Where The Rubber Meets The Road
As many of you know from my earlier posts, my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer. Another statement I'd made during my written tirade was about 'losing my practice'. I was very firm in that belief until I found my way back to my zafu for a few days in a row. There was a clarity that I had afterward that wasn't amazing, or wonderful, it just was. I'd like to share that with you.
During the beginning of my mother's diagnosis, my Dad was understandably upset. There were decisions that needed to be made that he was uncomfortable with, he was worried for his wife, and after losing one of his brothers to cancer mom's diagnosis terrified him.
Once my mother started chemo, she spiked a terrible fever of 106. We had to take her to the ER where she stayed hospitalized for 2 days. They lowered her dose (it's a oral medication) and that seemed to take care of the situation.
My brother, during this time, hid behind me, unsure whether to come down from Dallas or to wait for someone to tell him too. My wife played an almost over protective but loving daughter-in-law to Mom and was at the same time very high strung about the situation at hand.
My mother was a range of emotions. First she was happy there was a positive diagnosis of an illness that explained her previously unexplainable symptoms. This of course was followed by a persistant fear of death where she would oscillate between sad, scared, and accepting.
"So what about you, Jigetsu? How did you feel?"
At first, I had thought to myself that I was just numb from the news. I neither reacted positively, nor negatively. I just asked questions. After my time on the zafu however, I understood things to be different. I wasn't numb, I just new deep inside that wanting her to not have cancer would not change reality. Wishing things to be other then what they were would only cause me to suffer, which in turn guiding my actions and words could cause others to suffer. Ripples in the water.
I had been there for my Dad, giving him facts about the illness and correcting some of my mother's statements that made her condition seem worse then it was. (I love hear dearly, but she exaggerates a lot, often on purpose.) I had been the one that touched her, and knew she was hot. With out asking, I went and bought a thermometer and took her temperature. I had been the one to call her doctor to see what the orders were, and I had been the one to talk gently to her during her fever delirium. (In retrospect, she was saying silly things. We laugh about it now.)
I spoke to my brother, assuring him everything was under control. Talking to him the way he needed so he could find peace. I commended my wife for taking such good care of my mother, and I would talk to Mom for an hour at a time just so she could tell me the same stories she'd been telling me because she needed to say them. They were about death and dying, and I was unshaken.
I was, and have been deep in practice. I didn't lose it, I was living it.
I'm not saying anything to gain any merit, please understand, I'm just trying to illustrate that everything was done automatically with out trying to add anything, nor take anything away. In doing so, I promoted calm and acceptance in myself and others. Ripples in the water.
Of course, if you'd like to toss a little Metta our way, I wouldn't turn that down either.