Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Day 3 hopping along, full of beans...

Last night I had a perfect nights sleep. Before sleeping my body underwent some violent shaking which I completely surrendered to. It starts gentle and then gets quite intense. Its power seems to start from the stomach. I notice that if I lie in a certain way and pull in my stomach muscles that I can now start this process by myself. However when I do this and stop it myself the jerking and trembling will begin again without my input. I feel sure that there is a connection between this and how well I have felt since having this operation. It will be interesting tomorrow when I return to the hospital and they tell me how well I am healing.

I am a little apprehensive also. When they wheeled me back to the ward, I looked down at my bandaged foot. I was disappointed to see that my toe was not completely straight. This was the whole purpose of this operation to have a straight toe. I noticed that the toe of the lady in the bed next to me was straight. Then I remembered my spiritual training that everything is complete whole and perfect and the way it is meant to be. However I could not resist saying to the surgeon when I saw him 'the toe is still not straight'. To which he replied 'it was straight when you left theatre'. I felt like saying 'well I haven't been dancing!' but this again would have been a retort from my ego and not the Soul.

The Soul makes known the concern but when met with a defensive response does not retaliate. In everything that happens in life and in every encounter with a person there is the opportunity for a spiritual lesson to be learned and as a result for the consciousness to expand. Every time I discipline the ego not to react defensively I create more calm and ease for myself. But this is a slow process. It doesn't happen over night. We live in a society where everything is instant. The expectation of the spiritual is that it is also instant but this far from the case.

The very nature of the process means that it cannot be instant. If it were instant the body and mind could not withstand the power of the force that is unleashed upon it. I will use the analogy of giving adult food to a baby. The baby has gradually to be given solid then adult food otherwise it is too much for the developing system. It is the same with humans and the spiritual. The baby food for the spiritual tends to come from religion which has its rules and rituals and introduces people to another dimension gently. For some the split will then be made from religion to spiritual and then the inner journey begins in earnest. This is both the beauty and frustration of this path. I know just how gradual the results are. I am also aware of the consequences that are likely to arise from forcing the process. The safest way to journey on the spiritual path is to plod slowly and steadily through the 3 stages of:

1. Knowing thyself
2. Knowing The Self
3. Knowing the One and to do this with child-like curiosity, faith and without attachment to the outcome. This desire without attachment is a difficult concept to understand. To want something more than anything else but to do the practices and training for the sake of doing them not because of wanting a certain result. Everything on this path must be unconditional, conditions kill the process. Conditions always involve the ego which is why they must be rooted out from the spiritual path.

The easiest way I can think of to explain this is when I travelled to India for three months in 1997 to track the life of the Buddha. I didn't admit it to myself but I was thinking 'if I make this huge sacrifice, leave my job and friends and everything that is familiar and go and do this then I am bound to be rewarded by being given deeper spiritual understandings and experiences'. I was bargaining yet I would not admit that to myself. My thinking was 'I'll do this, then you'll do that'. Again this YOU is my undefined 'SOMETHING.

I set off for India and completed my mission which included a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Bodhgaya where the Buddha became enlightened. When I returned to London I found to my disappointment that I had not progressed in my spiritual understandings. I didn't feel I was at any point on the mystical path. For a minute I felt betrayed by this force that I had made this bargain with. Then it dawned on me what I had done and I felt so full of remorse and shame that I would have bargained in this way. That was when I heard either a loud thought or an inner voice saying in its usual authoritative way 'give it up'. I took this to mean all of the spiritual activities I had been doing since I was 11. I listened and obeyed. I concluded that my bargaining resulted in me being kicked off the path and I had to learn my lesson. You never bargain with 'SOMETHING'. All and every approach to the Divine has to come from me, time and time again from me. It has to be made unconditionally, playfully and sincerely.

I found yesterday to be a long day. The pain in my foot was quite intense and the tablets I had been prescribed caused me to feel nauseous. This is no surprise because I never take a tablet so to suddenly be assaulting my body with very strong painkillers was going to be a shock. This morning though I managed to achieve that beautiful state between sleeping and waking where my consciousness seemed to expand to meet the leaves and the trees that I can see outside my window. I had no pain in my foot, nor a reminder that it was bandaged or in any way hurt. In this state I and everything was whole, complete and perfect.

Then when I woke up again some time later the mind became involved and suddenly I was aware of pain. But where was the pain when the mind wasn't involved, it wasn't there! That is why I believe that pain is a mental state and why I am not taking any pain killers today. It might be the natural state of healing but there really is no pain today.

My friend came around last night with some freshly cooked dinner and some other people called and it was a lovely evening. I consciously brought into being my wish for people leaving me to be happy and I think I pulled it off. I am not egotistical enough to think that I am can cause another to be happy. But every time we forget ourselves and enter fully and completely into the life of another this is felt by the other and uplifts. I have found this that if I am feeling down I will usually give £1 to a person who is homeless selling a magazine. The warmth and gratitude shown by them is enough to lift my mood completely.

The most powerful example of this I can retell is from when I worked one Christmas as a volunteer for CRISIS. This is a voluntary organisation that works with the homeless in London. I volunteered to work in their alcoholic shelter. When I was there I got to speak to a man who had been married but through a combination of the abuse of drinks and drugs had lost everything and was on the streets. He told me how he had been approached by a young girl one evening who was desperate for some drugs. He only had enough for himself but he was so moved by her that he gave her his supply. He said to me 'as I did this, I felt something move within me'.

He said that he went and got some more drugs but found that he couldn't take them and threw them into the Thames. One evening he was sitting in a doorway and this guy handed him a leaflet. Let's call the homeless guy Mark. Mark said 'it's no good giving that to me mate I can't read or write' The other guy said 'would you like to learn'. Mark said 'yes' and so for the next 11 months this guy travelled to London to teach Mark how to read and write. At the end of it he asked him to join what turned out to be some religious organisation. Mark said 'no, it doesn't feel right for me to do that'. Now he writes the most beautiful poetry about what life is like on the street.

The last I heard of him was that he was reading English literature in Cambridge. This brought home to me just how powerful the results are when you forget about yourself and enter into someone Else's world. I continue to be inspired by this true life story. That is why I never begrudge doing anything for another because I know that it will always come back to me and in ways that are more powerful than I have given it. This is a universal law that will work in the same way each and every time. Kindness and goodness to another is never left unrewarded.

I think I've exhausted my blog entry for now. I'm going to read some more of Etty Hillesum......It's so quiet and still in my environment as I write this. There is no activity on the road. I have hardly ever had a day off work so it all feels a bit weird and quiet.

No comments: