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.
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.”
Last week I went Christmas shopping. Having purchased not a single gift up till now, this was a huge endeavor seven days prior to the holiday. But I braved the 17–degree temps.
Probably not too wise of a decision.
I thought, I should be nurturing my immune-compromised blood levels during “week-off” chemotherapy
But I’m resolute; I gotta bring gifts for the grandkids and family members.
My habituated determination …. I recognize it. It’s laughable. Hard to change lifetime convictions.
Thankfully, the opposite pole of persistence arose simultaneously, and the desire to self-nurture endured.
A 30-minute drive to Milford, PA ahead, I decided to lose myself in a podcast. Its auspicious title beckoned my attention, “The Search for Enlightenment” by Rupert Spira.
Kind of ridiculous having heard this talk a gazillion times in every imaginable form – from Nisargadata to Ramana to Krishnamurti to Adyashanti ad infinitum …. As if I might hear something new.
Unexpectedly, Mr. Spira’s articulation on this topic smashed my heart open – in an exceptionally beautiful, frigid, sun beaming off icicle moment on a country road in Northeastern PA.
Perhaps my lowering WBC count assisted in opening my heart a little deeper this time?
I bawled like a puppy for her mother. You know when you’re alone in the car, and you can sob so loud it hurts?
Ranks right up there with an incredible orgasm.
Here’s the part that broke the dam of uncontrollable tears:
Rupert: You’ve recognized that who you essentially are now is ever-present, never hurt or tarnished by experience, never disturbed, it needs nothing.
What more do you want?
Questioner: (I can’t trust that the wanting will stop)
Rupert: What are you wanting?
If you have found that in yourself which is inherently peaceful and has no sense of lack, what are you lacking?
Questioner: (There’s nothing I lack)
Rupert: The wanting will only stop when you recognize that you ARE what you WANT.
The Anusara invocation I have chanted for a decade reverberated in my heart, and I recalled how near this knowledge is, how it has remained engrained in my heart.
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave: I honor God, the Nature of Being, The Teacher within. Satchidananda Murtaye: ITS essence is Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss. Nishprapanchaya Shantaya: IT is always present and full of peace. Niralambaya Tejase: It is completely free and radiates from the heart with a divine luster.
There I was sitting in the diner, sipping my coffee, when it happened.
I could come up with a million explanations as to why I may have had this experience. My state of mind after 4 days of being away from home; chemotherapy treatment; blood-building injections for 3 days after treatment; climbing the mountain behind Todd’s house; meditating on a rock above the world; the magnificence of autumn colors …..
Maybe all of the above, maybe none.
I quietly observed one of the servers/waitresses from afar. She was unaware that I was staring. Simply going about her routine, checking her station orders, fully attentive to the job and the moment. I could almost feel her attentiveness to her own inner thoughts.
However, something even deeper was revealed to me while watching her.
There was an aura surrounding her, in fact, it was enveloping the entire space of the diner. Not only could I sense it, I almost could see it.
It felt and appeared as connective tissue, but translucent tissue that morphed and flowed in wavelike patterns. Like being under clear water and seeing the forms floating in it.
In that moment, I was assured that this web of existence is just that. An intricate, unseen Web of Life. A complete mystery that we will never see with these eyes.
Yet I was graced with the experience to glimpse at it.
In only a few short moments of earth “time” the universe revealed its infinite connective eternity to my consciousness.
Pouf. Tah dah! Here I AM, and I AM That!
The miracle. The Mystery. In a diner of all places.
Recently, I felt a calling to take up puzzles again. There’s a noticeable shift in awareness when I’m working on a puzzle. My dreams are more resonant, and I feel like I’ve worked things out upon awakening. I sense that the puzzles have also been helpful in shifting my perspective on Life to more of an aerial view.
This perspective becomes clearer when I trust my inner compass to guide my understanding about Life. I especially like the words/phrases below; although their meanings may be intellectually abstract, the experience they point to is becoming more Real and concrete for me.
What do these words mean for you?
Deeper Knowledge Within
Higher Vantage Point
Power and Presence of Knowledge
Empathy Felt at a Deeper Level
I extracted the above words from an essay called Forgiveness, by Marshall Vian Summers, excerpt below:
The choice really is a choice for the individual as to what voice within themselves they will listen to. Will they listen to the power and presence of Knowledge that God has placed within them to guide them, to protect them and to lead them to a greater life? Or will they listen to the voice of their own personal mind that seeks to protect itself above all things that will meet its needs first, regardless of the consequences for other peoples?
