Logos

When I received “Man’s Search for Meaning” (a book by Viktor E. Frankl) I immediately dove in – my dear friend, Zahara, had gifted me with a copy and informed me she would be reading it along with me.

Well, I should know better. My sensitivities to the horrors of Auschwitz always feels like I had been there in a past life, and just reading about it – I seem to re-live the events all over again.

For the first 40 pages, I thought, I am NOT going to get through this, this unimaginable, unthinkable, suffering.

I hoped that the eventual fruit of this torturous reading would be worth the trauma.

It was.

And no better moment to receive this wisdom – stuck in my own psycho drama … questioning life’s meaning … ready to throw in the towel and give up treatment … feeling loss of purpose … a mere Guinea pig for the cancer cartel. Thoughts like, I can’t go on like this anymore …. blah, blah, blah.

And what does life place in my lap? This gift from a man born in Vienna 1905, his meaningful message. His wisdom reaffirms the treasure my soul is quietly holding for me, patiently awaiting my recognition.

Below, an especially lovely excerpt that filled my heart with meaning:

“Let me recall that which was perhaps the deepest experience I had in the concentration camp. The odds of surviving the camp were no more than one in twenty eight, as can easily be verified by exact statistics. It did not even seem possible, let alone probable, that the manuscript of my first book, which I had hidden in my coat when I arrived at Auschwitz, would ever be rescued. Thus, I had to undergo and to overcome the loss of my mental child. And now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me; neither a physical nor a mental child of my own! So I found myself confronted with the question whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning.

Not yet did I notice that an answer to the question with which I was wrestling so passionately was already in store for me, and that soon thereafter this answer would be given to me. This was the case when I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn-out rags of an inmate who had already been sent to the gas chamber immediately after his arrival at the Auschwitz railway station. Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in a pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, containing the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael. How should I have interpreted such a “coincidence” other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?

A bit later, I remember, it seemed to me that I would die in the near future. In this critical situation, however, my concern was different from that of most of my comrades. Their question was, “Will we survive the camp? For, if not, all this suffering has no meaning.” The question which beset me was, “Has all this suffering, this dying around us, a meaning? For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends upon such a happenstance-as whether one escapes or not-ultimately would not be worth living at all.”

Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

I got my dreams back

I keep a dream journal.

It’s about a decade since the practice was first suggested by my yoga teacher, Gail (my very first teacher/guru).

I don’t think she’s aware how valuable that suggestion turned out for me.

I even created a website, The Yoga of Dreaming, where I document my dream/awake life happenings with intent to inspire a community of like-minded dreamers to participate.  The website is a work in progress, on hold at present, but I’ll return my energy to it when the time feels right.

Interestingly, about a week ago I noticed a long lapse of no dream recall. Like 3 or 4 weeks – no dreams!

What’s going on? I wondered. Could it be that Dream Tincture from the Columbia Care medical marijuana store?

The “pharmacist” at the medical marijuana store carefully selected just the right “medicine” for me based on my evaluation:

I’ve read the research on CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities. But I hate smoking pot … I get paranoid and can’t shut my mind down … the smoke hurts my lungs … I’ve tried the chocolate marijuana and had the same problem …  I need my rest at night, and what I’ve tried so far isn’t helping.

So he prescribed the Dream Tincture liquid:

A liquid drop each night before sleep – start by taking the smallest dose. A drop under the tongue, hold in mouth for a minute, swallow and you’ll be off to a night of sweet dreams.

After about 3 or 4 weeks of religiously taking my nightly dose, I noticed that I was indeed sleeping like a baby again. Quick to fall asleep, no tossing and turning.

But no dreaming …  WTF?

Hey, if this CBD is supposed to be healing for my inflammatory breast cancer that’s great – but if I’m never gunna dream again, fuck that!

So I stopped taking it.

My husband was flabbergasted by my decision. “You’re actually going to stop taking something you believe is healing for your cancer so you can remember your dreams?”

“Yes.” And exactly 3 days later my dream life resumed.

And the dream was a gem.  

