Notes from my jounal of June 1998 on my Cancer (and related life experiences)
Tuesday June 2, 1998
On my way to Pottstown for chemo therapy. This is a real challenge. I feel like I'm going into the dragon's den and I've gotta dance this right. I think this is mostly about surrender to the highest. And I know that this aspect of the highest energy exists in me. Perhaps some not even known by me. I definitely feel qualities of shamanic dance with all of this.
I think of the Alaskan Shaman that CampB has in his book. I think of the scars on his face from shamanic encounters, battles with the locals. I have a serious condition here. I don't fully know how to approach this. Should I try to kick the shit out of this? In this case it would be the western aggressive treatment. Or should I find the way to overcome through my own integrity and light. This integrity and light needs to be of the highest caliber to overcome. I believe it is possible. The question is, can I do it?
I'm sitting with the contradictory models. The western medical model. Aggressive approach based on statistics. My own intuitional emotional journey. Spiritual journey. The journey of my life based on my own encounters with the numinous. As I say this, I feel that this indeed is the path with heart. The Chinese approach is balance. The immune system approach.
None of the statistical data takes into account the lives of the people. This cancer is a spiritual/emotional issue for me, as well as obviously a physical one. All of the studies take in the physical data correlates. They don't take consider the emotions or spirit or attitude.
Up in the bedroom with my little old Notebook computer. This machine definitely types better than the new one I've been using. It's a little slow sometimes, but in ways it works better for straight writing. I'm looking to enjoy myself. Why not? Can I enjoy myself with writing? I'm enjoying writing this out right now.
There was an assortment of folks at the cancer center today. I walked in and wanted to just stay by myself for awhile.. I wasn't into interacting with others.
What about this illness? I read accounts of bad after-effects and freak. I don't know what after-effects I'll get if any. I read of these after-effects and don't trust the medical model. But then I open to the interview with Rick Fields where he quotes the prayer "May this sickness I have help me to take on the sickness of all other people who are suffering in the same way so that they are free from their suffering." Once again I am reminded of my vision of taking on suffering and choosing the difficult road and coming back through all the difficult forms. So as bad as it can get it will be a matter of "Oh, that one too." and it will be best for me to give it to God and take it on as gracefully as I am able.
Funny how western medicine doesn't recognize emotions and spirit at all in their statistics that are the basis of treatment. I'm not a statistic, I'm a whole person. I relate strongly to emotions and spirit as part of this disease predicament. So I am different than the statistics and I am a unique individual.
Finished with my first day of chemo. Dr. L was nice and optimistic. I wasn't crazy about the nurse who was assigned to me. She seemed quite mechanical.
This evening I read some disturbing things, reports about the medical approaches in the new cancer options book I got. I've got to stay in control of my life. That means being as aware as I can, performing those actions that will bring maximum benefit, wholeness, healing and progression. Some of these aspects all taken together are pretty confusing. It's like trying to find the combination to a lock. I remember some number combinations, then forget sequences. I try others.
Ming Ming says my cancer is not that bad and I should focus on the positive.
Saturday June 6, 1998
At Mom and Dad's house with Kenny. I'll be going into the shop today to do some further computer setup.
Feel rested, better than I have at other times since chemo on Tuesday. I seem to need more sleep. This is the reaction from the chemo. I went to sleep last night about 11:30 / 12 and slept pretty well. I woke up briefly every few hours but overall rested well. This morning I lay in bed for awhile and did mantra, then got up and did some meditation.
I gotta find out more about the specifics of my condition.
I really stuffed myself tonight, looking for that fulfillment in food. A hopeless quest. Just now I'm still hungry with no hope of satiation. A hungry ghost. At least I have my words here, typed out through my trusty old notebook computer.
The dinner was good, best I've had in weeks. I wonder tonight though if I've lost some of my taste due to the chemo.
Sunday June 7, 1998
Woke up finally this morning at 6:45 and did some more meditation. I feel I want to spend more time healing this morning, studying more about my cancer, doing mantra and more meditation.
I watched about an hour of Seven Years in Tibet with Ma and Kenny. I love the Buddhism. At 8 we watched Godfather III. Ma stayed for about ½ hour. Kenny and I watched the whole thing. It was somewhat entertaining. I had a good time hanging out with Kenny. We interacted in positive and funny ways. I want more of that.
I gotta find the way to maintain an awareness that works for me. For most of my life I've walked my own trail, seeking my own perceptions voice and my own voice. Now I am ill, and this illness may have much to do with my out-of-balance lifestyle. I need to be present enough with me and my body to heal. This healing it seems will require positive, attractive experiences. I need to facilitate these sorts of experiences. I don't want to wait for them to happen to me from outside. Still, the sorts of experiences I seek are in and of themselves transcendent. They are beyond anything I can set-up.
The idea that my illness represents a kind of alienation is interesting. I don't feel so stressful with this disease per se. Maybe that's a kind of dissociation. Or maybe I'm used to the feeling of things being out of sorts. Just now I'm not even sure if I've ever really felt whole and integrated, at least not for significant periods of time. Does anybody feel this? I don't know.
