Friday, February 04, 2011

I am Surrender

Blue Buddha, Red Ball
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
One night not long after my twenty-nineth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of the train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence…

Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void…
Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now, describing his awakening.

Evie couldn’t sleep the other night. Pumped full of steroids and chemo there was good reason for her body to be freaking.
From the beginning of her struggle against cancer I have wondered about the mindset we bring to this disease.
On the one hand there is the “the fight” that needs waging and even the governmentally sanctioned, “War on Cancer.”
On the other hand, there is the tenet “That which we resist persists.”

I feel like we’ve been walking a line between these two extremes.
Yes, resources must be gathered: logistics, plans, hard decisions made. A strong fighting spirit can do this well. Yet, even from the get-go we’ve been amazed by how useful knowledge and helpful connections have arrived with stunning synchronicity.
We can’t take credit for this grace.

Nevertheless, in organic disease things happen physically. Solid matter has to move and shift. Drugs are lowering the boom. There are reasons for Eve’s body to be freaking.
The question is, does putting your shoulder against the boulder and fully engaging the task at hand have to be a war?
Must Evie herself go to war; or can she leave that battle to her body?
How can Eve’s spirit support her body?
Curiously, by recognizing that ultimately, there is no war. There is nothing to resist.

Recently, I read the story of a women who went into a medical crisis.
During pre-eclampsia she developed the HELLP syndrome: hemolysis of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes (her liver ruptured), platelet count drops.
She describes it with these words:

In excruciating pain and knowing that both the baby and I might not survive… there was nothing else to do, but to be present.
I told the nurse, "Acceptance of what is, whether it is what we want or not, is critical."
She said, "You don't understand, you're dying." I assured her I understood fully and asked her to be as still as she could.
She asked if I wanted last rites.

Metta practice was directed to everyone helping and to all suffering beings. Then came the ultimate challenge. I had to, in order for us to live, open up to death itself, for even the most microscopic form of resistance would kill us both. I was emptied of all fears, past and future. And in so doing, I was set free to choose to stay in this manifestation or to not…
Signed, An average, but sincere student of Vipassana since my first retreat at the Tao Center in Winona, MN. (see personal experiences)

Once at a retreat with Adya, a woman got up to say that she had realized that surrendering was not something you could do or practice.
I sure agreed with that. How many times have I tried and failed to “just let go,” or to even simply “STOP”?
Then, the woman said something that amazed me.
She said she had discovered that, “I am surrender.”
And Adya, not at all surprised, said, “Yes! That is another name for who you really are.”

These days, I guess that also means that Surrender is simply another name for God.
Let your Surrender cradle your body.
And Evie is learning this in her apprenticeship.
She felt it last night as we sat in our circle.


Pincushion said...

How amazing you should say this..for something like this 'happened' to me too..the words just appeared like a neon light..blazing in my head...

my love to you and evie..


Pat Bralley said...

Oh, how nice for you to share this. It makes me laugh too... SEE! We're not just making this stuff up. It's True! :)