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Archive for January, 2018

Unplugging the Car…

My car is officially being unplugged from life support.

This is a very easy decision to make. It seems not even the junkyard wanted it. They offered all of 25.00 dollars for the vehicle.

I thought with the high price of organ donation theses days, perhaps a few hundred would come my way. They can get that from one fender but no, lowball city for the local wrecking yard.

Now, a human life, being unplugged from life support whence in a coma—a much more challenging dilemma… For, miracles do happen even with the worst recovery prognosis.

If the person has an elaborate POLST (Physician order for life-sustaining treatment) filled out this decision is made much easier. IT is clearly written down what the person wants in this situation.

Of course, intuition and spiritual angelic interludes may require one to delay making the final decision for a short while, while watching for said miracle scenario to kick in but ultimately the wishes of the one in a coma (or other situation) is clearly indicated.

 

Antibiotic Wheel…

Doctors have long over-prescribed antibiotics. My daughter’s little guy, Paxton, has had multiple ear infections in the last year. Apparently his little ears (he is 20 months) are always full of fluid, so they are going to put in drainage tubes. (Of course this does not get at the root cause of what is taking place but may alleviate some of the suffering).

She says that antibiotics always seem to help, meaning the little guy gets better.

But here is the thing: Most doctors to not do cultures to see if there is actually an acute bacterial infection which might be responsible for whatever ailment we have.

They simple prescribe an antibiotic of their choice. And their education comes mostly from the pharmaceutical representative that gave them a good deal on the medication. Absurd, right?!

If the child or adult does not get better, the doctors prescribe different antibiotic, then another– until either the immune system kicks in or said infectious symptoms disappear.

Still, both doctor and patient and family are left without knowing  what was causing the acute reactions/symptoms to begin with and the pattern is never resolved.  Fever, etc.

The root cause is never found: fungal infection, virus, etc–food intolerance that continually lowers the immune system (And this is no joke since our foods are laced with so many chemical food additives and pesticides sprayed during their growth).

And to repeatedly treat a child (or anyone) with a chronic-recurring infection which may be fungal or viral to begin with, is malpractice.

We have a huge antibiotic overuse issue and doctors have still not learned-AT ALL!  For if they have not cultured and found the actual bacterial culprit and treat a virus with antibiotics, it will lower the immune system further and have no beneficial effect. If they treat a fungal infection with antibiotics, (which are fungal compound), we are actually feeding the fungus and it will GET WORSE.

With super viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria on the rampage, this kind of irresponsible medicine by the mainstream Western Medical Establishment is outrageous.

Hanging on & Letting go…

“God proves the devotee by means of severe ordeals. A washerman beats the cloth on a slab, not to tear it but only to remove the dirt.”    -the regular saying of an obscure saint of the early 1900’s.

I have a vision of that saint. In said mystic inspiration, this truly-humbled, majestic being is walking about the countryside, wearing only a simple loin cloth, harming no one, yet radiating a profound peace. His gentle, yet powerful voice is piercing and distinct; he speaks only of God, though a good portion of the time he remains in silence.

Most of the village folk think he is crazy.

A few courageous and lucky ones, those with an intuitive receptivity, approach him. They sit close and the nearly-ceaseless, inner banter of their minds subsides, this redundant drivel is replaced by an enthralling presence which lifts them out of themselves. These fortunate few are catapulted into true wealth, a transcendent wisdom and fathomless love. The saint’s lunacy, his socially-bizarre behavior is now seen as the real sanity, a divine madness, like an eternal elixir that soothes the discontent of the heart.

If you read enough anthologies or biographical sketches of authentic spiritual Masters, there are many common attributes related to the sacred journey or what is sometimes referred to as the: pathless path. For they tell us, that truly, all we have to do is remember our divine heritage.There is nothing to do. We must simply be.

One of the common aspects in these recollections of the lives of Masters, relates to the trials and afflictions pressed forth on the human frame, aka-the body. For almost all of us on the planet have human body-related issues at one time or another.

How we view these manifestations, our angle of vision, is most essential.

For the sages and saints point the way to freedom, to truth, love and compassion, no matter what kind of havoc is being wreaked upon our transitory bodily vessels.

