considering Nobody-ness (Part 2, continued from previous post)
"...clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value."
- Mary Oliver
... so this is where I'm at, today.
this wild and precious life I have has more or less ground to a halt, as I've known it to date. contrasted with years and years of solid day-in, day-out teaching and healing, preparing students, leading process groups, traveling back and forth to India, facilitating satsangs, fire homas, music concerts, special events and running an active temple -- my life today is almost devoid of these activities, with a few notable exceptions, all revolving around the action of service.
I barely teach workshops these days, since so few people seem to be interested in the depths of spiritual knowledge from ancient India -- especially because it requires some hard work and discipline to attain that knowledge. sometimes the easier, more superficial subjects and meditation experiences are where the majority of people want to go. I can't say I blame them! (after all, I'm still on a lawn chair in a lovely hotel yard, contemplating my own navel, most of the time!)
I don't present, always, as a 'spiritual master healer' or leader of any sort when I'm out and about in the world. more and more, I hang out with 'ordinary people,' not avowedly or overtly 'spiritual' folks, or even in the company of people who are vehemently opposed to all things spiritual in nature -- and I'm not perceived to be anything special, or particularly interesting.
in many ways, I feel that I'm masquerading in the role of a simple, ordinary, normal human being -- and it's at once a relief (not to have to perform to any particular expectations, perception of authority or labels) mingled with a kind of 'wtf?' feeling when my opinions or statements (especially about spirituality) aren't met with any level of respect or recognition commensurate with what I know my inner experience, and truth of my history, to be.
it's a really good, and interesting, slap to my own egoism -- this feeling of being pretty much unimportant, irrelevant... Nobody.
I enjoy working with our veterans and military families, however I'm able -- healing PTSD cases, doing hospice through The Twilight Brigade/Compassion In Action, volunteering at the VA in different capacities, or helping out via UCBK's veteran healing services.
my formal healing practice is kind of hit-or-miss -- I'm available but the recognition of a need for healing doesn't seem to be a primary motivation in the minds/hearts of many people. so my healing, like my lawn chair approach to so many things in spirituality, has become a behind-the-scenes activity -- I'm constantly sending distance healing to many, many people. the miraculous results and life-changing turnarounds are still happening, but no one even knows I had any involvement in these situations or lives, on the surface.
years ago I read a passage from Rumi (that I haven't been able to locate since, alas) where he said something like, "you will take care of thousands of people/yet never know their names."
one of the most amazing examples, actually, of this approach to healing came unexpectedly last month.
I'd seen a brilliant, professional woman for healing, once, in LA -- I'll call her R., -- she'd been through a total traumatic wringer in her life, really appalling health circumstances had plagued her through her life, and she's only about 40 right now. I'd seen a piece she wrote on the net, and was deeply moved by her situation -- enough to offer a formal healing to a total stranger. (we had a friend in common who passed on my offer.)
although I did the healing, her heart was so utterly closed and bruised that she couldn't really receive it -- although some circumstances in her life and traumatic times did start to improve, over the year that followed the healing. she was obviously not inclined to stay in touch with me -- although I've kept doing distance healing for her, blessing her life, from the lawn chair in my background role, ever since I met her.
a few weeks ago, our mutual friend called me in horror -- R.'s husband, business partner and soul mate, also fairly young (early 40s) was suddenly in the hospital with a life-threatening condition, like out of nowhere. I read her blogs on the net and -- omg! he was really close to dying. just, in a few days of hospital admission.
this was, I think, on a Tuesday afternoon.
he wasn't responding to any medication, the doctors were baffled but trying everything they could think to do.... it was really appalling serious. and she was being unbelievably stalwart, positive, brave, prayerful, and trying to make sense of it all while being a real life-line to her fragile, slipping-away mate.
all I could think about were the incomprehensible mountains of pain and horror, and the intense suffering, that this woman had ALREADY been through in her life -- and that the divine just couldn't, could not, must not, subject her to the loss of her husband on top of it all. it was just too much to bear.
so I began doing serious, intense, distance healing and called many friends to also ask them to send distance healing to this man none of us had ever met. (and R., the woman, and their young daughter.) some of the most intense, divine intervention kinds of healing tools I know were immediately and constantly put into use, in the service of this man's life.
by Friday came the word that he had -- inexplicably -- turned the corner.