The truth is that I don't fully trust my medical doctors. Spiritual and emotional components of this illness are at least as important as the physical symptoms. I've been this way most of my life. So where do I find the best healing? Once again, I must look to myself for the prime locus of healer. I must come to terms as best I can. And I must come to terms with the transcendent powers, Jesus, Buddha, Tara. Where are these presences in my life?
The image of looking outside myself for a master healer, guru, Mother / Father is obviously one of the main mythic patterns of my life. Perhaps I could dialogue with others on this. This work that I am doing with my biological father may be an important aspect of coming terms with this important inner dilemma.
One of the problems of my path is that I've held out for such full, rare phenomena such as powerful, fully transformational numinous experiences. I've wanted it all and this creates a huge imbalance. Most of my life has been in the shadow of these strong images. I can't help but contrast the mundane events of life to the wild and powerful energies that I have touched.
In this there has been a loss of meaning. When the meaning is so high and wild, and despite so many efforts I've been unable to sustain this experience of meaning, I feel loss. I think I've translated much of this into not fully being present and not taking care of myself.
Now is the time to heal my ability to act in effective ways. The work I did with PMHCA was a significant step in this process. The work for me to do with my father and Robin Printing can be a progression of this.
Out behind the school behind my parents house, walking through some of the unique nature of this area. There's still a lot of nature here despite the random trash. Years ago I would come here periodically for walks or runs. My parents moved out to this area around 1974 and on the time spent away from the ashram I would walk around these fields to explore. Now here I am 25 years later, aware of bands and spans of experience, happy to find this relatively wild space.
Monday June 8, 1998
I know I've been hard on myself in life. I actually have problems enjoying myself and I'm not totally sure what that's all about.
It's 3AM, actually Tuesday morning. I have to go for chemo tomorrow. I laid down after supper and slept for about 5 hours. I like to sleep these days, but my erratic sleep patterns help to make me feel really disoriented. Just now I feel pretty uneasy. I'm having a hard time focusing. Don't quite know what to do with myself. The things that would be nice to do, like organizing some of my writing for the web, seem to take too much effort.
I wanted to organize my thoughts and communications this week. I wanted to get clearer on where I'm going with this treatment. Is the chemo working? It could be. However, I don't feel like I'm taking as good care of myself as I could be. I've been eating a lot lately. Sometimes stuffing myself. Part of this eating is emotional response. The other thing is that I'm out of some of my Chinese herbs.
Tuesday June 9, 1998
Feeling good right now even with the effects of the medicines. Attitude is a big factor. For many years I've had pronounced ups and downs. Will I ever be more stable?
I've got my books and papers here. I pulled out Survivor Personality and browsed to the back of the book. Siebert makes a point about loneliness. Some of us are multifaceted and multi-adapted and our adaptations call for unique modes and personality constructs. We are different and thus, in our society, lonely.
Samsara is nirvana -- an utterly simple idea -- and profound. Means that it all is OK. I'll get through no matter what. The worst that can happen is that I get physically damaged. I can get through that too if I have to. All the perspectives of suffering are projections. My experience is always now. Nirvana is through and behind the appearances of now. I've had quite an array of appearances in my life. And I've caught at least some teaching from each encounter. Maybe dissolved some blocks, impediments or karma. This is not other than the vajra path. Nirvana is samsara.
I can taste the medications in my mouth. I think this is the chemo from last week still in my system. What is the periodicity? 10-13 days I think. I get another dose today like a wave upon a wave. Don't know how the effects will show up.
Here I am. I don't have to be any other than how I am right now. I'm a complex being, a man who has attempted to come to terms with many levels of experience.
Interesting how I feel like I've come to terms with being a survivor. I want to be here, many times in my life I couldn't say this. This is a relief.
This place is full up today. I don't think there's a chair available. I'm back in the waiting room. Just saw Dr. L. I like his kindness but he doesn't really hear where I'm coming from enough. Once again, the dilemma of looking for a master healer, or more this morning, some one with whom I can deeply connect. I feel some anger in feeling so apart from others. My dad used to criticize, even verbally abuse me for being different. I can't help my enhanced impressions. They are gifts. They don't make me better than others, just different. My feelings of separation are not about feeling better than others, they are about having different perspectives.
Dr. L says the tumor in my neck has shrunk 50%. He also says the primary tumor in my neck is much better. Still he offers radiation. I guess its the aggressive approach, part of where he's coming from. It's pretty strange that the physical effects of these treatments count so little.
On my way to Pottstown for my second round of chemo. Yesterday and this morning I've been a little depressed in anticipation of these treatments. I'm not really taking care of myself. I don't really know how to take care of myself. I'm also sad that the relationship between Heather and me has failed. To some extent I think I've looked to her to take care of me. I've tried to take care of her but she doesn't want it.
I gotta talk with survivors. I really want to find people who have gone through and healed on their own.
