Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sailing Off The Edge

Bath Tub Truth
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
There’s a phenomenon happening in the world today.
More and more people are waking up – having real, authentic glimpses of reality.
By this I mean that people seem to be having moments where they awaken out of their familiar senses of self, and out of their familiar senses of what the world is, into a much greater reality…
Adyashanti, The End of Your World

They (the doctors) will tell you, they will practically shout: “There is a cure. Do this!”
But, if I read the data carefully I cannot find this “fact.”

Instead, I find right in black and white and I am practically quoting here:
Doctors treating Hodgkins make assumptions the greatest being that chemo followed by stem cell transplant is better than chemo alone.
Read on down and they also put it bluntly: there is no modern study that proves this.
And then, they try to explain why overall survival is not improved… 40-50% of transplants relapse; regular chemo can produce multiple remissions, but they do not hold.
The statistics become a mess. The news is not that good.

But, Eve has to make a choice and so we continue reading.
I am used to reading “the literature.”
I am used to the tedious flipping back and forth between the first page and the fourth or third and double checking references.
Science literature is not read in a relaxing armchair. It is attacked at your desk with a pen and calipers and an intellect that would vivisect a kitten.
But, I am totally surprised that in cancer new articles appear daily.

So now, I can get pissed when a doctor says he’ll give oral busulfan when intravenous is proven better.
All the facts keep changing, ever changing.

I am not used to knowing the latest before the doctors can switch their routines – not when a loved one’s life may depend upon what’s new.
At times it feels like we’ve sailed off the edge of the world
Into this Void of No One Knows.

If you read back through this blog you’ll find a trail of rants as to “reality” and “knowing” or “not knowing.”
But, these past few weeks Eve and her Hodgkins seem to have transposed that spiritual lesson into such a nitty-gritty reality that previous struggles seem like pie in the sky indulgence.

Or, maybe they were just a prelude.

We (the world) know so much.
The world is truly linking up to form a new collective consciousness that can tackle problems. No one person can think it through. Not with cancer.
The factoids float. They swarm. They flood and overwhelm.

All these facts somehow have to come together or at least get waded through.
How do we part the waters?

We (the world) know so much…and I am only led to realize: No one knows!
Not really.
All we can do is slip a foot forward through the muddy waters and test to see if slippery rocks beneath feel steady enough to bear our weight.
One step forward, does it feel all right?

It has to be a feeling, not a certainty or fact.
Cause no one really knows.

Get used to it.
Get used to it and where that leaves you.

We have sailed off the edge.
The bottom has dropped out.
And where are we now?

Sit quietly (I know that is not easy)
But, sit quietly.

Sail off the edge…
into the lap of God.

…what is experienced, if it is a true awakening, is the same: all is one; we are not a particular thing or a particular someone that can be located in a particular space;
what we are is both nothing and everything, simultaneously.
Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Saturday, August 14, 2010

No One Particular

This muggy summer morning on my back deck I wrote more contributions to the apparently on-going series “Bad Poetry.”
If you’d prefer a real poem, I invite you to go here: Sondra Gash’s Rugelah, 5 a. m.
or, stay here and proceed forewarned.

No One Particular
You needn’t be anyone particular
to hear cicadas in the summer, that buzz
upon the air crescendo diminution
here, there, and once again
you needn’t be anyone.

Cicadas sing not to “his wife” nor “her mother”
but to you the you before all That
to This.
transparency to transparency
without particulars
you can become the details

Well, that didn’t really do it for me, so I sat there a while longer and came up with this.

The Fool
The knot upon my wrist says “arthritis.”
I say, Oh no! When did that happen?
When did I grow old? And will it hurt? And
what will I do now
now that I am old and no longer young and
able. Able to be foolish and so full of life –
Was I ever that? That full, I mean.
Certainly I was foolish.
Hell, I still am and shall always be.
Oh! To capture youth in foolishness.
Surely we can all do this.
Surely we shall remain capable and able
and perhaps more perfect in our foolishness
as we grow old.

No more denial. Self aware: The Fool.
Now isn’t that an archetype – the old, old
fool you meet upon the road and only
later wonder, “Who was that masked man?”
A fool certainly; a sage, a saint perhaps?

I hear laughter coming from the woods, somewhere
deep inside the woods, somewhere I
cannot yet venture.
I must grow older before I’ve strength to go there.

With thanks to HystericalBoredom for the video.
She understands.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Baker & Rosemary
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I had walked the halls and returned to my desk still ill at ease and at a loss for what to do.
(Sometimes in the lab, there are these waiting days.) And I Googled around a bit to no avail still left which such unease. Until I realized, “I am waiting.”
We all are waiting. That’s all there is to do for now and then finally, next week Eve will have the scan and biopsy and then we’ll know.
Then there will be things to do and we will feel better, or we will feel worse.
But at least we won’t be waiting.

So, I decide to Google “waiting poem” and got a surprising number of hits.
I started checking links and the poems just didn’t seem to do it until I got to this one:

In the Waiting Room
by Elizabeth Bishop

In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist's appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist's waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark
early. The waiting room
was full of grown-up people,
arctics and overcoats,
lamps and magazines.
My aunt was inside
what seemed like a long time
and while I waited I read
the National Geographic
(I could read) and carefully
studied the photographs:
the inside of a volcano,
black, and full of ashes;
then it was spilling over
in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson
dressed in riding breeches,
laced boots, and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole
--"Long Pig," the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads
wound round and round with string;
black, naked women with necks
wound round and round with wire
like the necks of light bulbs.
Their breasts were horrifying.
I read it right straight through.
I was too shy to stop.
And then I looked at the cover:
the yellow margins, the date.
Suddenly, from inside,
came an oh! of pain
--Aunt Consuelo's voice--
not very loud or long.
I wasn't at all surprised;
even then I knew she was
a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed,
but wasn't. What took me
completely by surprise
was that it was me:
my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all
I was my foolish aunt,
I--we--were falling, falling,
our eyes glued to the cover
of the National Geographic,
February, 1918.

