Passion For The Intanbible
Posted 04-Dec: 2012
by Bill Scheffel

Prayer beads on a cracked chair. Bursa, Turkey.

In my last journal I wrote about an experience of when things fall apart. It seems that most of the people I am closest to and/or in contact with are going through similar moments: bankruptcy, looming foreclosure, cancer treatments, close-head injury, MS-like symtoms, chronic-fatigue, non-ordinary states, death of a parent, suddenly diminished eyesight and other gaping life-changes. Many of the rest are simply extremely busy (for me, nearly the worst of all!).

In falling-apart inner priorities become more vivid, as confusion does. Our longing or passion for the intangible becomes more intense (just as the intangible might become more tangible). We long for spiritual strength and insight, God, angelic support, the presence of our master or guru, unconditioned love. We also long to fulfill our purpose (and regret not fulfilling it). The qualities we most desire are intangible (hard to say what our purpose is) - and often forgotten in the density when "things return to normal." The passion is intense, the intangible so close at hand (as close as our jugular vein, the Quran teaches) and what we really are (empty but luminous, Buddhism teaches).

It is the same in art and the secular; the vision that could become a song or painting arises intangibly from ones creative imagination. Once the song or painting is manifested a period of melancholy or genuine mind of sadness often ensues; the "result" is there but the intangible is "elsewhere." The passion continues: Cezanne apocryphally painted until his eyes bled.

. . .

I wrote the above to introduce something a dear friend wrote on her tumblr that so moved me I asked if I could share it. Erris McCullough is going through chemo treatments (as another dear friend recently did). For me, various intangibles are evoked in Erris' piece. Intangibles can't be explained or proved: how synchronicity follows commitment, how healing happens, how life will bring us to our purpose, how spirit or drala is evoked.

Setting: The piece begins with a few paragraphs that describe the comic challenges of trying to accomplish an errand amidst multiple misunderstandings; the chemo has produced sores in Erris' mouth and she can barely talk, much less explain (revenge on a Gemini, she admits).

by Erris McCullough

Today in Humboldt it started. The heavy rain, drizzling now, predicted to last a week.

I walked all the way around the hospital parking lot to Radiation/oncology yesterday. Felt very strong. Couldn't talk, so I asked my sister (who was just laying down on the east coast to sleep off a flu) to call them. She jumped the gun and called the chemo nurse (wrong department, I wanted help with the sores on my bottom, that's more radiation's expertise) who sent her to the infusion department who she babbled to (their phone is right there in the suite where they are treating people. In her words ___has to Maam me to shut me up).

Finally someone called the nurse I had wanted her to call (I was texting the number while she did all this, interrupting my text with multiple messages as to responses of all) finally got it through to her, after she actually had reached the proper nurse and that nurse was calling the social worker to see if she could pick up what I was willing to go get but had to wait to see if I needed to pee first (I call only do that at home still, need supports for pain etc).

A lot of confusion all because I don't know how to imbed a ph number into a text on my little $20 phone. Finally I knew I was clear for a good 1/2 hr to hr and took some painkiller for my mouth and set off with sticky notes and pain to communicate in hand.

I went right into the nurse's station uninvited since the receptionist (lovely Kathy!!!) was busy with a foreign doctor. Funny how many docs are men, definitely have that sort of commanding (literally) presence. Not bad, just interesting.

So leslie gave me a few supplies (the problem has been sores getting more painful, using natural remedies for and doing all I can to keep them clean and avoid infection getting out of hand. It's amazing how little they have, but a lot of that is because I'm allergic to so much (as are most of the nurses), i.e., latex, nitrile, soy. It's this tricky balance because if something goes off the immune system is suppressed by the chemo for they say up to 6 weeks but the most just now.

If I didn't have alternative medicine, what would I do? Inconceivable. The basis of all this healing now is Reiki, daily. And my patient friend keeps giving it to me, and my community of practitioners, 3/4 in particular, are sending to me, some of them daily. Of course for some people all of that they wil attribute to placebo effect. But it is quite clear that it is much more than that, I now know even deeper from this experience. I remember when 5 in my family received Reiki from my teacher and were treating my father in his time of need, and the doubting most intelligent and highly logical brother said something in protest to this voo doo, when my other brother said, "Well right now I'm just interested in what works." That's how it is, you know it works, you're so glad that hospitals are welcoming it and seeing its effects, but also just want to use what works, because there is so much suffering in this world.

The last Reiki circle I attended was almost all nurses. Sweet.

I have been called for years to work with "terminally" ill patients (oh the power of those words!). Then I was presented by life with four different people near and dear to me, and was able to treat them into the last days and hours of their lives, and I saw again that "maybe somebody was trying to tell me something." Healing, anyone who has worked in healing knows the difference between the words "cure" and "heal". I have been blessed by healing throughout this cure process.

I have respect now for the place of modern medicine in this world. Not that I ever doubted it, but of course I've had the good fortune to have been introduced to holistic healing at a young age. Modern medicine took out my bursting appendix, modern medicine cured me when I had fever convulsions, modern medicine cured my daughter when she has had tumors. Now it's up to us to do the deeper work.

I love the Tibetan levels of definition of illness: some is not deep in cause, (for instance environmentally caused illnesses like some cancers) so can be easy to cure. Others are a little deeper, and then there are some that are karmic, and much meditation and inner work is needed to purify that karma. Those, I believe, are the really transforming illnesses. The ones such as mine, right now, where you wake up and have the vision of a new way of living and start acting on it. One little way I've started is to do a complete body relaxation every day at least once-lay down, and don't react to thoughts, anything. It's like what happens when I receive Reiki or give self treatment, but the difference is that even giving self treatment, there is a subtle level of doing (OK maybe not in that blessed time when one falls asleep and awakens in 1/2 hr or whatever time was needed and feels like one has slept better than in weeks.) This is like a different shamatha (ed. Tibetan, calm abiding; the foundation of mindfulness meditation ). I had been trying to figure out how to practice "sitting " when laying down. Then somehow I got it. The shamatha part of it is the body awareness. Simple. I know it's not something new, it's more like returning to the beginning. Yay.

OK, now gotta do more salves/baths/ointments/ and rest. What a joy to have the energy to do self care, and to let go of living in fear of the intensity of the inevitable pain on top of the low level of irritation. And to have the support of a global community - healers, educators,friends, family, fellow humans. Time for an Amen!!!E ma Ho! Alhamdulila!


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