Wednesday June 10, 1998
Woke up a little after 4 this morning. Came down and got into some meditation. Wanted to be comfortable; I sat on the recliner. During the meditation I had a protracted experience of my head being huge. Wasn't so pleasant per se. I wanted to be present with my experience so I attempted to sit with it. I felt to offer the whole thing to Buddha.
Other experiences included prayers and mantra. My prayer was the light. The Light is enough. I often don't have particulars. I just want the work of the Light to be done. The word Light seems so inadequate just now. All words for this highest presence seem inadequate.
Just took a walk in the park. I'm sitting on the bench in a pretty spot near the stream. Nearby are some beautiful purple flowers. Lots of greenery, singing birds and a gurgling brook.
Thursday June 11, 1998
Woke up early again, about 4:30. Did some meditation, even some light. This was the first active light technique I've done in probably years. The meditation was good. I got some good contemplations in. It would be good to spend more time in this space. Cultivate a spiritual space of healing. I imaged that I was moving out of the crevasse on the mountain. I feel to spend more time "sitting" with experience. In a way I'm too jumpy. I need to enter in.
One of the contemplations was about worship of the Goddess. Dakinis. The Dakinis take human faces for me, just as they did many years ago in my visions. The transcendent spirit of Goddess lives in female forms who show up in my life. It feels good to adore them, even worship them. I visualize them and contemplate their form, their beauty and their attributes. They embody teachings for me. What woman is not a Dakini in her heart's essence?
My cancer experience is a spiritual experience and an emotional experience. This morning I thought it would be good to start such a topic in the Spirituality conference on the WELL. I feel strongly about the importance of personal sharing. For me, personal sharing is the way to express Spirit. It's a progression of my experiences of Satsang. My whole life is the presence of spirit. This is clearly the case for me, an expression of Mahamudra and the fundamental teaching that all is Dharma.
In my life I've been directed to attempt to embody the Mahamudra. This is just how everything goes. All rivers flow into the sea. It's been utterly difficult to embody it all. Yet I've tried, many times in seeming foolishness. This morning I see that this is the essence of powerful teachings in Buddhism and Hinduism. Mahamudra. All form is an expression of the Divine. The Real experience of this is the essential teaching of Spirit through many lineages throughout the world. I've been called to a full experience and have never been satisfied to sit with only the partial. God knows I've tried.
Friday May 12, 1998
What a day. What an amazing day. Things just worked out beautifully with my appearance at the conference. I was able to facilitate the whole Telling Our Stories project and there were some beautiful stories that came out. Such a manifestation of what my heart work is. I gotta give it to God. I don't know whether she wants this to continue. She has to provide the context. I'm in a real dance here.
Saturday June 13, 1998
Yes, a really amazing day yesterday.
Time. I want to get more understanding of this. Yesterday in Mike Susko's workshop the idea of time came up. Mike spoke of hope being tied to the idea of time and a passage, like going through a gate or a door. As I say this I think of the image I drew a few years ago of being on a ladder and peeking through a portal into another room. Interesting how I am on a ladder, up in the air, not fully on the earth. To get into the other room I would have to fall into the room. This implies imbalance. There is still a charged, numinous feeling to this image but perhaps it is time to create a new image. A shamanic artwork image of power that will orient me to my new position relative to the earth.
Upon his return to this world, the novice is mentally disturbed and has difficulty readjusting to his human environment. Catapulted out of sacred space, he gets the standards of earthly life all muddled up and only gradually succeeds in reassembling this nonsensical mosaic. He enters our world from the timeless world of the "eternal now" where the space/time continuum is magically present. He is therefore unsure of himself and behaves in a socially and mentally abnormal manner. Yet this is the way a medicine man is born. The sacred Dreamtime has turned a man into a healer. Dreamtime and Inner Space pg 102-103
Feeling good today. My energies have been good since last Tuesday, actually after the chemo . The very fact that I'm doing well is a good thing. My energy is great, I'm mean my energy is better than I've often had under so-called normal conditions, and yet I have cancer and am being treated with strong drugs. I think I'm eating too much stuff.
I don't feel too bad about it though. I'm not really sure. I think there's a specific emotional / physical relationship I have with food. I'm not sure what's best for me. I don't think macrobiotic is best for me. Although I like brown rice and tofu I wouldn't want to subsist completely on a diet of those. I seem to agree with dairy. Chicken may or may not be OK. Some fish is good. Maybe it comes down to having to sit with individual foods, one by one, and understand what feels best for me. I'm sure the cancer is much more than about my physical intake of food. The physical intake of food is important, but sure ain't everything.
I agree pretty much with Ron's position on forced treatment, no one has the right to force anyone else, but I sure don't devalue my other contexts. I mean I don't think Ron gets other contexts like spiritual emergence or the importance of personal expression. And then there's Lloyd the herbalist natural foods guy who really knows his herbs and looks to these substances as the primary conduit of healing. I hear he knocks chemo and I do too to some extent, but I also have the very rich shamanic component. I don't know how this is going to play out for me. I don't want disfigurement, yet if it is the right thing then I'll go for it. I am a survivor.
