Rapture?

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W4TVQ
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Re: Rapture?

Postby W4TVQ » September 29th, 2009, 6:49 pm

I do appreciate the feedback, Georg. I know that there must be some good in this, or that some good may come of it ... but I think I am too close to it to be able to hang on to that as a live hope. I;'ve researched dysgeusia onthe web and it tells me that there is hope that it will clear up by itself, but no assurance that it will. The longer i go unable to eat real food, the more I feel that some spirit is playing a sick, hateful trick on me ... and that is probably silly, but starving people don't reason well.

In any case, if the Zinc supplementation I'm trying now doesn't do the job, I'll have to consult the physicians, an option that i resist to the uttermost but may have to choose. Meanwhile, I am comng to understand Swinburne's feelilngs expressd in "The Garden of Proserpine:"

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
that no life lives forever;
that dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

I'm 71 and have had a relatively good life. My only regret in leaving this life would be missing some more years with my lovely Peggy. Ten people out of ten die of something, and i don't expect to be an exception. I'd be happy if time or my doctor could "fix" this thing, but if not, I guess I'm ready to check out of this hotel and shuffle on down the line.
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Speculum
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Re: Rapture?

Postby Speculum » October 8th, 2009, 12:19 pm

Art, I am so sorry to hear about your health situation.

Georg makes good sense, but as you observed, all the same, it's no fun.

You should not be surprised or concerned about your reaction, be it fear or frustration or whatever. Consider Ram Das (Richard Alpert), who spent decades as a close, even intimate, active disciple of Babaji (Neem Karoli Baba). As he writes about it, his relationship with Babaji was literally all-consuming, affecting every aspect of his life. Wherever he was, whatever he did, Babaji was always there, the presence always evident. And yet Ram Das reports that at the moment of suffering a stroke, it all vanished; none of it was there. He was alone. The “spiritual foundation” he had come to assume was permanent and indestructible, wasn't there. He reacted just as anyone else would to the physical crisis the stroke presented.

And I urge you not to feel badly about being angry or frustrated or disappointed or whatever is the right word here, at God. My experience has been that God much prefers our directing all our anger at Him or Her than directing it at others or holding it in or rationalizing it or whatever. Sometimes, we simply have to scream and shout, and whatever the issue, God is always the best target.

As for dying, please do not give up so easily. Although your situation, as you describe it, does sound serious, my experience has been that the body’s ability to stay alive can be surprisingly potent. It has its own survival mechanism, and it is often able to find a way to continue, even in the face of apparent starvation. Although in a very different circumstance than yours now, I undertook a very long, extended fast many years ago, and to my surprise, the body did not suffer. On the contrary, while of course I lost a lot of weight, I remained mentally alert and physically active, working in our vegetable garden, cutting and splitting firewood, and the like. At the time, I wondered why I wasn't feeling badly, even deathly; why I wasn't experiencing the symptoms of starvation. I concluded that the difference between fasting, which is not debilitating, and starving, which is life threatening, is that fasting is not eating while not wanting to eat, and starving is not eating while wanting to eat. Here, the body seems to take its signal from the mindset.

That said, I do not for a moment belittle the enormity of feeling which death, especially death apparently at hand, can engender. It is a very serious business. I was much younger then than you and I are now, and again, the circumstances were different. But the body’s ability to survive may be the same.

While of course death at any moment is a possibility throughout our lives – a lightning strike, a car accident, a chunk of junk from space – we tend not to see it or even consider it in youth. But the older we get, and the greater a reality it becomes statistically, the more evident it is.

I enjoy doing crossword puzzles. In our local newspaper, the weekly puzzle is often on the obituaries page. Years ago, I never took notice of that. And even if I had, virtually all of the listings would have been about people far older than I, rendering the notices essentially irrelevant to my situation. Now, I do notice them. What’s more, I observe how many of the listings are about people my age!

From the beginning, we have all known this phase of our lives was coming. Every human being who has ever been born has died or will die. And we all know it, and have always known it. Given that reality over the millennia, one would think that by now we would be far easier about death than we are.

Here’s an item I posted at TZF’s Editor’s Desktop page some years ago. It still bounces around in my head:

There is a family of red foxes that lives in the woods nearby. Last evening, our neighbor saw one of the kits calmly trotting into her barn. This morning, she found the fox in an empty horse stall, curled up against one wall, as if asleep. But the fox was not asleep; the fox was dead. There is a wound on one leg that may have been the cause of death. The warden reports it is not unusual for foxes to select a barn as a place to die.