This is not an ideological debate. It is not an intellectual problem. It is more fundamental than this. It is a question of whether you will follow your deeper conscience or your own fear and insecurity. If you see that your deeper nature is beyond your mind, then you will not become so identified with your ideas, your beliefs or your prejudices, and you will be much more reserved in judging, condemning or dismissing others.
This kind of self-awareness is so very important because when people are denied recognition of their deeper nature, their thinking becomes aberrant. They identify with their thoughts and their possessions, and their ability to recognize others and to experience compassion is limited or destroyed altogether.
From the standpoint of having a higher purpose, you realize that everyone is teaching you the value of Knowledge. Both their successes and their failures are showing you the importance of adhering to this deeper Knowledge within yourself. Why would you condemn others when they are teaching you the results of not following Knowledge within yourself? When people are making every kind of error and experiencing the consequences of these errors, why would you condemn them when they are showing you the results of your own temptation to deny the power, presence and guidance of Knowledge within yourself?
From a higher vantage point, from the perspective of recognizing that you have a higher purpose in life, you will see these things. Perhaps you could not see them before, but you will see them clearly now. You will see that life is teaching you that there is only Knowledge or the substitutes for Knowledge. There is only being true to your deeper nature, or there is betrayal in all directions.
Here you must understand that not everything that happens is beneficial. If you try to make everything wonderful and beneficial, you will be dishonest, and dishonesty leads to great errors and great difficulties. And so your evaluation must be based upon a deeper awareness within yourself that is not really ideological in nature. It is more of a natural resonance. It is beyond the intellect. It is the empathy you feel with people at a deeper level.
Saturday was my great-nephew’s 5-year-old birthday party. It was one of those days when the weather is so magnificent you almost can’t believe how beautiful the earth actually is.
So I took the long drive, to be with family who I haven’t seen in a while. To celebrate and enjoy watching the children play outside together.
It was a glorious day for an outdoor party. Great food, conversation, laughter, stories, kids on the trampoline and the clown makeup and balloons.
However, there was something very strange about the day for me. A lingering feeling. An indescribable sense of lightness, a mistiness – kind of how you feel in the steam room when the solid objects are sort of blurred. It was not only the haziness that lingered throughout the day, but there was also the intense presence of my deceased mother. No, I did not think she was there, I knew – yes, I KNOW – my mother was there with us the entire time.
One of the grandmas at the party mentioned to me that my smile reminded her of my mom, and she said, “how she loved to talk and to be with the children.”
I said, “Yes, I know. And she’s here with us today.”
Except, my comment was not made as a casual figure of speech.
On the drive home, the setting sun left the sky so picturesque that I was in awe for the entire ride. Not that that’s so unusual for me. However, it was more intensely felt because I did not feel separate from what I was admiring. I was the sky.
I cannot even explain it any better than that. And it wasn’t until my friend, Annette, shared this video with me this morning that I found a way for it to be expressed with a little more clarity.
Carolyn Myss, 2019 live in Canada is a talk about faith, miracles, prayer, and mysticism. These little blurbs really resonate with me, especially after yesterday’s experience. (these are paraphrased excerpts)
What’s required for a miracle is that you have such regard for yourself – the more you trust heaven the closer it gets.
Self-esteem at the soul level is the ability to be able to be given an experience that nobody else has, and you can withstand the doubt of a tsunami of people coming at you. If you require the enforcement of other people you cannot be given an experience that only you can substantiate. You’re too fragile, everyone’s doubt will turn into your rage. That’s because other peoples’ doubt for you is personal. It’s not until their doubt means nothing to you that you can handle an experience that only you know is real. So their doubt means nothing. Nobody’s’ fear scares you, nobody’s illness scares you; What’s there to be afraid of? There’s nothing on earth to be afraid of because your soul knows better.
You pray like you’re crazy.
Okay God, I don’t know how to pray with you yet, but I’ll listen, I’m coming for you, come get me.
Start there. There’s no need for petition prayer. That’s irrelevant. Don’t pray for stuff.
Take me down deep, show me the reason you gave me life and keep me on that route.
Turn the light on, show me the reason.
Let me face what I do not want to see.
That’s how you pray.
Let me do no harm with my dark side while I encounter it.