On April 27 my life changed forever with a seizure and following that: the diagnosis of brain cancer. I am beginning full spectrum treatment on Thursday the 28th with radiation, chemo, and cannabis. Here is a post from my blog series on cancer and personal transformation. My hope is to document my efforts to find connection and healing in the battle with cancer.
petefarrupdate.wordpress.com that deals with my changing relationship to Buddhism.
It is necessary to change that now. I am blending my inner and outer worlds in a necessary union of oneness which is needed to generate healing cancer curing energy. No more blockages and compartmentalization of my life force. I need to openly live the path that I have been studying for a lifetime. Let me begin to share some of it with you.
It would come out in hints. I have been a vegetarian for 42 years and had just become a vegan. I have no military stories to tell. I was a conscientious objector during Viet Nam. My two years of alternative service was at Gateways Hospital (a private psychiatric facility within crowd cheering noise of The Dodgers Chavez Ravine). I still carry the vow to hold all life sacred and not participate in killing. I wear Buddhist prayer beads under my shirt and occasionally sit in meditation when Panorama holds all day retreats. My religion was a private thing. I sit every day and dabble in books that evoke the spirit of Buddha. Looking at my practice now I have to laugh. I said I loved all sentient beings, but they were actually too much trouble for me to connect with in my daily practice. Shame would whisper in my who are you to talk about universal truth? Hunker down, meditate in isolation, read those books that give you spiritual goosebumps,and try to live a vital, authentic but private religious life. Being a visible Buddhist elementary school teacher in rural Central Oregon, the land of prayer breakfast PTA moms, would have complicated my teaching. I learned how to go and be an active practicing Buddhist in stealth mode.
My concept of meditation since my brush with death has profoundly changed.
Pre-seizure Pete had used meditation as a treasured daily quiet time for settling of the mind. Like dirty muddy water in a jar, the act of sitting still and waiting in awareness of each breath going i. pause out, pause in, pause out, paus noting thoughts, notice pause out, pause feelings, notice and on til an arbitrary time is reached when I bow and arise to join the world refreshed. Arise, toilet, brush teeth, start coffee, meditate, drink coffee and bow, shave. wash, dress.
Then I would enter Panorama social activity a mind a little less muddy, wearing the hidden prayer beads. Meditation was basically an automatic wired- in mental health habit right between bushing teeth and the first cup of coffee.
I knew from my readings that meditation promised transformation into a deeper awareness of our inner being, but I was content with the cozy spiritual life of a comfortable retired seeker on a graceful aging glide path.
Enter the dragon of a brain induced seizure. I was brought gasping & kicking to the edge of being and then allowed to return with my eyes wide open. When I came back, that little me that was running the religion practice had abandoned ship. That little voice that knew so little about spirit but was running the practice had flown the coop. My new religion now is" I dont know what religion is". All I want to do is experience the moment, be truthful, be kind, and be helpful. I trust the ancient Buddhist tradition to help me better understand my new sense of being. I will be attending our local Nalanda Institute mediations and lectures. http://www.nalandaolywa.org/
Anything else right now is too much distraction.
Now I look at my former meditation practice as a very nice daily activity that kept my busy little self calm and relaxed my mind. My little self was also pretending to have the potential to become enlightened if it just sat long enough or read the right book, or dropped into a magical state by chance. The magical drop-in part happened but the little self just wasn't able to handle the ride. That little self isn't able to sneak into the big dance.