I titled this dream Overcome with Joy:

               I witness what looked like a grocery store for elderly folk. I’m inside, observing the shoppers pushing their carts. I’m sensing the feeling of community and kindness among the customers. I watch my mother as she pushes her cart. Another shopper “finds” something and places it in Mom’s cart. I am aware that this item is something “special” and it is intended to be given to me as a gift. It’s a dish of food/dessert (?) with cellophane wrapping and a ribbon. I watch from afar. I know it’s for me. I can feel Mom’s thoughts. It’s a humble gift, but she looks forward to bestow this gift upon me and feels happy that she is able to do so. I begin to cry, at first uncontrollably, then with a smile and a feeling of overwhelming joy. I say to myself out loud through my tears, I am overcome with so much JOY!

There are really no words for the depth of love this dream imparted on my consciousness. Whether it was a literal “gift” from my mother’s consciousness to mine or a message from an unknown level of existence assuring me that this is the love that is the Reality of Life – and this is what it feels like.

I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I will never forget that feeling. And it was given as a gift in my dream.

the thief in the night

Of the many dreams I’ve recorded in my journals, this one is the most unforgettable, disturbingly real, frightful, and misunderstood.

Why am I compelled to blog about this now, on this day, six years later?

I don’t know …….

But here goes:

It is the evening of March 28, 2013. I am attending a 7-day Silent Retreat at The Garrison Institute, in Garrison, NY. Once a Capuchin monastery, and at one time inhabited solely by Wappinger Nation of Native Americans, it remains a profoundly sacred site.

This retreat was facilitated by my guru, Adyashanti, an American born spiritual teacher of Zen Buddhist lineage; however, he remains unaffiliated with any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, remaining true and open to what is found within all of us.

My week-long lodging is a third floor room which is shared with a lovely young woman named Nicole. We meet and greet on arrival, and remain silent for the remainder of the week.

Our shared room consists of two single beds on opposite walls, a sink, small desk, chair, and a window with very small closet space.

The schedule for the retreat is rigorous. With 6 daily 40-minute meditation hall sessions, meals in the dining hall with 300 attendees (in total silence), and regular evening dharma talks given by Adya.

It’s the time of year around traditional Easter and Passover celebrations, and Adya’s talks for the retreat is titled: “Jesus, The Revolutionary Mystic”.

So it’s day 3 of the retreat. The evening dharma talk ends. Lights out at 10 pm sharp. I’m tossing and turning in the starchy white sheets.

Lying there, I am unexpectedly aware of a HUGE PRESENCE in the room. This presence FILLS THE ENTIRE ROOM.

Immediately, I’m overcome with a sense of PRIMAL FEAR.

I am aware of two GIANT HANDS gathering and pulling on the sheets.

I am PARALYZED in FEAR. I sense the hands are going to take hold of me.

The sheets are quickly being wrapped around me, encasing me like a mummy.

The two GIANT HANDS slide beneath my now mummified body and LIFT my physical body out of the bed. I’m held up at the ceiling in the corner of the room, wrapped up tightly in the sheet, facing down into the room.

From my aerial view, I witness my roommate in her bed sleeping.

I make desperate attempts to SCREAM to my roommate,

HELP ME PLEASE …. HELP ME PLEASE ….. WHY ARE YOU NOT HELPING ME?

But I have NO VOICE, just guttural sounds come out of my mouth.

I am unaware how I’m placed back in my bed. But I fall into a DREAMING sleep. In the sleep dream, I’m alone in the room. I go outside into the hall and ask a woman, “What happened to Domenica?”. I am referring to my roommate who is missing from her bed. The woman responds, “She had to leave the room because she couldn’t sleep with all the noise.”

I awoke at 5 o’clock AM, fully aware and remembering the TERROR I experienced. Of note, my roommate is still in her bed sleeping.

I rise to find my way into the dimly lit silent hallway, into the bathroom stall, and proceed to sob uncontrollably. Deep wailing, like I’d lost a child.

When I was able to compose myself, I was still too terrified to return to my bedroom, so I ventured into the hallway Sitting Room. There I was able to make myself a hot cup of tea to ease my still trembling body. I was accompanied by a lone gentleman, and in silence I felt consoled and safe simply by his tall, gentle presence. A bald, slim, over 6-foot tall gentle giant. I will never forget his calming presence.

I was finally able to compose myself after the 7:30 AM meditation sitting. However, I remained haunted by this experience throughout the entire retreat.

At retreat end, when silence broke, my roommate and I embraced. She explained to me that my cries that night were terrifying to her, and she was tempted to assist me, but she had the intuitive wisdom to know that whatever it was that I was experiencing was necessary, and that she should not intervene.