Sunday June 14, 1998
I've been eating a lot during the last several days. Very little self-control with eating, if at all. I get the idea that this can be a tantric practice for me. Just let me desire continue so as to bring up related deep structures. These structures might otherwise remain hidden, occluded by my ordinary relation of at least relative self-control. I know I am way out of balance with food. I'd like to find the way to heal the emotional /physical system. I suspect there's a lot to come up with the emotional components.
Monday June 15, 1998
I want to take some time today for creative / emotional / spiritual space. I could use more conscious, intentional participation in this kind of space. It's sacred space, and though I've long championed this space, I've not really intentionally created enough of my own space, I've not setup times for personal work and sojourn.
Last night I got some good sleep. I think I went to bed around 9:30 or so. I woke up often during the night, every hour or two with an urge to pee. After peeing I easily went back to sleep. My sleep was an emotional sleep. I had dreams that were full of affect.
Dream - A friend asks me to do a haircut for someone and arranges for me to do it at a salon. I go to the place. There are lots of "borderline" folks, folks with unique appearance, gays, non-ordinary folks. Of course I feel closer to these people than "ordinary people". A tall hairdresser asks if I want a haircut from him and I readily agree but then its not happening since I have to give a haircut to someone else coming in. I'm standing at long, low counter speaking with a woman friend who seems to be from the New Jersey shore area. I express emotional stuff and have my face in my hands leaning on the counter. The woman seems to be affected emotional in the context of her own father. Perhaps her father has or had cancer.
During the night I had other dreams having to do with emotions around my presence on the planet. Although just this moment I don't connect with the specifics of these, the emotions seem to be related to my creative work with PMHCA, my sense of self, and my connectedness with others. I know these are all important for me and I know that I have struggled with aspects of these for years. Perhaps this cancer is providing new opportunity for understanding.
Last night I had a unique emotional experience of wanting to be here. Perhaps more than any other time I felt a desire to continue here in a body, to want to live. Beauty was present with this experience.
Perhaps healing can come through the kind of sleep I had last night.
Tuesday June 16, 1998
On my way to Pottstown for chemo. It's going to be a long day. I have the blood test, then the chemo, then hang out for an appointment with Dr. B at 5. At 6:30 I have a dentist appointment.
I went to bed around 11:30 last night. Got up almost at 5. I was kind of antsy. I spent a lot of the day yesterday updating my webpage. I'm really pleased with the creative work I did and the communications I made. Sometimes with that kind of work I experience a kind of emotional letdown. I've often experienced this after periods of creativity, or insight or spiritual high. Maybe there's a kind of balancing mechanism. I don't know.
I've just been so out of balance all my life. This is a chronic pattern. Last several days I've been eating way too much. I just don't feel to suppress these energies. I could heal these energies but I'm not sure how to do this. I mean the pattern is something that has been given to me. There are gift qualities to this. Maybe my way to transform. I may be able to help some people through this way. I think of the line in the Leonard Cohen song, the dealer who's looking for a card so high and wild he'll never have to deal another.
So I've looked for this special place, the lynchpin as it were of phenomena. The place to touch that affects the whole system. I feel I've learned some of these points in my process. I feel I've covered a lot of territory. Experience is the best teacher and I've wanted to know first-hand the ranges of phenomena. I've wanted to enter in deeply and fully. I don't know if I'll get there, I don't know if it's possible, I don't know if it's right to assume there is a "there" place, but I suspect that I've attenuated some of these lower patterns in my life.
Moving right along. Here I am at the Cancer Center waiting to be called for my chemo session.
I just don't trust the medical spirits. However, I acknowledge the gifts that are provided by them. Indeed, I've received many medical gifts in my life from the correction of my childhood cross-eyed condition to the major reconstruction of my skull, to the alleviation of Lyme Symptoms. I've also been greatly harmed, most notably and directly through aggressive psychiatric treatment.
So the medical spirits are shamanic spirits. Perhaps I should actively seek to come to terms with them.
The qualities of shamanic ferocity, what about these? Why have I been so attracted to these energies? Such a blessing I perceive that I've been given gifts of loving so as to direct these ferocious energies into dharmakaya. It is Tibetan Buddhism that holds for me the reconciliation of the ferocity and the Light and the Profound Loving. Awesome indeed. And I am so fragile in the face of these energies and so subject to delusion. Such a blessing that I have come this far. Somewhere up the mountain. Will I die here?
Lots of old people in this room this morning waiting I suppose for their cancer treatment. Some are like kids. I hear their voices and shufflings. It seems many of them just take what is given. Why do I blame them? I feel my condescending attitude like I'm mocking of the ignorance or naivete of little kids. How can I develop more compassion with this?
I'm tired of having my ass kicked by things like poverty or cancer or interactions of suffering. When will it be enough? Perhaps when I no longer react so much.
