I like this word, Recovery. It is also the title of the best album Eminem ever wrote, in my opinion, maybe even his magnum opus, if a Hip Hop singer could be said to have one.
For someone to recover means that they have gone through some dark period. A time of bringing down. Yet somehow they made it through. They didn’t die, they weren’t killed, they recovered. They are now changed, Stronger than they were before. Perhaps this time brought them in sight of the Reaper’s gleaming scythe. Took them into the tunnel where they saw the light. Maybe the even did die, but they, against all odds, came back to their body. Whatever happened they are through it, they are recovering.
Recovery also means that this particular low time is now in the past. Other low times may come. But for now you are out of the low time. You have survived, made it through. Like someone addicted to drugs coming out of rehab clean you are, for the moment, free. Reborn. The phoenix rising from the ashes.
I can claim no grand experiences for my low time and the time of recovery that I think I may be in. Not sure, but I think so. The last few weeks, months even, have had a sort of cloud over them. There has been a darkness. But today, and for now, the light is shining through. I am beginning to slowly, ever so slowly, recover. Like someone injured, healing in the hospital, I still have pain, I still hurt. But I can smile again. I feel lighter. So what brought this marvelous change to me?
I can only trace two possible sources. The first is something I may have been doing wrong. Following Meg Blackburn Losey’s instructions each day I look deep into the center of my being and find what I can only describe as a pinprick of light at the center. This light is my energy, running at my unique energy frequency. She instructs us to find that, breath into it, and as you inhale into it watch it expand. This part is a little tricky. You intend for it to expand but you don’t try to force it or anything. It expands and fills out to a certain shape around your body. All you have to do is initiate the process.
Well when I did this for some strange reason I always saw my body, more my form than anything else, as black. I never intended for that. That’s just the way it always was and I never questioned it. Recently however I set the intention for that form, that shape that represents my body, to be filled with light, the same color as the energy inside me. I think it has had a definite and immediate positive effect. Hard to put your thumb on and describe. Like tuning a guitar string to just the right point so it sounds better. Well that’s the first possibility.
The second is that for the first time in a long time I fell into a deep, trance-like meditation. I don’t think I crossed the border into sleep. Just sort of dropped, kinda scary actually, into a trance-like state. Went deep. Stopped counting at one point more automatically than directed and just meditated on my breathing and heartbeat. Saw all kinds of things. Flashes of various images. Did not dwell on these. Focused on my mantra, at first the ZaZen counting of 1-10, inhale/exhale, then my heartbeat and breath. Near the end there was something like stars all around and above me, and a sense of expansiveness. Coming out it seemed as if my point of view wasn’t exactly where my eyes are. Really weird and hard to describe. Not like being out of body. More like I was seeing from some other perspective or something. My legs were asleep (I am not meant to sit cross legged!) so I pulled them out from under me and set them in front to wake up. Took me a few moments to recover.
Once I got up the anger, frustration, looming darkness, cloud, whatever the heck it was, well it was gone. Just gone. Everything was much brighter. Been a wonderful day the whole day. Did my voice warmups. Played the guitar (or rather made some stumbling newbie efforts in that direction.) Just relaxed and enjoyed myself. Went out in the sun and did the 5, with the 6th, and now a 7th, so the 7 Tibetans. First couple naked. Not like I had any desire to expose myself. I wanted to feel the sun on my skin, connect. Have to be careful here considering how I was. For the 6th I do the breath control thing that’s supposed to help with sexual urges, and for the 7th I’ve added the Corpse Pose. I just lie there, close my eyes, and meditate on my breath and heartbeat. Sometimes when I do this at night, coming out and looking up at the stars, for a few moments they seem closer.
So I am in recovery. I am recovering. Took a picture, not with the whole Zen process this time, of a tree I roughly ripped out of the ground and transplanted the other day. My grandma says it’s a peach tree and I agree. Very odd that this tree grew out of our compost pile, here in the Northwest which is not all the friendly to such trees. I realized today that this tree and I share many similar experiences. We both were rooted in garbage from birth. I was uprooted and ended up living here in Camas. The tree was uprooted by me. I am struggling to bear spiritual fruit. The tree has a tiny peach on it, still green, and an even tinier, much less healthy looking start of one. I pruned many dead limbs off the tree, so it could focus its energy on its leaves . I left only the dead branches needed to keep it balanced until it could take root. I have head many dead, unproductive things pruned out of my own life, and I did most of the pruning. The tree is struggling to survive in its new location. I will be struggling to survive when I hit the road.
So in many ways this tree and I are kindred spirits. I am curious to see how it fares when I have left. I told the tree that it was up to it to survive when I first transplanted it. I have since felt more compassion for the plant and even went out, held my hands outside it, and visualized healing energy drawing up through the roots into the branches. I realized today I want this tree to survive. Maybe I feel we are linked somehow. If the tree dies, does that mean my spiritual journey is dying or will die?
The plants and animals around us all tell us things we need to know. The Indians and ancient peoples knew this. It is not primitive. It is not evil, or satanic. It is wise to learn how to observe and sense the world around you, being open to it, receiving its messages, paying attention, because maybe, just maybe, it is trying to tell you something. The deer that crosses the road in front of you, causing you to slam on your brakes, may be telling you that for the next few days you should go really slow here. Perhaps the next day a child will run across that same stretch of road. This is not coincidence and it is not sorcery. If you are a Christian you must realize that God does not speak as He is reported to have done in times of old in the Bible. He speaks through the voices of others and the things that happen around you. Only a foolish Christian would ignore these messages. For the rest of us it is the world, our Higher Selves, the originating force that is speaking to us.
Today I listened and found a kindred spirit in a tree. Its form may be different than mine, but we are still connected by the same force that gives everything life. We still have the same energy running through us. Yesterday, studying what my friend told me to study, I read about compassion. I can’t remember the exact words, but essentially compassion is recognizing, realizing, acknowledging the same feelings in others (I would expand this to include other living things) as you have had, or have, in yourself. Realizng, for example, that when someone is hurting, that they are being afflicted by some or all of the same things that have caused you pain.
When you feel what other living beings feel, when you recognize these feelings as the same feelings you have felt in your life, you can’t be angry, you can’t hate. The only natural response is love. If a logger could feel the pain of the trees he is cutting down, recognizing the pain he has felt when say the life of a family member was cut short, or finding the remains of a nest recognizing what those who wander the streets homeless must feel, well he either won’t be a logger much more, or he will be far more conscientious in his work. He will have genuine feelings and respect for the lives of trees.
When we all have compassion for each other and our planet, we will live in peace (compassion leads to love and love leads to peace), our world will be saved, and we will use its limited resources far more wisely. This is the next step of evolution in man. When everyone’s focus is taken off exclusively themselves and now includes others.
Whatever religion you are, and even if you’re not of any religion, practice compassion today. Find another living thing and open yourself, recognizing any feelings in your subject that are the same feelings you may have felt, or are feeling, yourself. See yourself in another, or a tree, or an animal. Find the things that link you and this other living thing together. Today I saw myself in a peach tree. A realization of similar happenings in our lives. What will I see myself in tomorrow? What will you?