“Trust God and Tie your Camel” – an old Sufi quote.
Each year I come home from Brazil filled with new learning and profound experiences. I see that this year I went with expectations of similar experiences. I had a wonderful group of 20 people accompanying me, many of who had been students and friends for many years. I looked forward to the time with them. In 5 weeks there would be time to stand under the waterfall and relax into that beauty and purification, to ride my bike down flower strewn lanes, to swim in a sunlit pool, to visit with friends, and to sit at the overlook with it’s vast views and rest in spacious awareness. The final 2 weeks, when I would be more on my own, I could focus even more on meditation and silence, work with the Entities and the beautiful energy there, healing and growth.
Life gives us what we need, not what we expect. We may choose: to take what’s given and learn from the lessons it brings, or to fight against it and become filled with anger or a sense of betrayal or injustice. At first glance it seemed this Casa trip didn’t give me what I thought I wanted or believed I needed. The first 2 weeks were lovely, a wonderful time for my group and me. It is a delight to bring people there, introduce them to this magical place, and see them blossom. The Entities also were working on me frequently, and I could feel the positive results: sinus congestion of months gone the first day as I sat in Current, knee pain gone following 2 operations, also done in the Current room. It seemed like every time I walked into the Casa, an Entity appeared and said, “I want you in my Current.” The heart opening in these situations was profound.
One day I was sitting outside the surgery room to pick up one of my group after his operation. I was one of about a dozen people sitting on the benches there. The Entity opened Joao’s office door and called to me. I went to him and he brought me into Joao’s office. It was the Entity I have come to know as Dr. Valdivino. For about 3 minutes he held both my hands, and looked in my eyes with deep compassion and love, talking all the while. My mind was spinning, trying to get what he was saying, frustrated because I so much wanted this opportunity to converse and could not understand anything. I was experiencing grasping instead of the joy of his presence. I interrupted when he paused and said, “Eu sou surda” (I am deaf) but of course he knows that. He just nodded, smiled and resumed talking. At that point the cognizing mind shattered and my heart listened as he continued to speak words I could not hear in a language I don’t know. There was no thought at all. I could feel and allow the unconditional love that flowed from him. The concepts no longer mattered. My heart heard him perfectly. After a few minutes resting in his love and with his continued words, he led me to his Current room.
Another day I waited in the Main Hall to go through the line and ask a question. The incorporated entity came out on the stage. It was Dom Inacio, the leading entity there at Casa de Dom Inacio. He does not incorporate often. He looked directly at me, walked to where I stood by the stage, reached out his hand and said, “You know where I want you. Go to my Current.” Each time I went through the line the Entity would say, “You know where I want you. Sit in my Current. I am helping you.” I felt very seen and loved.
Can we allow that love to be felt, allow ourselves to know our innate divinity, radiance and perfection, even when the conditions don’t directly seem to support it? On Thursday of the third week the Entity sent me to surgery (unusual while my group was still there). Several days before, I had developed a high fever, diarrhea and nausea. Now I could do little but lie in bed, sleep, and toss fitfully in an uncomfortable body. The week passed and week four began. Mind kept going to, “Not fair; this was to be my week to do my own inner work,” ludicrous of course when you consider that all that stopped me from doing that work as I lay in bed was my own racing mind and expectations. Each day I thought, “Tomorrow I’ll feel better,” and of course that thought aroused enormous grasping and suffering. The deep sense of being seen and heard gave way to the old conditioned thoughts of being invisible and unloved, and although I was able to see those thoughts as just the unfolding of old conditioning, and let them go, they did return frequently for several days. Gradually they ceased; mind quieted, and there was just a feverish woman lying in a bed.
Then came the next question, mind again racing; “If I am seen so deeply, they know what’s happening with me, they must intend this fever for a reason. Maybe it’s for some purification. Who am I to question it? Just let it be.” But we always have free will and nothing ever happens without our agreement at some level. It was at this point that I dragged myself out of bed, went to the Casa to go through the second time line and ask for help, ask why the fever, and Dom Inacio took one look at me and sent me to his Current. “He knows my needs,” the overactive mind argued, with the alternating, “Why won’t he let me ask?” as I sat there in the Current. One opinion seemed to be the voice of fear and one the voice of love. What was most genuine in that moment? Fear and love are not mutually exclusive.
My mind moved to an old story as I sat there that morning:
There was a man caught in a flood; he climbed to the roof of his house and began to pray to God to save him, and heard from God, “I will save you.”
Shortly, a log bumped against where he perched at the rooftop. He thought about climbing on, then thought, “No; God will save me.”
Next came a raft that was rescuing people. “We have room; come” “No,” he said. “God will save me.”
Finally a boat arrived, the rescuers inviting him aboard.. “No, God will save me.”
He drowned when the waters rose. He came to those “pearly gates” and asked with anger, “Why didn’t you save me?”
“Son, I sent you a log, a raft, and a boat. Why didn’t you save yourself?”
What does it mean to save ourselves? Where is the balance between faith and action? If trust is there, from what would I “save myself?” How do I trust that all is as it needs to be, yet still act to “save myself” with love?
My meditation teaches me that we co-create everything. If I wish to hear, there has to be a conscious choice no longer to participate in the old stories of being shut out, deaf or separate. Then I become aware of, and can more fully enact that which already hears, just as I was able to open my heart and fully “hear” the Entity with my heart that day in Joao’s office. We open to the already present reality without grasping, but always by inviting.
I thought I was “inviting;” I thought there was equanimity. But there is a strong distinction between resignation and equanimity. Resignation is contracted, low in energy, and filled with grasping. It is the ‘near enemy’ of equanimity; it distracts us so we can’t experience the true equanimity that’s already there. We believe, “I must fix this contraction (illness, deafness, whatever), instead of just breaking through it. We need not identify with the body or mind, can rest in the loving spaciousness and ultimate reality of our innate perfection, yet we must still attend to the relative reality of our situation, and with compassion. True equanimity is what arose as I stood with the entity holding my hands, yet with ears not hearing. The heart opened with love and presence. There was compassion for the human who could not hear, and an intention to invite physical healing.
Through the week, lying feverish in bed, I explored that line between resignation and equanimity, and how only true equanimity could allow choice from the place of love. Fear was not denied or extinguished but noted with compassion, known for what it was, seen and released, again and again. The illness continued. I took an antibiotic and the fever stopped but I was very weak.
I decided to return to the US a week early. Mind continued to leap back and forth from, “I should have faith” to “I must fix this” until the duality of those stances fell apart. “I must attend to this body with compassion for it is experiencing severe illness”, unified with “In the long run, this is for the good and that good will reveal itself. Don’t be afraid, but respond with compassion to the body’s needs.” Slowly, mind began to let go of attachment to outcome, and to just watch this whole progression from a more empty place; to choose for returning health and make skillful choices to support that intention, bit also to nurture, “Don’t know” mind. In the big picture, I simply don’t know. Things will be as they are, and my deepest well-being is not dependent on external conditions.
Now (late Feb) I’ve been home for three weeks. The body is healing, There are still occasional fever spikes. My doctor is doing tests, perhaps to find some tropical bug or parasite that needs further invitation to leave the body. Perhaps there is nothing. Trust God, and tie my camel. No fear, but skillful choice from the deepest place of emptiness of which this heart is presently capable.