On a recent night and early morning, the Almighty Washerman put this frame straight to spin cycle. I awoke on said morning, 2 am or so, peering at the clock with a bedside flashlight, not wanting to step from the covers quite yet. The nausea alarm clock had sounded, like a ear-piercing train whistle. It was the time of the liver and that right epigrastric darling was moaning or was that the sound of his overworked side kick, Mr. Gall-Bladder? The brain fog rolled in with a droning tinnitus. My eyes, filled with fluid, steam and debris, the remnants of microscopic storm troopers that had turned the blood cells into a sluggish cesspool. So I laid there a little longer, like a mortally wounded soldier on the battle field.

Activated charcoal through the night had reduced the enemies numbers but the blood cells were still acting like geriatrics.

I got up in stages. First turning to my side. Rest, pause. Then pressing myself to sitting, I take a breath. Leaning forward I slowly rise to vertical and amble-drag two short steps to the nearby activated charcoal bottle. I take a couple more tabs, as if a drunk popping aspirin, then push the tea kettle switch and get the ginger root, peppermint leaf and fennel seed ready for a super strong steep. Moments later I push a few dropper’s full of gastro calm tincture onto the tongue, toss down some Triphala –a famous peristalsis enhancer, while eyeing my acupuncture needles.

Soon, the famous Stomach-36 is pierced, a point for gastric concerns: nausea, vomiting, stress and fatigue. I should be like an ancient Chinese warrior and wear a leather sash with stones that press into these two points, whenever kneeling down to rest. These points, one on each leg, are located 3 inches below the knee near the tibia bone.

I lie down on the padded floor mat to further inventory the damage.

Then a wave of pure presence dawns, it overtakes everything else. All the sensory apparatus, and thought streams, dim into insignificance. Suddenly I not interested at all in what is happening with my human frame. Consciousness expands and mind identification with the body-idea and its assorted maladies flicker and then begin to recede, becoming less and less urgent, less and less real and no longer personal.

Meditation, the natural state appears at the forefront, not some obscure backdrop.

Just watching. Witnessing the last of body identification and stray thoughts. Inquiry happens: Is it real? Does it last? Is anything really happening?

Breath. More space….the previous body symptoms now appear like the distant sound of a dove.

Then a two bowel movements arrive, the intestines are overworked garbage men. And then a 3rd urge to defecate approaches or was the body about to vomit?

More toxic debris is eliminated from the organism. Relief arrives for the human frame but it doesn’t really matter anymore.

My practice routine for end of life caregiving is now complete. It’s time for work.

The body is following the ordained wishes of the Divine; and more and more I see this clearly. So why bother with over-managing body-symptoms, requirements and the like?

I drive the 12 miles of country road, the Empire Grade short cut, straight to my client’s house.

Lloyd, my 88 year old retired, physicist-astronomer is just eating breakfast, his usual oatmeal. It’s 10 am. Recently arisen, Lloyd does not look up or recognize that I have arrived. I leave him undisturbed to eat for now, as distraction during meals often results in spillage.

His wife, Sue, informs me of the latest with Lloyd…up four times in the night, urinary incontinence, her agitation and feelings come out sideways through story and words. Though severely sleep deprived, she forges on with her plans for the day: errands, and taking a 94 year old woman to lunch for her birthday.

Minutes later, Lloyd and I are together, just the two of us. The high intensity energy that Sue carries drives away.

It is quiet, almost serene.

Lloyd is fading more and more. He begins to fall asleep for a few minutes, then wakes up, attempts to focus and be active. His ability to drive his body organism is not working. His willfulness was never running the show. This truth is setting in, though Lloyd has to exhaust the willfulness conditioning and accept the bodily decline. If God’s grace bestows more, he might realize that his true being, the soul is untouched by that decline.

He’s not quite there.

This little disorientation cycle continues unabated for some 30 minutes. The brain and bodily organs are shutting down; perhaps this is an early indicator that Lloyd may soon fall into a phase, a realm wherein normal human communication is no longer possible.

Was there a change in medications, is it lack of adequate sleep or a progression of Parkinson’s symptoms? These are practical considerations that get addressed later after Sue returns home.

Deep down, I realize it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is caring for Lloyd with compassion and love. So I touch him often, with a gentle hand here or there, coax him silently towards a deeper surrender.

He is a grandfather. All of my clients are soul grandmothers and grandfathers. I love them all, no matter the personality quirks or the ease of our relating or depth of connection. Each one of these sweet beings, that I’ve had the great privilege to care for, are in truth divine relatives.

Later in the afternoon, after his nap, I hear Lloyd awaken and try, disoriented as he is, to get up from his chair. I walk from my nearby perch, squat low by the side of his chair and talk to him, one hand as if attached to his upper arm, like a needle transmitting an injection of calm.

