Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grief, Part II: the Crucifixion

Canvas D
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

Pat had gotten up from the table, for a moment, leaving Becky and me quietly digesting. We’d been talking about their life in Mexico.
“What was Becky doing there?” She didn’t know. She only knew it was important, the next step for her spiritually.
Then out of that silent pause, I was looking up from my plate, eyes all watery.
The softest, most unanticipated thought had just surprised me and was settling upon my lips, “I’m dying.”
The tears were an expression of the gentle sweetness of this new understanding.
I hesitated. Was this the time to speak it out?
No – that would require too many words, words that were better left to others:

But, as even the personal man is much more than the physical body, the price goes deeper than the body.
There is a kind of dying, proceeding in the midst of continued bodily existence.
Doubtless it is but natural that the personal nature should dread all this and, in a measure, grieve. For here we have the true meaning of the crucifixion….

Awakening calls for a profound, though possibly subtle, virility…
A fire descends and consumes the personal man.
For a time, short or long, this Fire continues.
The personal man is the fuel, and the fuel, in greater or lesser measure, does suffer.
But the fire does not destroy; it simply transforms.
Franklin Merrill-Wolff, Experience and Philosophy

I bet that everyday, somewhere in Mexico, there is a re-enactment of the crucifixion.
Earlier at dinner, we spoke of how the myths that really catch on are the stories that hold true on many levels.
Now that Becky lives part of every month in the land where she was born, Jesus finally made sense to her.
In Mexico, Catholic cathedrals were put in place right over Aztec pyramids.
This is a people who know all about human sacrifice.
And here I had told them about the words of Merrill-Wolff regarding crucifixion.

But, I hadn’t mentioned why I was rereading him.
I have been watching this grief inside me, wondering if the energy/emotion will resolve before it actually shreds my heart. Sometimes it has felt fairly nip and tuck.
The aneurysm they found in January, right where the aorta ascends from my heart, is obviously bulging from the strain.
“Hypertension,” they say. And there are all kinds of calculations as to the chance of rupture, and all kinds of drugs to swallow.

Here too, a story holds on many levels.
How will it all play out?
How much of me is dying?
And what will be the price?
Not that it really matters.
I am ready to pay anything… almost.

My final word on this particular subject is: I sought a Goal the existence of which I had become convinced was highly probable. I succeeded in finding this Goal, and now I KNOW, and can also say to all others: “IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH ANYTHING THAT IT MAY COST, AND IMMEASURABLY MORE.”
Franklin Merrell-Wolff, speaking of his own enlightenment.


Beth said...

Pat, I'm not sure what to say here, and I'm even a little confused as to whether this is about you or about a third person. If it is about you, then clearly you're undergoing a huge passage. As I understand Vedanta - there is nothing to fear. But of course - we do feel afraid, no matter what. These are metaphysical issues, and of primary importance. On the physical level, though, is this condition not operable or treatable? I will keep you in my thoughts.

Pat Bralley said...

Hi Beth,
Yes. This is about me and apologies for writing in a confusing manner. I realized too, after I’d posted the entry that I’d neglected to mention a huge component to this kitchen table epiphany. The thought “I’m dying” clearly referred to ego and not body. This answered what I’d been wondering about – and that got lost in what I wrote. Although at this point I am content to simply be getting off a post again.

Actually, there’s not so much fear or grief these days – much more peace and an emptiness (in a good sense), but my body is a drag. Since the aneurysm is small, there’s only about a 1-2% chance of rupture versus an 8% chance of mortality/morbidity with operating. So it’s wait and watch and control blood pressure. Six months into this we have yet to really bring my BP down enough, and I find the drugs real bears to tolerate.