I have contemplated many interpretations for this lucid dream/astral projection/out of body experience/God-knows-whatever it was ……..

My present understanding rests in the simple fact that our physical existence in this material world is a mere copy of REALITY observing Itself.

But we’ve lost the knowledge of REALITY.

So when we’re about to confront IT (reality), which was the purpose of the retreat, the primal gut reaction is FEAR.

Perhaps, as our human Being spiritually matures, the fear lessens?

Apparently, I was not ready 6 years ago.

Maybe I’m getting closer……….

photo: The Perth Mummy, Takherheb

There is never more or less of life

There’s a poignant recollection that comes to my mind after completing the last chapter of The Most Important Thing (Adyashanti).

Many years ago, I had attended my Aunt Dolly’s funeral service. One of her closest and beloved nieces, Wendy, who happened to be a devout born-again Christian, was conversing with me about Aunt Dolly. When Wendy mentioned how happy she was that Aunt Dolly was in ‘heaven’ I felt compelled to say, “No, I think she’s right here, right next to me, in the very fabric of my sweater.”

Wendy did not reply, and from her expression I sensed she had no idea what I meant.

At that time, neither did I exactly know what I meant, but something deep within me knew it was true, and I felt obliged to express it in that moment.

This week, I’ve been thinking about my mom who died 5 months ago. I’ve been feeling her. This feeling of mom brings on emotions that come from so many conditioned responses to my own memories; sadness, guilt, disappointment, and even joy and deep love.

But more important than the emotions that arise, I notice how my perception of life as always present has enhanced my ability to feel mom.

It has been such a reward to have read this book which acknowledges this feeling I’ve always sensed but have not found the words for:

“If you have ever been with someone who is dying, you know that the changing of the form, the moment of death, is discernable. Even if in that moment when it happens you have your eyes closed, you know; it is a powerful moment.

It is an honor to be present when someone passes, as it is a profoundly deep and moving experience, but death is experienced differently when we know that life does not disappear as the form disappears.

This is why people can lose a loved one and suddenly feel their loved one everywhere.
We think of that as a poetic experience – the human imagination projecting the memory of somebody we’ve loved – and as something we do with our mind and our ideas, but there is also a reality to it beyond the ideas.

That person always was life, and although the form life took has disappeared, the life itself is everywhere.

To feel that someone is everywhere is not merely a romantic comfort created by those who are grieving. It touches a fundamental reality; the forms change, and there is a definitive moment of the changing of the form, but there is no more and no less life.

This is why when we awaken, when we are realized, we know there is no birth or death in some essential sense; there is the changing of forms, but not the beginning and the end of one’s existence. So in Zen, when they say the real reason for the whole spiritual endeavor is to resolve the Great Matter of birth, life, and death, they mean it.

As long as we are caught in the realm of acceptance and rejection, believing and disbelieving, we are living in a world of abstraction. That is what spiritual teachers mean- at least it is what I mean – by saying we are living in a dream. Therefore, believing or disbelieving is not the point.

The real instinct for enlightenment or awakening or God comes from a kind of dissatisfaction – from no longer wanting to live an abstracted life, no longer wanting your life to continue to contribute to the world of sorrow, and paying attention to the desire to have a rich and deep experience of being instead of one created by what you believe. This is the real enlightenment impulse.

Trust the quiet spaces within, because they are the ultimate sutras of existence”.

The Most Important Thing, Adyashanti, (bold, italics supplied by me)
PHOTO CREDIT: “Angel Wings” taken by my dear friend, Annette Adams

 

 

 

 

Ode to Opossum

On my front porch stoop, I sit
cold February day, but sun-lit

Petting Goldie, my feral cat
she’s behaving strangely, I can sense that

Lady, can’t you see?
she urges me

Below the stoop to the left, I glance
to view a dead opossum, by chance

Innards half eaten, and frozen stiff
a raccoon, or a coyote, I wonder if

His spirit still there?
does he sense that I care?

