Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fierce Grace

You know how, if you look for it, every day brings you something you didn't expect, some lesson or comfort that you really needed. Well, maybe it doesn't happen to you, but I think if you're looking for it, it shows up.

Yesterday I was having trouble taking a deep breath. I tried everything, meditating, walking, sitting in the park, walking in the park, making phone calls, all that I had left to try was a tranquilizer and I finally did take something to go to sleep.

I was sitting by my mother's hospital bed yesterday, we were both having trouble breathing. I watched them take blood, give her a sonogram of her heart, make her drink fluids, clean her up, give her more morphine and do everything but take her down for the endoscopy she needs, so she could have the surgery to repair her leg and get out of the hospital. She was annoyed that people were bothering her, but mostly she seemed to be in a drugged state of obliviousness. (Actually, I was a little jealous.)

Anyway, I brought a Netflix DVD with me that I'd been meaning to watched called "Fierce Grace." It is a film about Ram Dass, both his history and his present life, since he had a stroke. It was exactly what I needed to see. He said when he first had his stroke, he thought nothing of God or any kind of spirituality. He just lay in his hospital bed in the E.R. looking up at the pipes and wondering if he was going to die. He said that made him realize that he had quite a bit of work left to do.

He's lost the use of the right side of his body and his speech is halting, but his mind is sharp and he keep learning. He talked about his guru in India and one thing the guru always used to say was "suffering brings us so close to God." Ram Dass said that "his stroke gave me a whole new incarnation." He was busy making interesting plans for his future and suddenly he was fighting for his life. Of this new life he has had to create he says, "I'm at peace more than I have ever been before in my life. I've learned how to settle into the moment and this moment is all right."

A couple in the film talked about the murder of their young daughter and how devastated they were. They received a letter from Ram Dass, which eventually enabled let go of their grief and go on with their lives. It's a moving letter, I would include it here, but it's almost too hard to read. If you know anyone who's gone through a devastating loss, I would look up Ram Dass's letter to Rachel. It's easy to find.

Yesterday, "Fierce Grace" gave me a great deal of solace and I recommend it.

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