Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mistletoe and Healing

It was not until I had spent some time in Järna that I began to understand that it is possible for buildings to have a nurturing or healing quality. This understanding occurred through my experiencing calmness in this place, through my sense of ease.
Gary J. Coates,architect

And it was not until I came across this video on mistletoe, that I was brought back to something I’d noticed long ago: that simply sitting and being with a homeopathic medicine can nurture and calm my soul.
I realize now, this is a version of Adyashanti’s teaching and admonition: If you want to become enlightened, hang out with enlightened people, or enlightened mountains and trees and lakes.

The past few weeks I have been like a woman possessed to find a cure for cancer.  Not for the entire world, but simply for dear Evie.  I have come to believe that just as every individual awakens in their own particular manner, each cancer survivor, each person who makes it after Statistics and Medicine have said there is no hope – each person who heals finds a way forward uniquely for themselves.  It may be Qigong, it may be some other renegade molecularly based therapy… but in each case, it becomes their own revelation.  And yet, this unique path is based upon a universal.
Something moves from deep inside.
Something moves from Silence.
This is a beautiful video about mistletoe and the love and attention people put into transforming this plant into a medicine called Isacador.  I never knew such care is taken.  This video stopped my frazzled searching cold.  It returned me to a centered silence.  And so, I want to share it.
But don’t click on it grabbing for transcendence.
Simply rest a moment in the feel, the images, the yin and yang and weave of plant and sky and people.
Take it as a work of art – not as medicine.

And if you still want more (as I did) continue on along to visit the medical clinic at Jarna.  A community now comprised of 3000 people living lives centered on the philosophy of scientist and mystic, Rudolph Steiner.

Architects  Gary and Susanne Coates  provide this description on Jarma in Journal of Healthcare Design, vol. 8, 1998: (I’ve edited it for brevity)
What if we had an architecture whose forms, surfaces, materials, character, moods, and so on, were derived from the same principles that underlie the forms and processes that we respond to so positively in nature itself? What if we had an organic architecture that was truly functional and spoke to the needs of the whole human being? This is what the architect Asmussen offers us Jarna.

Asmussen is now an extraordinary 82-year-old man. He rides his bicycle from the apartment in which he lives through a beautiful garden landscape to the office in which he works. I have seen him turn compost heaps eight hours a day, on a Sunday, just to relax. He's Danish by birth, was educated in Denmark, moved in 1939 to Stockholm just before World War II began. He met his wife there and he has lived in Sweden ever since.

I should have mentioned before that Asmussen has followed the impulses of the Austrian scholar, scientist, artist, clairvoyant, and spiritual researcher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who founded anthroposophy, which is both a body of knowledge covering the whole of life and a spiritual path for the direct attainment of such knowledge. The entire community of which Asmussen is a part and for which he has designed comprises people, organizations, and initiatives that have been inspired by the ideas, writings, and research of Steiner.

I noticed an attentiveness to all different kinds of details at the clinic.
The sewage treatment garden is one of the most beautiful aquatic gardens I have ever seen. It comprises seven ponds in which communities of plants and other organisms digest the human wastes of the college.

The care that is lavished on the chickens, who live in beautifully designed wooden houses surrounded by sculptures created by students, gives some sense of the care with which Vidarkliniken itself is designed. Even the plants are thought about and cared for in a way that is most uncommon. Once we saw one of the gardeners planting flowers around a manhole in one of the vegetable fields and asked him why he was doing this, and he said, "Well, I got to thinking about the carrots and the cabbages and how they put so much energy into making food for us that they don't have enough energy left to make flowers, so I thought I should plant flowers for the cabbages and carrots to enjoy."

When this kind of attention is given to all the beings and processes in a landscape, it becomes a living environment that quite literally radiates those same qualities back to people.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Softening into the Sacred

People are scared of their own experience… its really fascinating how much time is spent not to experience what is truly here, not to feel. And of course we are trained like that in the Western world… “don’t be a cry baby”… But, sooner or later life will really help us to learn to experience.
Marlies Cocheret, My Biggest Love is Silence interview

As I typed out this quote once again I was reminded of the difficulty my dyslexic brain has in distinguishing between “scared” and “sacred.” It always brings me to a complete stop. Which word have I written? So I have to slowly sound them out.

I get scared a lot these days. And too, these days are so filled with the sacred. There is this yin yang dance between the two.

Two weeks ago Eve’s PET scan showed her lymphoma was progressing. She had delayed the 3 month follow up an extra month for several reasons. But, in the end she had to look. And once again, in the midst of all our efforts and confidence in our therapeutic choices, we got thrown back. The hot spots are getting larger around her heart and throat and lungs.

Throughout these past two years we’ve been getting these reports that seem to temporarily knock our knees out from under us. And each time, we’ve stood back up. Having reviewed all the data on all the therapeutic options we’ve picked a good one and have launched upon an new effort. What I am noticing this time is that the good options seemed to have run out. Though I still love and respect the modified Gerson regime! It’s just that is doesn’t seem to be quite enough.

What I have begun to notice in my searching is that external efforts (therapies, be they chemo or nutritional) carry one huge side benefit: you can tell yourself, “I am doing something!”
And when these options run their course, what are we left with then? Man, it stares you in the face and scares you stiff:

There’s nothing I can do.

Well, they say there are no atheists in fox holes. And the time Evie spent in a southern clinic offering alternative therapies introduced her to many Christians placing all their hopes in Jesus. It made her uncomfortable. But, choice of words can do that.

So here’s another way to say it. When external options drop off, we are left only with the internal.
And, when external doing all drops off you have almost by definition transcended and landed in the sacred.
Or, as Marlies Cocheret says:
My essential focus is Stillness; it permeates all my work. That is the only Reality there is. When we deeply know that, there is absolutely nothing we need to control anymore.

I like those words a lot. It locates the sacred within Stillness and complete relinquishing of control- in short, not doing . And yet, it is her work – her doing. Which, to translate back into the more traditional way to put it: God helps those who help themselves.

I looked up the word "surrender" yesterday. There are two flavors to the meaning. It can mean defeat, becoming a prison to oppression. But, it can also mean the giving of oneself to something greater. It is this later possibility that Marlies addresses. When there is no longer a need to control, transcendence can be invited into a new manner of expression.  Marlies and tradition calls this embodiment.

She describes a common experience of spiritual seekers: I found it and then I lost it. Yes, we can connect with Unboundedness. We can get a peek. But then we lose it. In fact, Evie has said that back in January she felt something inside her break and then for awhile everything was fine inside. “And then, I lost it.” I know exactly what she means, because it’s a lesson for me too.
It’s a lesson my entire family is being invited to take up.

And so, this morning I came across this Interview of Marlies. I’ve only had time to listened to the first half hour, but it was just too good to pass-up sharing.