I said to myself: three days
and you'll be seven years old.
I was saying it to stop
the sensation of falling off
the round, turning world.
into cold, blue-black space.
But I felt: you are an I,
you are an Elizabeth,
you are one of them.
Why should you be one, too?
I scarcely dared to look
to see what it was I was.
I gave a sidelong glance
--I couldn't look any higher--
at shadowy gray knees,
trousers and skirts and boots
and different pairs of hands
lying under the lamps.
I knew that nothing stranger
had ever happened, that nothing
stranger could ever happen.

Why should I be my aunt,
or me, or anyone?
What similarities--
boots, hands, the family voice
I felt in my throat, or even
the National Geographic
and those awful hanging breasts--
held us all together
or made us all just one?
How--I didn't know any
word for it--how "unlikely". . .
How had I come to be here,
like them, and overhear
a cry of pain that could have
got loud and worse but hadn't?

The waiting room was bright
and too hot. It was sliding
beneath a big black wave,
another, and another.

Then I was back in it.
The War was on. Outside,
in Worcester, Massachusetts,
were night and slush and cold,
and it was still the fifth
of February, 1918.

I just blatantly share the whole poem here. I hope Ms Bishop doesn’t mind. She died in 1979.

I think her poem got to me because she tumbles through time and self so.
I have been reviewing old family photos and diaries this past week; discovering my own history and have found it quite disorienting…

Waiting… for greater transparency of self.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What to Say?

black stone
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I’ve been focused on the “Direct Path” for some time now, but with Eve’s getting sick I have been brought round again to my Taoist practices.
What Eve needs right now is to be able to center emotionally and to move the energy that clogs her meridians.
Qigong and acupuncture were discovered by the Taoist.
So, I have returned to those practices of my Teacher, Wong Loh Sin See, which
can look at times surprisingly shamanic.

Last week, I was shown how to “channel my higher self.”
I didn’t really know what to expect.
And from a Direct Path/Non-dual perspective it doesn’t even make all that much sense since I think of higher self as “Nothing” .
But, I was curious to give it a shot.

What emerged was this rather gnarled old persona, missing a few teeth, and somewhat the trickster. I watched from somewhere “in the back” as this fellow spoke with other people in our group. He shed tears easily and rolled with laughter even more readily. He also offered a healing touch.
When he wanted to refer to me, I was, “What’s Her Name.”
It felt good to let him just roll on.
I felt connected to love and softness, silliness and wisdom.
But, it’s raised a number of questions and emotions.

Anyway, I haven’t posted anything in awhile and have no idea of what to say.
So, I thought I’d give “What’s His Name” a chance.
I got a notebook & pen, sat out on my back deck this morning – and let him roll.
I enjoyed the process. Here he refers to me as “She”.
I have absolutely no idea if any of this is of any use and find it somewhat embarrassing.
But, what the heck?
I’ll put it in bold, cause it was written from a different place than usual (maybe).

Why don’t you have faith and relax?
All the sages through the ages (you like that phrase?)
All the sages through the ages have told you one thing: There is a God.

All right, two things: It will be alright.

And your little heads have got it all knotted up!
“I!” it screams.
“Aye, aye, aye it won’t be! Something might happen.”

Well, of course something’s gonna happen. How else can the world turn, the galaxies spin on their axes, a caterpillar spin its cocoon?
You want to miss all that? I don’t think so.

Oh, you see? I used that word “I.” Don’t be afraid of it!
Right now, just now you have a body. Enjoy it.
You are an “I” for all intents and purposes under the sun.
Isn’t there a song like that? (Well, there should be.)
You are an “I.”
Oh yeah,
“I am the eye in the sky…” there’s the song!

You are the eye in the sky – that means you are body and also infinite.
Be with that.
And don’t worry, fuss, and fight.

How? How? Always with the how! (my Jewish persona comes through, see?)
How to be both you and the infinite?
Ha! I’ve debated the answers, but will go with this: You got to cry your eyes out.
I like that.
Cry your “I’s” out.

First I was going to say, “Cry your heart out,” but I changed that to “eyes” and then that made a good pun.
I like that! Puns are stupid. Her father used to say, “Puns are the lowest form of humor.”
But you know, they capture a flip-flop. They tell you, “This is also That.”
So, they are these little spiritual lessons slipped to us so we don’t even notice.

I like that. You see, the Universe is whispering and leading you every little moment, all along, so that you don’t even notice.
And now, I am crying, softly.
It’s all so beautiful and gentle, and you never even notice.

So, what to do?
After you’ve cried your eyes out, open them!
Ha, ha! I think that is either quite poetic or quite ghastly!
I see eyes in the palm of your hand and you saying, “Open, open.”

You see? I am not a very good teacher.
(She can’t seem to find any either though she combs the internet.)

Why don’t you be your own teacher?
It’s all inside you. Just face the right direction. Turn, turn. That’s your responsibility: to be open.
And don’t lose faith. All is well.
You needn’t change a thing. It will change all by itself. Just notice what your heart compels – Do That.

Yes, I’m talking to you!

Talking to you and me both.
Is that another pun, or paradox, or truth?
I think so.