"I'm beginning to see how hard I've worked to free myself of my conditioning that I'm inadequate, not worthwhile, unlikeable. How important it is to like myself first and to have compassion for myself. To love and embrace that person who is trying so hard to be a full human being". Jishu Holmes - Tricycle pg. 18
"Only the wounded healer is able to heal. As long as we think that spiritual leaders need to be perfect, we live in poverty. I have a perfect teacher inside; there is no perfect teacher outside." Jishu Holmes
Now I'm done with the chemo. Like I've been doing, I pretty much slept through a lot of the process. There was a problem that came up with the bloodwork and I got angry. To give blood I have to go through a specific insurance system. I have to go to the blood place stipulated by the insurance company. I hadn't done that since I thought I was OK with having the chemo today. We had to go through a whole process of having an emergency blood test so I could get approved. Fucking managed care bureaucracy. My first real bout.
Heading out east of Pottstown, 5 or 10 miles. Found a little restaurant on High street. I got some ice cream. There's a nice field in front of me. A bit of a breeze that feels really nice as it's pretty warm out today. I feel I have an easier time feeling the beauty of things.
Experience has shifted for me and it's a strange irony because with this chemo there are more toxins in my body and I'm eating all kinds of food and it seems like these substances could affect my perception. So why wasn't I able to experience the depth, quite the degree of depth like this before? It occurs to me that this could very well be a paradoxical effect of overwhelm. I feel like I've been so sensitized and in some ways aware, that I couldn't see the trees for the forest. I was always looking for systems experiences and really didn't have time to focus on specific beauty such as shows up in the majesty of a single tree. Or like the presence of this field, just as it is. No reason. Just as it is.
Just got done seeing Dr. B. He examined me, my lump of tumor on my throat, the tumor in the throat. He said he saw no evidence of the tumor in the throat and the lump in the neck is now 20% of what it was. He said he'd have to go through the throat really fine to find anything. Dr. B said "Dr. L said he thought he could do something with chemo." I'm gonna see Dr. B again in three weeks. See what the story is then.
Dr. B is very impressed. He said he wished all his patients were like me.
This is all very emotional for me. I was in tears on the way to chemo this morning, and in tears outside of Dr. B's office just a little while ago. I read a little in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Sogyal Rimpoche talks about tonglen. I've always taken tonglen very seriously. I've felt a strong desire to do it. This is very deep. And increasingly, over many years I've realized the necessity, the seriousness, and the grounding in the dharma. The practice could be dangerous.
I wonder why Sogyal Rimpoche puts it out so directly in the book. He explicitly suggests that for someone with AIDS or cancer that they could take on the suffering of others. I mean I've felt to do this and I've consciously decided to open to the practice. Indeed I wonder if or how I've been injured. Seems to me that my wanting to take everything on could be a great source of imbalance.
The interesting thing though is that the pain is just the pain. I know that I've really avoided pain for much of my life, so why not enter in and let it be; not seek to avoid the suffering but enter into the suffering. In this way there is a shift in that I can take on the suffering for the benefit of others. I think I need to work with this more. I think I need to understand. I think this is part of my path to become a healer. I mean I eat food to avoid the pain of longing and lostness. I look for a full body connection through my eating, an experience of satiation and fullness.
On my way to the dentist. I'm a pretty spaced out guy, but a lot better than I used to be. Why can't I truly focus on what is here for me to do? I waste time. After I got home from Dr. B's I knew I had only limited time to get to Angstadt's but I putzed around on the net checking in here and there.
Dr. B and I didn't even discuss surgery as a current strategy. I'm looking to completely eliminate this cancer just through practice. Maybe I can do only a few more weeks of chemo. I don't know. Maybe I can find the way to seriously take care of my health. Do it in a deeper way.
My shamanic context can be dangerous. I've looked for these intense experiences. If I have to do radiation or surgery I think that's the mode I would come to terms with the cancer in. There's a good chance I won't have to go that route. So where does this put me in terms of shamanic completion?
I really have to go deep to sort out the truth of this whole thing. Really has to do with very deep meaning in terms of suffering, authenticity and integration. And what about healing of others, what about understanding what people experience?
Thursday June 18, 1998
The tumor on my neck is now down to a fraction of what it was. This is a miracle. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm on the trail. I feel grateful and see that this has much to do with spirit.
In contemplation of the cancer it seems to me that the cancer represents a severe imbalance. It is clear that I've been very out of balance in my life. The good news is that this imbalance appears to be a shamanic imbalance. I saw the imbalance in my visions. I recognized that I would remain, as the world remains in levels of mask. At some point, when the proper time would come, masks would drop away. These are the termas, the discovered hidden teachings.
So the cancer is a mask. Amazingly it seems that the cancer is healing. And concomitantly, there is so much good arising in my life.
A big part of my healing I believe is my expression. I've been expressing more lately and this is helping to release stored energies. It seems I have had major clogging in the pipes of self-expression. I think of the contact I made two years ago with the AH of OM AH HUM. I think of the heart at throat of the speaker card of the New Tarot. This morning once again I felt the "big" expression store that feels as a block. I felt it as I moved attention to my throat. Movement of this energy may represent a significant part of my healing. Gotta find the way to take care of myself. I believe I'm on the road to this end.
