I finally got to this. I wish the people I love could have known him. He can be seen on video at http://weblogs.hollanddoc.nl/magikdood/2009/03/28/moge-de-zon-je-paraplu-zijn/.
Rough transcript of my video:
My name is Ken Stuczynski, and this video is in memory of Ronald Cools, who commited suicide earlier this year.
I knew him over the Internet — not the most personal medium, but inspite of distance and language, we truly connected, quickly recognizing each other for who we were as human beings and kindred spirits.
I gave him my word I would do this, not just to honor him as a friend, but to make it clear to others the real reasons he ended his life, so there could be no undue lies or blame. One of the first times we really communicated was after I reached out to him in sympathy for cruel attempts to defame his character, which were basically failed blackmail attempts by a former guru.
This is what needs to be clear: his death had nothing to do with such things. He was long-since tired of the crowd where we met eachother — a newsgroup discussing the group harassing him for speaking out. He was aware most people there had their own agendas, but when he realized I was more interested in him as a person than the subject, it was like a sigh of relief for us.
We began to talk of all things great and small.
He did gardening, fascinated with various flowers, even those some people consider weeds. They were all beautiful to him.
He raised butterflies. He sent me many photos of flowers and butterflies, hoping to see the ones in America someday. I even have a beautiful recording he sent me of the birds at the park near where he lives — I hear they’re going to use it on their website.
Some know Ronald for his career in radio voice talent, or his famous recording mixes of Queen Beatrix — that almost got him into trouble. He was naturally creative, which was merely the other side of his ever child-like curiosity in exploring life.
He also listened to counselled people relating to suicide rights and euthenasia, something controvercial around the world.
In 50 years, he lived a full life. There is a photo somewhere of him sitting at the feet of Osho whom he visited on a trip to India. He studied Advaita and any other spiritual paths he crossed. Alexander Smit was a beloved teacher of his. Some practices touched him deeply, only to discover toll barriers path tun by people whose compassion turned out to be lip service.
But he studied and understood it all, even the limitations of that which claimed to be unlimited. And the funny thing is that he didn’t need any of that. They were just words and concepts to put on what he already deeply knew like a change of clothes.
We talked at length of metaphysics, mysticism, consciousness, and life’s meaning as far words can take us, sometimes a little beyond. And I can and do attest of his Enlightenment — something he was neither aware not not aware of — he just never labelled it as most of us do on the way to getting there.
He didn’t need to fall back on any tradition, author, or guru. He integrated it all and it was all plain to him — he was ever the explorer, pondering out of pure choice, not some necessity or goal.
He was no huge success in the ways of the world — he just didn’t chase such things — but touched people’s lives in the ways more famous and revered men can’t. He taught others, and gave spiritual counsel wherever asked. I communicated with a few of them who had that privelage. He comforted and empowered people, changing their lives to the point of tears. Sometimes he used tools he had learned over the years. Sometimes his very presence was enough as a whole-heartedly compassionate human being.
I wish I could have met him in person. The first time I saw him talk was in a video after his death, and he is exactly as I pictured him … a gentle man, thoughful with real feeling in everything he said.
But he had a sense of humor. He found English amusing for all its potential puns and sniglets — and created his share. And sometimes his humor would be a bit offensive when he didn’t always turn the other cheek. But it was harmless, of course, and blown out of proportion by people who thought they were his enemy.
But the biggest lesson any of us can learn by having known him is this: Being Enlightned in this life doesn’t always mean mastery of this crude matter that surrounds us, or a total sheeding of the personality that frames us in this lifetime. He lived meagerly and humbly and showed others how to do the same.
He didn’t chase money and so often didn’t have any. He was rejected by his family and especially his own mother as “dead to her” at the age of 19 for his orientation. He experienced the passing of relationships, and other disillusionments. It proved one thing: We are still in this world even if we are not OF this world.
And he was the flower that some would pull out as a weed and simply forget.
Which brings me to the choice to end his life. There are assumptions about mental health issues and depression over various things as being the cause. Heck, certain people are trying to blame me and others in merciless attempts to discredit us much the way they tried to ruin him. But that’s no longer his battle, and we will remember that he stood up for what he believed in clear conscience to the end.
I did encouraged him to consider professional help, but my intuition was that this was not his problem and even if he had taken my advice, nothing would have changed. In fact, one of the modalities I suggested he seemed interested in, but in hindsight, I think it was another example of his curiosity.
I tried to plan projects for us to do down the road — something to look forward to. Unfinished business. We talked about the implications of death and if that would truly release him. But I never pushed him away by belittling his feelings or made him feel there was something wrong with him, and just taking him seriously was something he was grateful for. I didn’t have to agree or disagree with his view of suicide ethics — it was something he had decided with every ounce of his free will before I met him. It was only a matter of choosing the time and manner.
But even his own doctor knew this wasn’t something that could be medicated or counselled away. He wasn’t desperate. He was of sound mind. But he had a profound sense of lonliness — a lack of intimacy that weighed on his soul beyond all measure. At the time, I thought it was one heart-ache too many over the years — a lover’s rejection and and unwillingness to hope.
But now I think I have the answer, and it is a lesson relearned for me.
His Satori was at a very young age, and the depth of connection with ultimate reality was too great to manifest persistently while still in a body. All these years, his awareness grasped a peace he could taste but not swallow. That intimacy of eternal bliss was too close to not find persistent dread in being held back that smallest distance by the physical world.
But it doesn’t make it any less tragic. I once said to him “forgive me if the world can be selfish for a moment, but there is so much more good you could do in the world.” I even suggesterd it might be selfish on his part for not going on for the world’s sake.
He didn’t tell me when it would be. I honestly thought I had more time to know him better — and that would have been an amazing blessing, I’m sure. We simply lost touch, and by the time I hunted down his number and figured out how to call long distance, there was no answer and it took me forever to find someone to contact to check on him. I don’t think he wanted me to get desperate to save him at the end. Maybe I would have. But he knew there was at least one person who wanted to be there by his side, even onto the end if that was his final choice, and I know in my heart he felt his hand in mine at that last moment.
That’s what I knew of him. I can only imagine what a blessing it would have been to have him as a life-long friend, but I know the world is a brighter place because he was in it.
Ronald, it seems like yesterday I offered to help you move to America, and share my own family and friends as your own. Start a new life with new hopes. If you decide to return to this place in another time in another body, I hope in some way you will still take me up on that offer.
May eternal peace be granted onto you.
May perpetual light shine upon you.
May the sun be your umbrella.