Thinking Of Our Beloved Conrad

Jun 2, 2014

For more than a decade, Conrad Pritscher has been blessing the work of ServiceSpace. Early on, he would make really thoughtful comments across our various portals, and his resonance for our values really showed in his gentle ways. Bit by bit, we picked up different things about him -- like the fact that he lives in the same same small town in Ohio where Rev. Heng Sure grew up (Toledo), or that he had been a professor for decades. Every so often, he would send in a small monetary donation as well. Everything about him was so measured, thoughtful and sweet.

When he wrote an independent book, Einstein and Zen, he asked us for permission to use material from our sites -- and we happily gave him blanket permission. Along the way, he started development friendships with couple people in the ecosystem -- particularly Somik, around the weekly Awakin readings. Soon, Somik was sharing ideas via Skype calls with Conrad and his professor friends from Ohio! Conrad's latest book is one that he wrote to "broaden the process of education from what Khan Academy and Gates are talking about." He held deep insights into how we learn.

Recently, he had pneumonia. Turns out it was terminal cancer. Below is a note he shared this morning with Somik and some friends, that deeply moved me.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Conrad Pritscher 
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Subject: from Conrad

Dear Internet group,

wWhat follows may be looked at as a generation of sadness or, as I see it, a generation of gladness. I have had a very great life with wonderful friends and family. This Internet group has been very important to me.

Many of you know I am a zen Buddhist and a Zen Buddhists believe we are born and die each moment. Many of us also look at ourselves as a wave in a vast ocean. The wave eventually becomes the ocean. I have never been separated. my wave is now accelerating a bit faster than usual toward becoming the ocean and that is not a big deal.

I was recently in the hospital for a week, 1st being diagnosed with pneumonia, then being diagnosed with lung cancer. After more tests and after talking to an ecologist and a surgeon, I find my lung cancer is not operable Partly because the cancer is in my lymph nodes, chemo or radiation would not help much.

I have decided to go with the flow and to do nothing other than take each day as it comes along with painkillers when I need them. I am now very weak and have low energy. I lost over 20 pounds in the last 2 months. My attitude is, from my point of view, fine in that I am accepting everything that comes unless it can be readily changed.

Because of my low-energy Tom Kelly has agreed to be secretary of our Internet group. Please assist him in any way you think you can.
I will be around for our September session, but doctors project I will probably be gone by the end of January.

Thank you for contributing to the great life I have had and will have for a while yet. I have been very pleased to have been in a group with all of you and I hope the group continues.

Right now I have no pain and except for extreme tiredness, I have no complaints of any kind and I am accepting the extreme tiredness.
I prefer no get well cards or phone calls. Please continue accepting things as they are..

Warm and kind regards,

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it." --David Starr Jordan
"The small truth has words that are clear; the great truth has great silence."
"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." --Tagore

I chuckled to see an extra 'w' in the first word of the opening sentence. Conrad always joked about how tech unsavvy he was, and I always imagined him typing with two fingers and very a big smile. Across the several dozen emails we've exchanged, the most common phrase would be: "You have my deep gratitude, Nipun". I always felt it. And today, I'd like to say: "Conrad, you have my deep gratitude." I hope he feels it, and continues to feel it even past January.     

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."