that Friday afternoon, I read her blog entry from the Thursday night before -- he had been so sick, so far away, so out of consciousness, that she had basically written a plaintive, poignant, gut-wrenching farewell to him... I was very glad I hadn't read this until the next day, and that he was beginning to show signs of improvement.
on Saturday, my friend sent me a photo -- one of the most joyful, heart-melting sights I've ever seen in my life as a healer. it was taken from the back, and it was in a hospital hallway, of R. and her husband, obviously weak and in a hospital gown, with a portable IV contraption on his side, leaning on her shoulder as they took a walk down the hospital hall together, gently, for the first time since he'd been admitted to the hospital nearly a week before!
he was walking! he was on the mend! he wasn't going to die after all! R. wasn't going to have to face the unspeakable tragedy of young widowhood, and the total loss of her soul mate, best friend, husband and partner!!!!!!
I cried in sheer relief, and in sheer joy, at the phenomenal miracle of such a healing moment. my heart was too full to speak! I was so grateful -- for the tools that I know -- for the crew of dedicated healers, students and colleagues alike, who'd all taken the time from their hearts to send healing to this total stranger.
and then I remembered that he was, in fact, a total stranger -- someone I had never met, and would likely never meet!
it was weird, in the anxiety and worry for his situation, and R.'s potential devastation of the loss of his life, coupled with the intimacy of soul-to-soul healing day in and day out for several intense days -- I had completely forgotten that I didn't actually know this man in person.
I celebrated privately, inside, my soul singing in joy and delight, in happiness and gratitude, for days. I thanked my master Kaleshwar, and his entire lineage of holy saints and souls (for it's really all their miraculous energetic abilities that did the heavy lifting in this case -- people like me are just instruments of intention, directing that energy somewhere specific in this world, like to R's husband). I knew it was really the victory of the divine, this healing, and I was so ecstatic, beyond words.
at one point, my friend (mutual with R. and her husband) asked me, "do you want me to tell them?" and my response was immediate, and sure: "absolutely not. what would be the point? I know how this miracle healing happened, and you know, and the other people who sent distance healing know... and that's enough, don't you think?"
"Because of his pure open heart (in service) to his master,
Hanuman became more powerful than his master Rama."
- Sri Kaleshwar
so, what I'm left with at the moment is this final thought about the great, powerful, staggering humility and pure service of Hanuman, the monkey god who overcame the monkey mind completely -- through his pure open heart. Hanuman never had a single thought about himself -- his whole mind was only focused on his master, Rama, and how he could be of service to Rama.
because of this single point of focus and devotion, from his heart, Hanuman didn't even realize he had supernatural abilities -- he could fly through the air, lift whole mountains out of the ground and carry them in the air from one place to another, he could become giant-sized in battle, if needed, or shrink himself to the tiniest, barely visible form... and many other abilities.
Hanuman didn't ever think on his own desires, and so even when his master Rama's service demanded he put his supernatural abilities into action to help Rama, usually someone else had to remind Hanuman that he even had these capabilities in the first place!
what I learn from this is the utter value of seva (selfless service) as a tool to keep the heart open, the mind clear, the self humble and the pernicious impulses towards identity as a Somebody under some kind of control.
I take the lesson that being a Nobody -- an anonymous, unknown, even obscure personality -- even in the community of Sai students, teachers, and practitioners that I know -- is a precious, important step in my own evolution as a healer and a spiritual character.
being confined in a delightful lawn-chair by my own master is, obviously, the best way I can serve his needs for me, right now, (and through me, human beings at large) -- and so I'm learning, day by day, to embrace this state even more fully. I am learning to observe but let go of any feelings of regret, or a different desire for myself, ambitions that I may have harbored secretly about stature, position, acclaim or even acknowledgement as a senior teacher in this wild world of Sai spirituality.
I am learning the blessing of being Nobody.
& I am looking forward to the experience -- through the essence of being Nobody -- of growing into the reality of being Everybody. when will that occur? does it really matter? I am happy to say, and with a sunny confidence: "I don't know!"
for the present, my job is to inhabit my present, and play its current role as fully and thoroughly as I played the roles of student and star teacher that preceded it.
I send you all my love and blessings, from my divine lawn chair in the perfectly manicured luxury hotel lawn.....! may you, too, come to recognize the beauty of your own Nobodyhood -- and may we all walk together, becoming Everybody, at last, for the good of all humanity.
may all beings be happy!