My 90 year old former client of two plus years, Burt, is in a mostly vegetative state both mentally and physically now. It has been just over 4 months since my last work day with him.
I decided to work two fill in days, today and tomorrow. Since finding a job in my condition has been challenging, I stepped back into a job that just 4 months ago had been untenable. With a true need for more income in order to keep a roof over our head, I’ve accept any job that is even remotely feasible.
It just so happens that the last 36 hours my physical vitality, which had come up slightly the last two weeks, suddenly plummeted again and produced fatigue, spinal nerve pain, headaches, bladder infection, etc. All of these symptoms are the graces of God, in order to bring more earnestness on the spiritual quest, deeper meditation and surrender.
The truth is I am in no place to be a caregiver but Spirit says otherwise-demanding that I caregive, be a care-provider despite the fact that the body’s vitality is depleted.
This makes for a strange kind of dream existence in a way. Yet, if I remain as the watcher, not identified with thoughts about it, all is seen as divinely orchestrated.
There is no need to interject a phantom identity or voice into the workings of Consciousness. God has it handled.
So we met again, my client Burt and me, each of us with our own version of depletion playing out. These two bodies, one seemingly taking care of the other. Ha.
I stood and watched perpetual restlessness transpire. My client tried to stand, over and over, but was unable to do so. Then he became distracted by a host of hallucinations.
When I first arrived, I helped him from bed and changed his diapers from the night. I then hoisted him up to his walker handles. He was able to stabilize himself by holding on just long enough for me to slide the wheelchair underneath him. I hauled him to his lounge chair where he spent the next 5 hours.
I offer Burt a few bites of yogurt and granola, a bit of banana and a few prunes. Sometimes he can finger them into his mouth unaided, at other times I must place them in for him. He can barely hold a Martinelli’s apple juice bottle without spilling it but managed to drink all 16 ounces during the day.
During moments of the day, my energy is quite low and I fall into my own spell. I must assume the corpse pose on the bare carpet. This posture I have nearly mastered. I remember the routine from my last few months at this job. Eyes close for a few seconds, open focus on restless figure in the chair, a few deep breaths, cannot let myself fall asleep, instead utilizing a kind of yogic power nap lasting all of 5 minutes!
I sip on some tea and read about 1930’s Bombay India and the spiritual journey of a lifetime when Burt falls asleep for about 20 minutes.
What a trip to again be watching an old man reluctantly find his way towards form dissolution. Burt’s quality of life at every level is virtually non-existent yet on a soul level he must be undergoing subtle experiences which are no doubt essential for him as the earthly sojourn winds down. One can only stand in awe at the fathomless workings that are going on under the radar of the earthly senses.
It’s not good or bad that he is clearly demented, hallucinatory and without ability to stand on his own or do anything of so-called value. He can occasionally mumble a few mostly incoherent phrases, lean down and search the carpet for phantom creatures or collapse to his right and drool. The truth is even if we were discussing particle physics at the highest level or designing some new robotic rocket that will explode in space and reverse global warming, it would not be more relevant.
Far deeper than appearances is the substratum of appearances, the space in which everything appears. The Immense Light reflects it all. I choose to turn to that Light and remain as the abiding witness. Content and comfortable in the space that needs nothing else.
The days of questioning God’s Divine dream are over as are taking issue with the quality of the body form existence. Trust in the unknowable Mystery is here.
As I prepare to leave Burt says: ”It’s your move.” He is playing a hallucinatory chess game with me and I had no idea. Finally I get the prompt.
”Queen to F6”, I say. A long pause ensues.
”It’s your move still.” He says a few minutes later, glancing at a make-believe chess board at his feet.
”Oh, remember I moved Queen to F6. It’s your move and I will expect it when I arrive tomorrow.”
We’ve just had our most coherent conversation of the day.