Thursday, August 11, 2011
"Dial 911!" vs. "I need do nothing"
I was Mohammed Ali boxing with my ego -- fear, rage, guilt, and more fear -- daily. Constantly. It was exhausting. My ego, I see, loved it.
But the Holy Spirit was in there somewhere, too. Eventually the washer spin-cycle that was my out-of-control emotional life would stop, and there I'd be...totally drained, but quiet for a bit. Finally. He'd be waiting in the Quiet for me to Join him...me all bedraggled and wrung out, and Him with that happy, goofy Smile.
It was so hard back then. (Did I mention it was "interesting?") All the external sources of comfort and safety and reliability and trust seemed to be failing me in some critical way. Right when I needed them the most. One part of me got very strong very fast -- the mask -- so I could do what needed to be done to save a life, my son's. (What a joke...I must pause to laugh...my son was really saving ME!) But another part of me felt like I was going crazy.
Me: "God (that's how I called Him back then).....I don't know where to turn. Help me! Every place I look I see threats and danger and accusation. Here I am facing a serious life-and-death crisis, and I'm having to do it all alone! I feel so darn alone, that I can't stand it. I might die of this alone-ness. Tell me what to do!"
Holy Spirit: "Remember when you were a kid at the carnival? Remember those Fun Houses, where you'd stand in front of the mirrors and see all the strange reflections? Well, kiddo, you are back in a house of mirrors."
Me: "Well, get me the heck out of here!"
H.S.: "Let's just look together for a moment, shall we? What did you used to have to do to walk yourself out of the house of mirrors.....think for a minute."
I put myself in a hall of mirrors in my mind. I noticed how my attention wanted to be drawn to all the crazy images, but that if I went towards all the doorways "out there" my nose would smash hard into the mirror glass. To get out, if that's what I was ready for, I had to stop searching the reflections for the emergency exit.
Me: "Okay, I see....I mean, I know that my seeing is not working. I need to close my eyes to the reflections, and look down. Sorta inch my way...bit by bit...out of the building by staring at my feet and a few inches ahead."
H.S.: "Bingo! Try it!"
I didn't realize then that this was an early lesson in Quantum Forgiveness...the kind that rocks your world, or more accurately, undoes your belief in your mirror-hell world. It erases the past and the future in your mind. All that matters is where you and your feet and your Wanting are right this moment, and maybe just an inch or two into the future. You keep just enough future so you can function...so you can get up to get a glass of water and remember why you are standing in the kitchen. You keep just enough past to remember that glasses are very handy to put water in when you are thirsty. And you keep your Wanting strong. You put your attention on that desire for Peace. You feed your eyes with that.
There were a lot of touch-and-go moments with my baby Ray that year. During one of the last ones, he was intubated in ICU and things weren't looking good. Every single thing that could be done by me, his doctors, the world-reknown immunologists and bone marrow scientists that were advising us, the pain experts, lung experts, financial insurance experts, etc. had been done already. It dawned on me during this latest chapter of our crisis, that there was ...nothing. I. could. do. Nothing.
This was a terrible (ego) wonderful (Self) realization.
Somehow in my acceptance of the stark facts of the situation, a part of me cracked open like an egg. I felt this huge sense of Joy ooze out of me. From our ICU room (i.e. crisis headquarters), I sat next to my baby -- who had shrunk to about 12 pounds and looked absolutely lost in the giant bed with tubes and tape all over his face and body -- and I turned on the jazz music and a big Smile.
My favorite doctor -- the one who, when he first walked into our room, was an oxygen tank to my suffocating lungs -- thought the music was perfect. Why make the hospital into a morgue prematurely, right? Through his normal white-coat persona, I could feel the twinkle of deep soul, when he told me jokingly to pipe some down the hall way into the room where the toddler had been trying to pull his tubes out while listening to a fetal heartbeat recording his mom left running. (I think he was implying it was causal.)
Like a little H.S. "wink" of acknowledgement, Wonder Doctor also happened to be a friend of jazz great, Dizzy Gillespie, who went to his Baha'i church back east. I know only because after my fresh taste of oxygen, I asked him outright: "what do you do?!" He looked confused. I just stared. "No, really," I insisted, because I knew he knew what I was talking about. "I meditate," he confessed.
I KNEW IT! Give me some more....SNIFF.... I wanted to be hooked on whatever he did.
Anyway, back to the room, during the course of the day and night, when someone -- the nice lady that brought me my lattes, the guy who mopped at night, the social worker etc -- would ask me about my son, I would say -- with a slip of a Smile -- something that the Holy Spirit had told me through Amazing Mom down the hall, who had been seeing her toddler son through a ravaging cancer since he was born and had learned to ignore all the fancy stats that the experts would solemnly give her:
Me: "He has a 50-50 chance. Either he'll stay or he'll go."
Inside though I was singing off the rooftops to anyone who would listen, "Listen to the good news! It's a hopeless case!" I know that sounds SO odd...like maybe it was the ego attraction to death I wrote about. I did wonder at the time...just a little part of me wondered...am I really losing it? But this was True Joy. Just a taste.
I had given up fixing what can never be fixed -- this illusion, as symbolized in that moment by a "small defenseless dying baby who never hurt nobody and didn't deserve it." I didn't realize what I realized yet...totally. It's taken years -- until about 10 minutes ago -- to really get it.
So all my partners/collaborators in the Great Mind Reclamation Project "out there"-- Go be normal, of course! But just know you/I can't fix it. You want to have a relationship, career, kids, adventure, etc. so go ahead and have 'em all. Then when they start to suck in some way -- or better yet, even before they do -- let the Holy Spirit show you how to look through the projections you will undoubtedly see in all of these things. And then do the most radical, rule-bending thing you've ever done in your life (until now): Don't try to fix it. Or improve it. Or kill it off. Or rebirth it. Call off the 911 response team, the consultants, the witch doctors.
Just Accept it.
Doing this will grate on your personhood-ness like finger nails on the chalk board. Be uncomfortable if you happen to find yourself that way, but do it anyway. It's gonna feel weird, I promise you. But weird isn't necessarily wrong. Weird means, "This is new. This goes against my instincts, reflexes, conditioning." Good.
And maybe after all the "do nothing" business, you'll surprise yourself to find you have slipped quietly into the kitchen for a glass of water. Or you find a new job. Or you notice that you've changed the form of your relationship. Or something else. Whatever it is, It will be a Quiet something-else. It will just flow out of you as you flow from one Now moment to the next Now moment. No drama, no effort, no "doing" really. Just allowing.
We're blazing a trail through our mirrors, baby. This is Quiet inside work of Smiles and inching-feet. And Jazz.
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