with failure, any fulfilment you may feel will be sullied by frustration. Inauthenticity most often comes from doing things you think people expect you to do, rather than doing what you really believe. Stand steadfast against inauthenticity.
I’m inspired that Patrick Duffy doesn’t have this problem.
As often happens when I repay my debt to Bach in my music, an ‘ambient new age’ element (à la George Winston) shows up alongside. And why not? In a nondualistic view of existence, they must somehow be the same thing.
The title, The moon never beams (without bringing me dreams), is from an Edgar Allan Poe poem called Annabel Lee, which I explain in Part 2.
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