An Annual Catharsis
For the past month or so, many people I associate with (and some of you readers) have been experiencing illness, depression, accidents, and other variations of “dis-ease”. When I was a kid, we called this “getting hit” (by life). In a couple of comments to people/posts I mentioned that it is as if this ‘village’ that I’ve become a part of is being inundated by a huge wave which is removing the debris within the village… and afterwards the inhabitants emerge to rebuild.
For some reason that I cannot quite define, I have a strong feeling that this is a “process” we are (may be) going through…
I won’t pretend to know enough to tell you why, but perhaps this will help…
When I was a boy I was sick quite often; spent many a day in bed, on the couch, or just feeling really lousy. Then, oh around 11 or 12, I was hospitalized twice – once to figure out why I kept getting sick and once for pneumonia. Both times I was laid up for 1-2 weeks. One thing I learned through all this was how to be ‘still’ – just be, and go through whatever I needed to go through. Don’t fight it but allow it to happen – live the experience.
Since then I’ve noticed that most years, at about this time (late September through mid October) I get sick & am laid up for about a week. Some years this doesn’t happen – I suspect because I’ve been ‘still’ enough & don’t need the break. Each year, after the illness (cold, flu, whatever) I find something deep within has changed… That’s why I’ve come to call this time/event ‘my annual catharsis’.
This year, for about the first half of the week, as I was lying in bed, a thought (you know, that almost halluncinatory thinking you do when ill?) kept popping into my mind, “Shed the bullshit.” It took a while but I did… I could actually picture (and feel) it running off me like dirty shower water.
When I felt better, and had caught up with everything, I took my usual day of rest and spent it looking at what had happened and where I was. Following is what I found…
I am standing in a desert, alone. Nothing around but sand as far as the eye can see.
A question pops up… What is here, now, in this desert where I stand? Sand… me… a completely clean slate.
I have to start someplace…
The desert is all there is… so start there…
The desert (Earth Mother) lies beneath my feet and supports me as I float in space.
I am a body (physical).
I have the breath of life (soul).
I think, so I have a brain (mind) – ‘human’ spirit, intelligence, ego.
There are feelings & emotions (heart).
And then there’s that still, small voice (non-ego) – conscience, sub-conscious.
There is more for me (Spirit Father, Yeshua, and Wisdom) – but this may not be relevant for you & that’s OK.
So here I am, a being standing in a desert… nothing around… Now what?
The above facets, properly balanced and aligned lead to an awareness that ‘is’. I can actually feel this awareness – being in this present moment. But what of the alignment? I discover that my ego fills my head and as I work on listening to the still, small voice I find that it has moved from ‘the sidelines’ to the front of the inside of my head – pushing ego to the back. When I am in balance, these two are about equal in size and volume. When ego ‘rules’ (as it has a habit of doing), the still, small voice cannot be heard and gets ‘squashed’ within a head that is too full of itself. As balance and alignment become more pronounced, all the different parts have equal ‘voice’. I see and understand that this is good.
OK… What’s next?
I add some green grass and a tree. As I study the tree, I see that it is beautiful – a marvelous miracle of life. So is each blade of grass. So is the desert. I realize that, in this context, these are holy and sacred gifts.
Then it occurs to me that perhaps I’ve had it backwards… it may be that the physical side of life is the first and primary phase of my existence… that the mental, spiritual, emotional sides are supplemental (in addition to) life in the physical world – not the other way around.
The main reason for this thinking is that everything around us ‘is’ – we had/have nothing to do with its existence… similarly everything within us is basically us – what we sense, think, feel – our own interpretation of what is around us.
In this sense, because nature or Earth Mother ‘is’ (without our input & regardless of how we feel or what we think), it is in a way ‘holy’.
If this is so, then I have a certain, serious, duty to respect Earth Mother (nature) as a primary and fundamental basis of/for life… which means that when I allow my other aspects (mental – esp. ego) to attempt to control nature or subdue it for my own ends (make stuff), I am in dangerous territory.
Hurting or misusing anything (in nature) is wrong – because all of nature is sacred.
Then I understood “Thou shalt not kill”… it means we are not allowed to harm a (physical) body exactly because it ‘is’ (exists) and therefore is holy (a gift of natural life). We may not destroy what we have not built.
Thus, I believe I (and many others) have had it backwards. The body is holy… the heart/soul/mind/ego/spirit that makes the ‘personality’ (which we can ‘create’ internally) and lives within the body determines the good or bad of the being… the body (created and essentially determined) is always good – because (ultimately) we do not (cannot) create it.
This led me to understand that most hurt/pain (war, abuse, pollution) is caused by a focus on the ego (and what it wants) as opposed to cherishing that which we cannot create but must appreciate – our physical bodies & support system (Earth Mother). Another way to put this is: the ego rules (or tries to rule) nature (& other physical bodies). [This is not to negate or deny our ability to ‘transcend’ all of this and thus ‘overcome’ the limitation.]
To put this another way: in a sense, creation is Love personified and ‘I’ am, well, just ‘me’ (a tiny part of creation).
-> Life -> gives & supports body, heart, soul, mind (ego)
-> ego wants -> ego gets -> ego changes/hurts/destroys Life.
Observe the child…
When a boy (being physical/natural/nature) takes a stick and uses it to bang upon a tree (minus anger), he is exercising his body and learning about his physical environment & presence. He is not harming the tree – and he instinctively knows that he will not – so to him it is OK. We adults try to stop him because… why?
Observe the adult…
When an adult (being ego) takes a chain saw to a tree and cuts it down so he can make some useless trinket, we applaud him… why?
Once I began to get a handle on these (almost overpowering) revelations, I thought I was ready for more…
I envisioned a person next to me… another being… how exquisite!… another being…
I’ll let you take it from here – with the hope that all this helps you comprehend what you may be going through…
In closing, I’d like to present this thought from the Moody Blues…
“After he had journeyed, his feet were sore, and he was tired.
And he came upon an orange grove and he rested.
And while he rested, he took to himself an orange,
And tasted it. And it was good.
He felt the earth through his spine, and he asked.
He saw the tree above him, and the stars,
And the veins in the leaf, and the light, and the balance
And he saw magnificent perfection.
Whereon he thought of himself in balance.
And he knew who he was.
And he thought of those he angered,
For he was not a violent man.
And he thought of those he hurt,
For he was not a cruel man.
And he thought of those he frightened,
For he was not an evil man.
And he understood, he understood himself, and upon this,
He saw that when he was of anger,
Or knew hurt, or felt fear,
It was because he was not understanding.
And he learned COMPASSION.
And with his eye of compassion,
He saw his enemies, like unto himself.
And he learned LOVE.
And then he was ANSWERED.
Just open your eyes and realize the way it’s always been.
Just open your eyes and realize the way it’s always been…”
– “The Balance” by the Moody Blues – 1971