In my heart and mind “this is the best of times”, “an epoch of belief… a season of light” to borrow a bit more from Dickens. It seems the heighten senses and opportunity that come with crisis has benefited me. I have spent the past weeks focusing on the Spiritual aspect of my situation. What is death? What happens? Where do we go? My reading and mediation has reached broadly into many areas: Buddhism, Christianity, Physics, Near Death Experiences, Health Perspectives… and all disciplines pointed to the same place. Light, energy, love, bliss. Let me say that louder, LIGHT, ENERGY, LOVE, and BLISS. Talking about this concept is difficult because it transcends day to day reality. This “place” or “experience” is named in many ways: God, Christ, Universe, Luminosity, Eternity, Implicate Order, Higher Consciousness, and Unconditional Love. What I am certain does NOT belong in this state is the human ego, i.e. fear, judgment, good v. bad. I feel certain that beyond the exit door is a state of incredible unity and oneness. I imagine it as those reporting a near death experience describe, heaven like, bright light, and omniscient with radical acceptance. Does it last, as a heaven? Are we reborn? Is it simply a phenomenon of the brain shutting down? I don’t know and I don’t feel the need to “know”, because of course this part of life is unprovable. Logic stops here friends, I stand at the point of surrender and I’m ok with that, in fact it feels wonderful.
As this state of understanding dawned into my awareness, something huge shifted inside of me. I had accepted my diagnosis and prognosis honestly, I wasn't terrified, but my small sense of self still squabbled and suffered over hurt feelings. This actually hurt more than the news that I was dying, showing me how deeply I was looking for an answer in the wrong place. Once the shift occurred, things no longer bothered me, I could accept everything exactly like it was. Joy opened up in me with the realization that many parts of my life had already been dedicated toward shedding the me, me, me, ego and finally seeing the God in others. Money, material goods, status had lost meaning and no longer defined me. My job as a therapist proved to be an almost holy experience, welcoming those who felt broken, holding their wholeness as sacred and definite, until they could see and hold it themselves. The work was complex and demanding but it felt exactly right and energizing. I was evolving; I was on my way here!
I now feel a lovely certainty that I finally know my place in the world. I continue to dream about working in this unconditional balance of love with women and children who suffer poverty and generational patterns of abuse. As long as I live I will dream, I feel my consciousness joins with the whole and my dreaming can help move things forward. Besides, this is what I love, I am so lucky to have the retired freedom to dream and fill my days with love.
Below is an OnBeing (Krista Tippit) interview with Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest who is doing something very close to my dream. He works with young felons caught up in gang activity, helping them find a way out, a way back to themselves. He runs Homeboy Industries. His balanced unconditionally loving approach is a model that makes sense to me.
OnBeing (Krista Tippet) Interview of Father Greg Boyle