“Hi Lloyd, did you have a good rest?” I soothe, pausing and letting silence reign. “You seem to be a little confused or disoriented. What are you experiencing?” I continue.

Lloyd struggles to come up with words. His eyes are rolling around like shifting pebbles; his tongue darts about in grotesque distortions. He is a man adrift in some misbegotten and foreign world. Finally he manages to speak; it comes out as a complete non-sequitur:

“I just wish I could live 100 years more…” I do not hear him correctly.

“You wish you could live a couple years more?” I repeat back to him.

“No, 100 more years!” He smiles, fixing his gaze now firmly on me, in somewhat lucid eye contact. I chuckle softly.

“Yes, wouldn’t that be great!?”

 

 

 

 

The Donkey is Tired…

As one well-known spiritual aspirant once said:

“Brother Donkey, that’s how Saint Francis referred to his body, just a beast of burden to carry around his consciousness. (For Consciousness is the real and eternal body).  In the end, what does the body matter? The only thing that matters is our love for God.”

Saint Francis considered the mortal body, the human frame a burden. He turned ascetic, gave away all money, wore only a small cloth, and consumed but meager amounts of food.

He dragged the donkey-body around.

I get what Saint Francis meant when he referred to the body in this way.

For this donkey- body is tired.

The body, this mortal human one, has become such a burden now. I drag it along until that Ordained time of departure.  I will be quite happy when the donkey body drops.

For now, I spend most of my spare time in seeing the insignificance of the body.  Like a car, this transitory body lasts only so long, then it goes. In my case the going is of the slow variety. What does it matter, 6 months left, a year, a few more years?

When you realize that the body is not the Soul and the Soul lives eternally, there no need to fuss endlessly about the body? Whatever actions or expressions the body needs to make, it will. I trust that. Sure, you take care of the basic needs of the body but that is easy.

When you give away identification with the body, true relaxation sprouts forth from within.

That is the Soulforce–which is something most of humanity is not even remotely acquainted with.

New Carma…

It is amazing what Spirit has in store. I visited my Hyundai this am before work. She is in a deep coma. Remnants of a exploratory  surgery were all over her inner compartments. The IV tubes had been pulled out. No artificial respiration, yet somehow she kept breathing on her own, though her consciousness was in the car-god abyss.

You see my mechanic Calvin and his workers  put a new timing belt on. Then they tested compression in the valves. Number one was gone. Heart attack with open heart surgery, single bypass required and no insurance— 2500.00 dollars, more than the car is worth. More than I have handy as well.

Then, suddenly I found myself with a new van. A 1987 dodge caravan with 113,000 miles (less than the 2008 Hyundai). A gift from my client. I was so touched by their generosity. Spirit decided on a big car switch, from hare roadster, to tortoise van.

That’s cool! Whatever will be will be.

Soon a ‘mechanic special’ will be posted on Craigslist, so that a few extra dollars can be extracted from my old girl. I know, thinking of money at a time like this. After all my former partner is still in a coma.

And here I am, selling off her vital parts to the highest bidder!

 

Bad Carma…

It surely has been an interesting 24 hours. Hallucinatory chess with my client Lloyd.

At one point, Lloyd stared at the board much like a grandmaster would, a pillar of incredible concentration. Then he attempt to take a new piece out of his pocket and place it on the table, giving himself a new queen, I suppose.

“What are you doing, Lloyd? I said. He smiled, benignly, almost as if seeing the absurdity of what he had just done:

“You are incredibly patient.” I smiled.

“Well, thanks Lloyd. I get a small sense of what you must be going through.” Lloyd, unmoved by his increasing confusion and hallucinatory bouts, even wanted, as he said: ‘another crack at chess’- as if he may be able to prove himself in the next game. Some misguided hope that in this new game, some brain clarity my magically return. I always try to angle our games towards a draw, via perpetual check or repetition of the same moves 3 times. Sometimes I resign and show him how it is futile for me to continue.

“You see Lloyd, you have me!” I confess.

As I was readying to leave, Lloyd needed one more bathroom run. All day bathroom excursions had been taken via wheelchair but Lloyd decided that it was ‘walker time’.

He is so unsteady on his walker now that I keep my hand on his low back and am ready to catch him at a moment’s notice.

He snailed it towards the bathroom, like a sleeping tortoise.

By the time he arrived, apparently, urinary movement was immanent.

I did not know this.

I helped him get his pants down and advised him that he needed to turn towards the toilet or sit down. He did neither. He began peeing on the floor and against the side wall of the bathroom.