I was up this morning at 3:30. I had slipped off the sleep during the movie at a little after 10. So I got 5 hours, maybe 5 ½. I decided to get up and did some meditation and mantra. It was great.
Friday June 19, 1998
Sleeping has been a bit out of balance but there doesn't seem like I can do a whole lot about it other than really be sure I don't overexert myself. Pace myself. I went to sleep about 7 this evening. Woke up once I guess about 9, sat up in the chair for awhile, then went back to bed until 1 AM. I've definitely been charged with energy. Don't really know what that's from. Could be from a combination of things like this whole healing process seems to be -- the supernutrients, some spiritual energy basis, the steriod anti-nausea drugs, reversal of sexual indulgence. Who knows?
In a way I feel like I'm in my workshop right now. My practice is largely about grounding. In my workshop I organize my symbols and materials so as to organize my process and hence my awareness.
Yesterday morning, in waking up early and seeing my parents get up I felt completions of the visionary energies of more than 28 years ago. In the throes of visionary experience I was up late at night. My parents were half asleep. I'm in such a different place today, but experience some of those same deep energies in a more integrated way.
I think of much of my organizational practice, even at least some of the work I do as spiritual practice. I've been given so much spirit. Seems like more than I can handle. Maybe we all are given this. Samsara is nirvana.
Just read a chapter in Dreamtime and Inner Space on sickness and suffering. This chapter speaks of sickness as a shamanic calling or gift, a means to evolve the shamanic calling. I relate strongly to parts of the chapter. My cancer in this way can indeed be seen as a calling and gift.
Kalweit writes of many shamans from the world over who have endured years of illness. Some of these came to their final calling after many years.
My own case is unique, as is the case for many. Our culture does not have a shamanic context. I have had to seek my own, really build my own. This is the finding of my voice. My initial initiation came through my visions. It has taken me 30 years to integrate. Actually the calling really happened in adolescence when I was so ostracized from normal society.
My path has not been easy. Over the years I have felt pretty much suffering and pain from being different. I've been chronically unfulfilled, seeking for fulfillment in ways that I've had to dig out from the heaps of conscious/unconscious material. Some aspects have only gradually come clear.
So my sickness is a wholeness, a coming together of multiple dimensions. It is at once a stripping away and an integration. It seems the vajra path is like this, multiple contexts happening simultaneously.
Now readng LeShan. LeShan speaks in chapter 2 on page 41-42 about imaging the good happening or the good thing that should happen in one's life. What is my ideal scene? This brings up different things in me. In one sense I'm still deeply driven by the goal of enlightenment. This could be bodhichitta. This has no concrete image, no clear set of circumstances. It is a spiritual sense. Much of my life has been involved and dedicated to this process. Forms of the process have come and gone and some of these forms have been highly dramatic.
The forms seem gradually to come more clear and more grounded. I've done some real work. I'm good with computers, I've done a lot of good webpage expression, I've done good work with PMHCA. These are expressions in ways of healing.
What brings me the greatest joy is the states of ecstasis that I experience in spiritual states. I had an epiphany just two days ago with Kenny at the mall. I felt I had come further and that I was being successful in a process of healing. How best to I transfer this "merit" to others, so as to benefit others. This would be a healing mode.
I feel that I am called to be a healer. What does this mean for me? How best can I be this?
There is a lot of implicit content in some areas of what I say in this journal entries. This is part of why I get overwhelmed. My idea center is so much more than what I can express through the mechanisms of my body. Still I've got to try.
There's a lot that comes up for me reading LeShan. He does mention on page 43 about some who are able to cross the mountains alone. This has been my case. Will it always be? I do feel the presence of supernatural / spiritual beings. These forces put situations in my path.
Here is a key dilemma: it somehow feels right that I continue to go through difficult circumstances. What is wrong with this picture? Obviously I don't want the pain per se. But what if the pain is the optimal development tool? Then it is the vajra path, my best path to enlightenment in this lifetime. The path that offers the most potential. It is true that I'm getting better at dealing with the difficult circumstances. What if I were able to be a living transmuter of suffering? Isn't that what a healer is? To do this means complete dedication. It seems that the "dedication of merits" is an authentic means of this.
I gotta continue my process of relating to people. Intimacy has been such a strong calling for me. Really it's one of my main images of joy and fulfillment. But intimacy is directly tied to healing. One person is not enough. The Schindler myth is present. The Bodhisattva teaching fits. Just now I read LeShan and burst into tears reading his account of Minnie, who for so many years worked hard for others, but only burst forth into bloom before the end of her life, like summer leaves moving into autumn reds and golds. Unlike Minnie I've not been a physically manifest hard worker for others. My healing path must include intimacy with myself and others.
Communication. Intimacy. Presence with transformation of others (healing).
These are key factors. What is the resolution of these?