But here's the thing that's getting to me. All the evidence at the scene suggests this fox died calmly and easily, as if it considered death as natural a process of life as hunting field mice, feasting on wild blueberries, or prancing down a country road. There are no signs of frantic digging, scratching, wall climbing, or other desperate behavior. This fox was not trying to escape its fate, and it did not struggle against it. Instead, it seems that some time yesterday, this fox realized somewhere within that it was going to die last night, and so it found an appropriate site, and, without any fanfare, it simply did so.

Compare that performance with how any of us would have reacted to similar news. We would have fought tooth and nail! What is the difference between us and the fox? Is it perhaps that we perceive death as the opposite of life, and so we fear it terribly; and the fox recognizes death is the opposite of birth, and so takes it in stride.

For anyone in search of a meditation practice, permit me to suggest: Consider the foxes, and how they die.


As I said, although it occurred a long while ago, this incident remains present in my mind, for I still envy that fox’s apparent equanimity with death.

Please know that Nancy and I offer you and Peggy our very best wishes and love.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Rapture?

Postby W4TVQ » October 11th, 2009, 8:44 pm

I like the illustration of the fox. I feel much the same way about dying: I do not fear it, and am willing to go quietly and without struggle if God so wills. My only sticking point is the profound love I feel for Peggy, and the beautiful, ever growing bond between us ... and I don't want her to face grief before it is absolutely necessary. With us it is as you said once about you and Nancy. With us, "Art and Peggy" is one word.

My problem at the moment is that matter of "God's will." I do not seem to have access to that information with regard to my own life and circumstances. It is hard to relax and flow with God's will if one does not know what God's will is. I ask, but he does not answer. I ask for healing, and he does not answer that either. It is to me what St. John of the Cross called "the dark night of the soul."

So all I can do is ask and wait, ask and wait. Meanwhile, I am beginning to feel weak and to lose my balance, and every muscle that I use for any purpose whines and complains about it.

Thanks for the reply: it was indeed helpful. I'll let you know what develops.

Jai Ram
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Re: Rapture?

Postby W4TVQ » November 18th, 2009, 2:03 pm

Update: The cause of my problem may have been uncovered at last. As Sherlock Holmes said, when all other explanations have been ruled out, the one that is left is correct.

All other causes having been ruled out, what is left is the medication nifedipine, which has been known to cause precisely this problem (dysgeusia). In fact, my problem began when my MD increased the dosage of nifedipine; consequent to that, I experienced loss of taste, dzziness, weakness, and (as of today) loss of 30 pounds. My blood pressure dropped to an unsafe low, so I cut back on the nifedipine -- and the sense of taste is coming back!

So that must be it. I see the MD Thursday and hopefully will be put on some other less toxic BP medication.

---------

Interestingly, coincident with my apparent emerging from the nightmare of dysgeusia, I have encountered a most extraordinary teacher. His name, with which you are no doubt quite familiar, is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist, and the book I am currently reading is The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. The only problem this book is causing me is the struggle to slow down, to red it carefully and thoughtfully rather than plow on through hoping to absorb it all in record time. Patience is not a virtue I ever learned well. But holy cow! What an eye-opener.

---------

Just thought I'd share that with you. And say thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Jai Ram
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Speculum
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Re: Rapture?

Postby Speculum » November 22nd, 2009, 1:26 am

The cause of my problem may have been uncovered at last.


Excellent news. Please do keep us informed.

... coincident with my apparent emerging from the nightmare of dysgeusia, I have encountered a most extraordinary teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh ...


So that was the reason for it all!
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Rapture?

Postby W4TVQ » November 22nd, 2009, 4:34 pm

So that was the reason for it all!


Quite possibly so. The teachings of the Buddha make snse of a lot of things, including the teachngs of Jesus. I particularly was enlightened (poited to the light) by this: "Like good organic gardeners they [the enlightened] do not discriminate in favor of the flowers or against the garbage. They know how to transform garbage into flowers."

Of course, once we have begun to grasp the four noble truths, the eightfold path, etc., it becomes luminously clear that it is identical to the teachings of Jesus, and of Krishna, and of Lao-Tzu, and of every other spiritual teacher any time anywhere.

----

some, though not all, of my ability to taste food is back. Eggs, veggies, okay: meat, cheese, not yet. Perhaps I am supposed to be come a vegetarian now. If so, I'm okay with it.

-----

Jai Ram
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

Georg
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Re: Rapture?

Postby Georg » November 23rd, 2009, 7:29 pm

Art,

good to hear positive news from you.

it becomes luminously clear that it is identical to the teachings of Jesus


Yes.
There is one book, where this is made very explicit, it is "The Zen Teachings of Jesus" by Kenneth Leong.
"Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses" (Boethius)


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