Thursday, September 30, 2010

Turning Around

Morning Mist at Grailville
On my first retreat, I just hoped, fervently, to get through it, to endure.  On my second retreat I tasted the joy of dropping my busy life and abiding in emptiness, and I began to hope to attain enlightenment, which I conceived of as always abiding in emptiness.  This fall, many retreats later, I was back to hoping to get through it without getting exhausted and sick. Before the retreat began I told Ama Samy that I might not be able to make all the sits.  He understood - I had been sick the last time I came to retreat, in 2007, so sick that I felt discouraged about coming back.

I had an aspiration coming in - that I would accept whatever happens with my coming kidney transplant. The response was somewhat different than I thought it would be.  I find I am now at ease with the transplant.  My mind has been stripped of the parade of fears and symbolizing, both forms of delusion.  Now I see that transplant is a medical treatment; the OSU team does about 200 kidney transplants a year.  Every transplant center's numbers are posted online - short- and long-term survival of both "the graft" and the donor - and their numbers are good.  There is so much oversight of transplants that you might stand a better chance with this kind of surgery than any other.

How did this change happen?  I was not aware of any blinding insight as I sat day after day, and I didn't notice this new me until I was talking with a friend about it yesterday.  If I named one crucial moment, it must be the healing blessing given to me on Sunday, after the Eucharist (Ama Samy is also a Jesuit priest), when people can ask for prayers for those in need.  Ama Samy surprised me into tears by calling me forward and asking everyone to lay hands on me, and pray for my good health, and he did himself. 

The energy of this long moment of love from so many hands filled the center of my body, my heart, I guess it is, and for the next day or two I was deeply relaxed and tired - or perhaps I knew how very tired I was, and stopped trying.  I rested, joining only some of the sits, hardly able to walk to the dining hall, too tired to get up and walk kinhin or go to dokusan (individual brief meetings with the Teacher). 

Then I was fine, feeling better than I had for years.  I made it to almost every sit, going to dokusan even when I had nothing much to say except to express gratitude.

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