It's like all this stored shakti breaking off like huge ice chunks from the polar north. This is even in alignment with my visions. The breaking off has happened with PMHCA and in a way with this cancer. The ice is transforming. Just now breaking away, melting somewhat. Redirecting.
I think I can find the way with Robin Printing. It's gotta be a creative way and I gotta have my own voice. There are ways I can be a presence in the company, ways I can connect with folks. Folks will want to come around because of me. They'll be happy to see me and we can share. And I can do the work in a good way, in a relaxed way, in a friendly way for the benefit of all. There is healing with my father to happen. My visions were of tranformations for my parents.
Saturday June 20, 1998
Tonight I've been slipping in and out of short sleeps. I've gotten pretty much sleep from 10 to 3:30. For some of these sleeps I've drifted off doing mantra Recently I did this and dreamed the following:
Dream: I have a small blue square bundle, like a little bundle of sacred Tibetan text. I take it on a journey through mountains, feels like Tibet, maybe Colorado. I go through some mountain forest and perhaps through caves to an outdoor program and on a stage. Chogyam Trungpa is on the stage with some other lamas. I sit near him, then to his right and behind a bit. He wants me to sit next to him and to hold his bare back. I have a very beautiful experience and feel some sort of spiritual transmission.
This dream experience feels authentic. I get the word abhisheka.
According to some of what I read this morning in The Rain of Wisdom and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, the ruby red light is the Light of Discrimination. The light of discrimination is the transformed poison of desire and passion. Certainly I've been indiscriminate in my life. This is so interesting how it relates to the throat chakra and AH.
Discrimination is the basis of focus, a word that others have offered me as their perspective on what would be useful for me. If I can discriminate moment by moment what is dharmically correct, and on the basis of that choice carry through into action, I believe I can purify my karmas and obtain siddhi presence.
Tuesday June 23, 1998
On my way to session number four of chemo at Pottstown. Got into the truck and heard a loud noise this morning pulling away. I felt a drag and figured a box was stuck. Turned out to be a flat tire. I drove to Roger's Garage and Dave took care of me right away. He's just so wonderful. He got the flat off and put air in four tires. I'm on my way. Really not going to be late at all.
I'm into the energy. I'm into experiencing beautiful energy. And so where does this energy come from that I'm experiencing? I guess synergy of all of what's going on for me. I'm really doing pretty good and maybe this process represents a real shift in my life. Maybe I'll do well with less sleep. Others do, the Chinese folks. I'm taking Chinese herbs. So I'm not exactly sure what part of my energy is due to toxins and what part due to my positive health strategies.
I'm doing wonderful. Just got done with an exam with Dr. L. As Dr. B had told him, the evidence for the cancer in my throat is gone. My neck tumor is now merely a little swelling.
The focus on aggressive medicine is surprising to me. Dr. L said to me this morning "Unfortunately the cancer comes back. We should start radiation." I said no. He said, "How about surgery.?" I said no. I want to do the minimum and I want to take care of myself." He said fine.
I feel good to be in control of this situation. Dr. L might want to continue the chemo all along. I think next week will be my last chemo session.
Dr. L reiterates that I'm doing very well. He says it's a miracle. My neck tumor had been large, 10 x 7 centimeters. Now it's only a slight swelling.
Just got my IV started. Once again, I did some deep breathing and surrender as the nurse put the needle in my wrist. The needle is like a nail going into the hand of Jesus. The pain wasn't much at all. In a way though, pain is pain. Dukkha. Suffering. I think how my pain has been almost nothing, like Peltier says of his prison sacrifice.
This cancer is a wounding that I suppose will stay with me for life. Important for me is to maintain awareness of this wounding and vulnerability, like a variation of "Death as an advisor."
Thursday June 25, 1998
Driving the Robin truck out to New Jersey. I'm all set here, I took the time to fix myself up and pack. I think I've got just about everything. I've even got a cooler with some fresh vegetable juice and drinks. I'm running a little late but that oughta be alright.
I only got about 4 hours sleep again. I haven't been getting much sleep.
This morning I checked in briefly to the Dzogchen site and connected with some really beautiful material. Dzogchen is really connected with the various schools of Buddhism and it seems that I can just plug in to Buddhism from wherever I am at, without worrying about taking the wrong lineage. Practice leads to the throne so I can just make my moves. The making of the moves are what is important.
Friday June 26, 1998
OM VAJRA SATTVA HUM
The Tibetans say: Om Benza Satto Hung. This is the Vajrasattva mantra of purification, healing and transformation. Really fits me at this time as a way to purify, heal and transform my poisonous passions into nectar.
In Jersey on the turnpike pulling out of the Burger King. I really wanted to have an egg and cheese croissant.
Now I'm heading to the shop. I was up at 1:30 last night. I had gotten 4 hours sleep. It was clear that the only option I had was to do the meditation practice. I got just about an hour in and it was good. I really need the practice. I did some basic name and some mantra. Coming out of the session I had an experience of Vajrasattva. I did some reading in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and read about the Vajrasattva mantra which is about purification, healing and transformation. So I'm going to make this mantra a part of my practice. I think the purification is a biggie for me and specifically relates to my throat.
