Monday, July 18, 2011

The Pity Party is Long Since Gone

 What happened in between?

I woke up this morning, slightly depressed as I usually am, and again decided I wasn't going there, and as every day, did my morning thing that brought me to peace. This morning, somehow I began to think of the incredible suffering of people everywhere that totally trumped what pathetic little stuff I was moaning about to many Western doctors.

Then I started to think of how few people on this planet had deluxe food, buckets of water right at hand, tempurpedic mattress, cell phone, A/C, computer, etc. What about that feeble old down-scuffling black man on Vine St.? Did he have a home? Probably not. Did he have money for food? Probably not.

Or the thickly sunburned white couple sitting on plastic cartons all day, holding their homeless help signs up to people in A/C cars, windows rolled up, looking straight ahead . . . if you don't look, you won't feel anything. THEY become near criminals because their house was foreclosed on, and neither one can get a job. Nobody stops all day. They're just closing up when a young man walks up to them and hands them a 20. The woman grabs hold of him in a full embrace and begins to cry. You're the first one to give us anything all day. We're from Alabama. O you're so sweet. And she hugs him again.

Their suffering is 10 times mine. And with this heat wave? So many old poor people downtown without even fans.

And the suffering inflicted by our own people on the planet is 50 times more than that of our homeless.

I did not start out to be morbid, yet . . . here we are. And so I have a heart of gratitude today for everything I have and everyone I know . . . from which there is no escape from being separated, eventually (says Thich Nhat Hanh). But that's another story . . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Karma Life's Readings . . . Life Thinkings from a Tibetan Buddhist Perspective: Where Are You Mother-Wit?

Where Are You Mother-Wit?

I met this girl named Sana (as in "Sam"). Well, she's not a girl, she's a woman, like me, 59, but so much paler than me, kinda whispy . . . like the sound of her name. She had recently moved to Crestone, Colorado (gosh, I wish I could do that) from Cincy. We had been friends on and off for ages. But now she was gone. Sana to Calarada.

When Sana was here for years, that girlfriend of mine had a bunch of rough stuff running through her like a herd of buffalo, and gettin' worse so she had to take stacks of pharmaceuticals and go to doctors like that was her job. What could I do? Just be there for real heart-to-heart hugs and let-it-out tears and still long, real hugs. Well, Sana had been sick with so many things all at once, you couldn't help but think she was being groomed for something in the Universe, something she would uncover in herself—a way to help the Universe.

But she told me how flippin' hard it was. So alone, adrift of all other like-minded kin but me. And as we both knew: no Sangha or sangha (like-minded Buddhist) community near.

We were real intimate so I knew she had fibromyalgia beating and defeating her physical strength—not to mention the deep morning body-wide ache, both aspects lingering in and out in the day; 2 hip surgeries since late 2007 and another one for her bloody neck coming up, supposedly, on August 19, 2011; bipolar disorder whacking her worst than ever—since spring, like the whacking whacking dusting of a rug, hanging out back on the clothesline, the dust being cleaned out of it so violently; cervical dystonia treated with Botox. Before Botox her face was full of grimacing contortions she couldn't control. Nor could she, progressively, control the involuntary yank of her chin down to a tremor. O Sana Sana . . . as one doctor said, You're a mess.

She told me, Sana whispered, that her lower back hurt her all days most days. She could only slouch on her daybed or be flat . . . ALL DAY . . . but life had to go on. So she sought out healers and friends who gave of their gifts to her of Ayurvedic consultations, of nourishing soups and breads, and a mother who inevitably brought a gourmet meals-on-wheels nearly every evening. Sana had been this way since last October and here it was the first week of July, the zenith of it all, it seemed.

Yet she had not been hospitalized. She tried with all that she was capable of each day to practice Dharma—true practice. If she didn't have the Buddha's method for happiness, and his teachings about how to live in a suffering world, and to be capable of helping others—a true method, step by logical step—if she hadn't experienced all this for 11 years, she would be either long gone or drunk daily. This was a very important commonality between us, i.e., we'd been each other's sangha community. The Third Jewel. The nurses who care for you and your spirit.

Yet she was gone . . . for about 2 months now. She'd decided to live in Crestone because a wonderful Dharma teacher and author was there: Reginald Ray, founder of Dharma Ocean Foundation. She had heard his online excerpts of teachings and found a profound affinity with his voice, his timing, his humility, his thorough, unbiased scholarship. So she moved to a state that had medical marijuana. Of course I called and said O Sana Sana, what's it like?