I fetch the shovel to carry away
the petrified corpse, now free from affray

Far behind the house I choose the plot
frozen leaves and branches, I clear a slot

I make a blanket with sticks and dried leaves
to cover his corpse that no longer grieves

Now you are free from the body cage-jail
I honor my dead friend with the prehensile tail

It has been such an interesting week. I have had so many synchronistic occurrences, and I’m noticing more and more how every single thought manifests itself through form (a body). I recognize more deeply how Father Time veils our wisdom, hiding the reality that it’s actually all occurring simultaneously. I think I’m learning something new, but it’s actually what I know already. Thankfully, my dream time opens up my mind again, at least while I’m in deep sleep. But damn, that illusive “time” covers it over with ignorance when my morning alarm goes off.

It has become obvious to me the meaninglessness of the labels we get stuck to. But they’re sooooo energetically sticky, like Superglue.

Vegan/ Carnivore
White/ Black
Nationalist/Globalist
Christian/Jew
Left/Right
Straight/Gay
Theist/Atheist
Human/Alien
Elite/Blue collar

We get stuck to the label, and then BELIEVE IN the label, and the mind closes up!
None of it is true. We don’t even know what consciousness IS.

“You can’t be open-minded when you label yourself with anything!” Freedom Fighters Florida

unknown

It’s often the simplest seeming gesture or word/idea that serves as a deep awakening.

As I’m reading The Most Important Thing, (Adyashanti), I’m reminded ….

How we IDENTIFY with a thought about absolutely anything can create either suffering or happiness.

This has been so helpful for me to re-cognize, again, simple as it is.

Further grace dropped into my consciousness while I was revisiting my old dream journals, as I’m preparing to work on my new project, The Yoga of Dreaming.

I was reminded of a teaching at a silent retreat that served a deep awakening for me, at that time:

“You will NEVER find TRUTH looking through the MIND”

Why is this SO important to re-cognize?

Because the Mind’s nonstop evaluation of its perceptions are occurring in TIME (in this dimension of reality)

We already know Time is an illusion, right? But in Time the only thing we can actually KNOW through EXPERIENCE is the present moment

Everything else is the UNKNOWN

The unknown = FEAR (most of the time), especially the unknowing about death

Which leaves 99.99999% of us living in FEAR (aka anxiety) pretty much all of the TIME

To eliminate this constant state of fear, our only hope would be to let go of identifying with the MIND’s obsessive compulsion to make up stories about everything – and then believe it’s TRUE!!!!

Sounds simple enough.

But it’s not simple. Why?

Because the UNKNOWN will always be the only thing that is TRUE.

Our MIND cannot accept that.

What can we do?

Sit still. Be quiet. Observe. Listen. Feel. Laugh. Watch nature. Trust. Open your heart to gratitude. Take Action without attaching to outcome. Be YOU, authentically.

KNOW that you will never KNOW.

Remind yourself every day.

Even this writing is not true.
It’s just an attempt to express the ineffable……..

suggestions welcome

angel of death dream

DREAM:

observing the sky from a large floor to ceiling window.

in awe of a light formation in the early evening sky

it moved like swirls of wispy cloud-like substance

fast and spinning, up and down, in and out, and in a split second it’s GONE

Holy shit, what the fuck? 

I’m astonished

what the hell was that????

a moment later it reappeared in the same white cloud substance

but it was up close next to my window

it took the form of a SKELETON

not bones though, a cloud substance skeleton figure, animated as if talking to me

now I’m terror struck that this is happening right in front of my eyes

3-D LIFE:

Certain life-events yesterday may have contributed to my subconscious message to Self.

  1. Deeply moved by words I heard (credit and thanks to Global Witness, Derek’s You Tube dharma): “Everything we see in this world is a COPY of something that’s invisible, and a poor one at that”
  2. Driving along Route 17M, I have an unusually compelling impulse to look at my mileage (I never do this) and the number is 11, 144.
  3. Life is becoming more challenging by the moment for personal and family relations and requiring my most mature spiritual understanding to discern the events.
  4. Halloween really is about ghosts LOL

So how is God revealing Itself to Myself through this dream?

  • Don’t take things so damn seriously?
  • Accept the impermanence of EVERYTHING with a lighter heart?
  • Remember that my most important work here is to SEE THROUGH the bullshit and always look toward the TRUTH?
  • Understand that death is not at all what we’ve been programmed to believe?
  • Life’s potentiality is limitless in form?

Suggestions are welcome …….. in love and light.

(photo: Bird of Paradise, NY Botanical Gardens, Oct 2018)