The chemo medication seems to be kicking in more and taking more of a toll on my body. I must tend to my body and get the proper nutrition. Protein seems important for me now. I need to get protein.
Saturday June 27, 1998
Feel more rested than I did last night. Feel somewhat more whole, not so much at the effect of the medication. I started dozing during the movie Volcano, about ½ hour to 3/4 hour into the movie. Then I just said goodnight to Rachel and Richard and slept for about four hours, maybe 4 !/2. As has been the case, I've gotten up often to pee.
Dream. I'm with a husband and wife and daughter in Philadelphia. We ride around the streets some, then go to their home which is a very large house, very expansive. We are all friends. I stay to talk with the wife. The husband comes back. They want to hear my story and I am excited to tell it. I speak about the importance of telling my story in the here and now manner, getting in touch with what I realize now.
Food is medicine. Perhaps I can come up with a practice of right eating. I also would like a more stable meditation practice.
Coming back from Sambhoghakaya. This body is a precious gift. I'm getting the message to incarnate with stability. Interesting how coming to terms with cancer gives me gifts of insight and inspiration to being alive.
I've been intimate with Sambhoghakaya. My NDE has put me there. I've taken the reverse path. I've lived often in my life in the realms of impermanence and change. Haven't had much physical stability.
The stability of the precious human birth is important. I can come to use this vehicle, this precious opportunity for the benefit of all sentient beings. I've had pain in my life. The pain has taught me much. Much of this pain, if not all, has existed in my own appearances. According to what I read last night, the wrathful deities show up in mind. The peaceful deities in the heart.
Read some more in LeShan's book this morning. Once again I read a passage that touched off tears. It concerned a man who realized that he wasn't being fulfilled in his relationship with his wife. He divorced amicably. I'd like intimacy. I really, really enjoy being intimate and deep and real with people. Deep communication. Deep sharing. These qualities are critical to my path and I must find the way to keep them alive.
So I want to wed the Buddha path with these qualities of deep relationship. It seems I should be able to accomplish this through cherishing others instead of dwelling on my own egoic needs.
This was in a chapter concerning holistic principles, that is, the cancer is about emotions and spirit and body and mind. I gotta work with all of these. I realize that this is an emotional healing for me, not just spiritual or physical.
Monday June 29, 1998
Dream - with Dad near an old rotting city harbor area. The water is rust colored, dirty and polluted water like the old city river water that I remember from childhood. One could get in a boat and eventually follow the water out to sea. I look carefully in the tiny littorals and see small old encrusted objects that I recognize as old coins. One by one I pick them up. I am being attentive to detail. Below one old piece I find a small gold chain.
I got really high last night. And getting high was not anything I deliberately tried to make happen with any substances. The condition arose from the circumstances of what is going on for me, I guess the chemo, lack of sleep, mantra, new modes of perception, the communications I've been having etc.
I'm feeling inspired to organize and be grounded. Through self-organization I can accomplish for others
Tuesday June 30, 1998
On my way for my final chemo in Pottstown. I got about 5 hours sleep last night. It was a deeper sleep, pretty good once I got down to it, but I was pretty irritable at times during the evening, both to Heather and to Kenny and his friend. I kind of lost it on Heather about the wash. It didn't matter to me whether I did the wash or she did but I wanted the wash done. A lot came out, a lot was expressed. In a way, this stuff had to come out. Actually I'm glad it all did come out. I don't want to hurt Heather but she needs to hear this stuff.
With Kenny and Ben, I was upset at the guys being up at 2 AM. I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable with Kenny's friend there. This emotional experience was really a lot about my stuff. I felt they were picking at the food items and drinking all the soda. That's the kind of stuff I do.
I have a lot of resistance about being organized. Where does this resistance come from? I'd like to move past. It seems that with organization I could actually make beautiful, major statements. The resistance is about doing, getting done. I experience some with putting together the Buddhist packets in my notebook and I experience a whole lot of resistance with getting the PMHCA expenses together.
It wasn't just my attitude, it was like physical obstructions that showed up. I kept moving stuff and losing stuff and resorting in big piles. It was overwhelming. It was like I had to cut through the resistance with pure grit. Not sure why all of this. Seems like a reaction of the physical world. Reminds me of Carl Jung's physical phenomena and some of where Garry Rhea-Airth was coming from.
"Remarkable" says Dr. L as he walks through the chemo waiting room and observes my neck.
It's gorgeous out. The air is clear, just had a heavy rain storm. Really cool evening. Want to get some walking in before dark. I just had an experience of healing, a beautiful experience of Christ's "behold I make all things new". I flashed on the image of Ben Hur's mother and sister being healed of leprosy and the lightning flashes in front of Jesus on the cross after the storm. The lightning flashed and they were healed. This affected me very deeply as a child and it affects me now. I burst into tears with the beauty of this.Return to Bobby's Page