“Lloyd, Lloyd, no!” I said and inwardly ‘Oh, shit’. “You, you are peeing on the floor!” I exclaimed to no avail.

He just kept peeing.

It was like he was in a hallucinatory trance. Finally Lloyd, not quite done with his pee session, declared matter-of-factly:

“I use to live on a farm.” I smiled deep in an inner chuckle before Lloyd finished with:

“This is how we did it on the farm.” Okay Lloyd, as you will.

Lloyd then tried, against my utterly worthless objections, to put TP down to soak up the pool of urine, then patting it down with his house slippers.

Oh Lord!

Morning came with only a small relief from incessant nausea, brain fog and inability to sleep. Time for the mechanic.

No not for me, for my car!

You see, when my father died 3 years ago, my car a 1999 Toyota Corolla was as they say ‘on the fritz’–fast approaching 250,000 miles. So mom, some months after dad passed on, got a new car, and gave both of her other cars away to family members. My gift, was a free, 6 year old, 2007 Hyundai Accent. She has been a great car.  Until recently, no problems, then a recent string of maintenance events occurred: new front brakes and rotors, a frozen lug nut, and a bent rim (grazed a boulder from a recent slide on a country road descent).

Then it was time for the back brakes this am. I was driving on highway with my mechanic’s son, Dan. He wanted to hear the sound I had told them about before looking at my rear brakes (that needed replacement). We could not hear a thing. It was like the noise gods were napping. Then, it happened. Whoof. POOF! Followed by an instant loss of compression and ability to accelerate. Gas smell. I coasted to the side of  highway. My mechanic’s son (a mechanic himself) said:

“Let me drive.” We switched and he coasted the car along the frontage downhill (we had gravity on our son, heading west towards the ocean). We got up to 45 mph, and he merged on to main highway in commuter traffic, navigated through some tight areas and managed to have enough ‘coast’ to make it to a property management parking lot on the side of Ocean Street, just officially into Santa Cruz proper!

Safe spot.

He could walk back half a mile to work over one of the San Lorenzo river bridges and I could call AAA for a tow to their auto shop.

With an hour wait on my hands and my own urinary engine ready, I dashed into the nearby woods. Number two would be a bit more challenging. First: a half mile walk to a small shopping center adjacent the San Lorenzo River. Stop number one Pet Smart. Bathroom closed for repairs. Then to Ross, bathroom inoperative. Okay, let’s try Office Max. Bathroom closed. I asked some nearby employees:

“Is the bathroom closed to prevent homeless from using it or is it really closed.

“I think it is really closed.” What?! This was code for, ‘we are not gonna tell ya’.

“Well, what bathroom do you guys use.” No answer.

“Such bullshit!” I said, before walking to the exit.

I finally bought something at a nearby coffee shop so I could use the bathroom.

As I was walking back with a greek grub breakfast burrito, that I did not want (gluten), was not hungry for, I passed a homeless man getting out of his nearby tent. He was happy to have a warm breakfast burrito.

Minutes after I got back to my car, the AAA tow driver, Mark, arrived. A 40-year veteran with a brand new 2018 truck.

“What seems to be the problem he said.

I described the vehicular maelstrom that had ensued. Instantly he injects:

“Timing belt.”

“Let me listen to the sound when we try to turn it over?” He says. He turns the key and hears the sound.

“Timing belt.” Yep, that’s it for sure.

“Wow, how did you know that. Are you a mechanic, too?!

“No, 40 years as a tow truck driver.”

He was right.

My mechanic Calvin is having one of his guys tear down the engine to get to the belt. It takes a couple of hours or so. If driving at high speed when the timing belt breaks, worse odds of major engine damage. It is possible that once a new belt is put on, the car will be okay. We shall see in the coming times.

I am not in charge of this divine drama, just a participant, a character in the movie. All I can do is surrender and play my part well.

There’s not much to do: Love all beings and know what I am at the most essential level. Very simple!

Breaking Bread With Christ…

Recently I had an uplifting phone conversation with my dear friend Terry, a Lutheran Pastor who lives in North Carolina. He caught me in the afternoon, after many hours immersed in deep meditation and contemplation. An illness-induced, stay-at- home day where I used all my spare time to be in the Beloved Presence.

Terry and I have a great time communing, with humorous exchanges, lots of laughter and always, always an emphasis on Spirit. But during this exchange, there was a magnified chemistry and shared love of Christ. At one point during our discussion, I was revealing insight gleaned from the ongoing, chronic illness experience:

“Well, Terry.” I paused. “This illness has brought a deeper surrender. I’ve been barely able to function many times, not able to work on some days, not knowing how rent would be paid and magically money would appear. It’s happened in so many ways.  This deepens faith!”

