So this is the answer to my post below. Thank you, thank you, yoga9vipassana.
Maybe because I grew up on the coast, maybe it’s the under-reporting of what’s going on as a result of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, or just my general state of worry, but this story above, and this one, about Japanese murdering dolphins — and others circulating about the welfare of the oceans — have been literally catching me during the day and buckling me over in sorrow. It’s been going on for about a week.
I keep remembering something Joseph Campbell said about how you have to say yes to suffering. I’m trying. But it’s still hard to get my head around. I try to see through the lens that we’re all this extension of God, that the entity that is the divine is all encompassing, yes, and these earthly forms sort of drip down out of that, still connected, just like a baby to its umbilical cord — even though we don’t realize it. And so when death comes to the form (whatever form we take, human, fish, dolphin, whale, ray) it’s really just that, the extinguishing of the form. The essence remains, glorious and free from suffering, and finally complete again. With the shell gone, we become one with the creator.
But what about the form and the suffering? What about these animals, whose intelligence, whose personal horrors we know nothing about, and the suffering they’re enduring in their earthly form? And what of those who inflict the suffering — essentially all of us?
In yoga we learned about karma — not the Americanized version, but the true cycle, which tells of how we’re imprinted from our actions in past lives. We can change our impulses that result from these imprints by sitting in meditation, a process which turns off the mindstuff and tunes us in to our higher selves, breaking off these tendencies.
But I don’t know. It’s still just so difficult to come to terms with, when you see beings suffering needlessly. Ruthlessly. At the hands of a being that knows better, that has a conscience and is capable of better.
There’s no answer, just the cycling through of this feeling that overtakes me. For now, I’m just breathing through it.
Dostoyevsky, F. (1922). The brothers Karamazov. New York: Macmillan.
Dealing with my own pain issues the last few days — Piriformis Syndrome. Feels like Sciatica because the muscle presses into the nerve (OW) but isn’t as bad as true Sciatica. Just sucky. Uncomfortable, burning. Lots of rolling, but once the nerve is inflamed, it takes a little while to calm down.
I’m getting relief from rolling, so there’s that. But it’s definitely still gnawing at me a good part of the day.
I’ll try to post progress here. In the meantime, this site I stumbled on has really good lay-terminology about different conditions titled “where does it hurt?”. I love finding easy-to-understand info about problems in the body — makes unraveling it all a little easier.
For the last several weeks, I have been plagued with a question.
The following refrain has been playing over and over in my head. All feelings are mutual. All feelings are mutual. All feelings are mutual.
I can feel the truth of it in my bones.
And yet, I can’t figure out what it means. Why is this message is coming to me now? Why does it feel so important to wrap my head around it?
And so I did something really smart –I reached out to one of the wise teachers in my world and asked. What the heck does “all feelings are mutual” mean? Turns out she was exactly the right person to ask.
Here is Karen Maezen Miller’s beautiful response below:
How nice to hear from you. You approach me with gratitude for my words, and I respond to you with equal gratitude. That’s what it means. We all know what this means by our own experience:
If I am cranky, the world reflects my crankiness.
If I am angry, the world returns my anger.
If I am critical, the world returns my small-mindedness.
If I am non-judgmental, the world accepts me.
If I smile, someone smiles back.
And so on.
We see and receive whatever we project.
And just so we don’t feel as if we are carrying the blame for all the negativity, just observe and respect that everyone is suffering. That’s what we share most of all!
This is not a philosophy. It really works like this.
But we have to see it for ourselves and take responsibility for ourselves. If we are the least bit aware, we will be careful with what we give to the world. It will always return to us, because of the physical reality of the universe. Although it looks like we are separate, we are not. We share everything; we are like waves in an ocean. If an ocean is poisoned, every wave carries the poison, no?
I have read her message over and over to myself. I have read it out loud to a friend and to nobody in particular. And I’m just now beginning to understand it in a deep way. It feels as if spirit has been smiling down on me, whispering in my ear, and then leading me to the perfect interpreter.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) - Anatomical studies of the shoulder, between 1510 and 1511