Terry responded:

“You’ve really come into Christ.”

It was true and my word choices were effortlessly falling in alignment with authentic Christian values. My expression more acceptable, in most cases, even to those with conservative religious views.

Terry and I first met in 2001, in Utah’s Heber Valley, before vast swaths of horse pasture and open space farmland turned this little village community, once nicknamed ‘little Switzerland’ into a mini-metropolis after the 2002 Winter Olympics swept in.

With newly acquired townhouses set in a quiet and still rural development, we lived across the street from one another in this small, predominantly-Mormon village.  Though a Lutheran Pastor, Terry was open to any kind of authentic wisdom and truth teaching. Though he always kept his Bible close at hand, Terry was not put off by my fascination with the spiritual teachings of the East, nor my status as the local hatha yoga teacher.

Awakening to the deepest truth came in waves of ecstasy when I began to surrender my petty problems, repetitious thoughts, and need for approval. Any time I felt ill at ease, I would inquire: “What am I, really.” Then, naturally, I would return to the true Christ, falling into that ever available and vast spaciousness. All I did was turn within, become still, patiently sit and yearn with a longing heart.

No one is turned away from the Divine Table; only they must be sincere.

I grew up skeptical of religion. Still, Jesus Christ intrigued and at times awed me. Like a tiny kindling fire, fed only tinder, this intrigue and awe has grown into a massive inner fire, fueled by an authentic love of truth.

I’ve always felt that churches put a wall between you and the true Christ. I wanted to be a genuine devotee, a true disciple of Christ, nestled up close at His Table (the divine spaciousness). I felt a yearning to be so close that I could literally take the Bread from His Hand, be moved to tears via the Eternal Sparkle in his Eyes and Elevated by the Soulful-Grandeur of His Presence.

Direct experience of Christ was the only option. Doctrinal readings and other religious rituals felt hollow and without real substance. Talk of satan, wickedness and evil made no sense to me, until I realized that these words were really referring to aspects of egoity, the narrow and distorted viewpoint when one does not see the Eternal and Real but instead becomes lost in worldly life-that which comes and goes.

I wanted to touch Eternal Life and know it as Absolute Truth. I was not after a long distance relationship; I wanted to whisper into Christ’s Ear and have Him hold my heart in His Enduring Embrace.

Ramana Maharshi, the spiritual luminary I have written about at times, was once asked about the Bible and Christianity. He said:

“‘Be still and know that I AM God’. This is the essence of the Bible.” He further elucidated: “Here stillness is total surrender without a vestige of personality. If personality goes, God is found to shine forth pure. ”

And Yogananda, a true lover of Christ came to America to, as he said, “bring a special dispensation of the scriptures” – and promote the one Reality behind all the world’s religions. He had a specific focus on Christianity when he arrived in America in 1920. In one of the last talks given before his passing, at an all day Christmas meditation in 1951, he said with immense spiritual fervor:

“The Heavenly Father gave us the great example of Christ, who had all the powers in the world and still he refused to except his body as Reality. That’s why he said: ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do…’ (Christ clearly realized that those, Pharisees and Romans, who had sent him to die on the cross were lost in egoity and delusion).

“…They are just playing a part. Even if they destroy this body (via crucifixion) ‘I’ (my true Soul nature as the Eternal Christ) cannot depart. That’s what Jesus realized. He became Christ. ‘I and my Father are one’. That’s what we all must realize…”

For as Jesus Christ said in Luke 22:19: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'”

What is the true remembrance of Jesus Christ?

It is turning your attention inward to Christ, for you won’t find him out there somewhere in the world, in all the materialism.  You won’t find Him in the gaining of wealth or fame, etc.

You find Him by tuning into the quiet, deep Self, the Soul. It is here that you will find Him and find that HE has always been here, available and patiently waiting for us to want to be with Him.

When you eat His Bread, you become one with Christ. When you seek Christ and ingest Him, then there is true communion.  His invitation is eternal but we must accept the invitation, for when we do, our True Home is found. Our Soul merges into Him, dissolving all sense of being a separate individual and releasing us from suffering.

So, I find myself residing at Christ’s Table, abiding and tasting the everlasting communion. For we are never separate from Christ.

His Bread is the divine presence, the intimate oneness that resides in all hearts.

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