Tuesday, January 19, 2021



You graciously allowed me to share this passage Dr. Richard Selzer (surgeon at Yale) in his book, Mortal Lessons.

“On the bulletin board in the front hall of the hospital where I

work,” Dr. Selzer begins, “there appeared an announcement.

'Yeshi Dhonden,' it read,' 'will make rounds at six o'clock on the

morning of June 10'. The particulars were given, followed by the

note, 'Yeshi Dhonden is Personal Physician to the Dalai Lama.' I

am not so leathery a skeptic that I would knowingly ignore an

emissary from the gods. Not only might such sangfroid be inimical

to one's earthly well-being, it could take care of eternity, as well.

“Thus, on the morning of June 10, I join the clutch of whitecoats

waiting  for  rounds in the small conference room. The air in

the room is heavy with ill-concealed dubiety and suspicion of 

bamboozlement. You know, surgeons. Whatever. At precisely six

o'clock, he materializes, a short, golden, barrely man, dressed in

a sleeveless robe of saffron and maroon, his scalp shaven, the

only visible hair is the black line above each hooded eye.

He bows in greeting while his young interpreter makes the

introduction. Yeshi Dhonden, we are told, will examine a

patient  whose diagnosis is unknown to him, as it is to us.

We are further informed that, for the past two hours, Yeshi

Dhonden has purified himself by fasting, bathing, and prayer. I,

who just gobbled down my breakfast, performed only the most

desultory of ablutions, and given no thought at all to my soul,

glance furtively at my fellows. Suddenly, we seem a soiled,

uncouth lot.

“The patient had been awakened early and told that she was to

be examined by a foreign doctor, and had been asked to offer a

fresh specimen of urine, so when we enter her room, she

shows no surprise. She had long ago taken on that mixture of 

compliance and resignation that is the face of chronic illness. This

was another in a series of examinations. Yeshi Dhonden steps to

the bedside while the rest of us stand apart, watching. For a long

time, he gazes at the woman, favoring no part of her body with

his eyes, but seeming to fix his glance at a place just above her

supine form. I, too, study her: No physical sign or obvious

symptom gives a clue to the nature of her disease.

At last, he takes her hand, raising it in both of his own. And now,

he bends over the bed in a kind of crouching stance, his head

drawn down into the collar of his robe. His eyes are closed as he

feels for her pulse. In a moment he has found the spot, and for

the next half-hour he remains thus, suspended above the patient

like some exotic golden bird with folded wings, holding the pulse

of the woman beneath his fingers, cradling her hand. All the

power of this man seems to be drawn down to the palpation of 

that pulse. And where I stand, it is as though he and the patient have

entered a special place of apartness, about which no violation is

possible. After a moment, the woman rests back upon her

pillow. From time to time, she raises her head to look at the

strange figure above her, then sinks back once more. I cannot see

their hands joined in a correspondence that is exclusive, intimate,

his fingertips receiving the voice of her sick body through the

rhythm and throb she offers at her wrist.

All at once, I am envious – not of him, not of Yeshi Dhonden for

his gift of beauty and holiness, but of her. I want to be held like

that, touched so, so received. And I know that I, who have

palpated a hundred thousand pulses, have felt not a single one.

At last, Yeshi Dhonden straightens, gently places the woman's

hand upon the bed, and steps back. The interpreter produces a

small wooden bowl and two sticks, and he pours a portion of the

urine specimen and whips the liquid for several minutes until a

foam is razed. Then, bowing to the bowl, he inhales the odor three

times, sets the bowl down, and turns to leave. All this while, he has 

not uttered a single word.

As he nears the door, the woman raises her head and calls out to

him in a voice at once urgent and serene. 'Thank you, doctor,

thank you.' she says, and touches with her other hand the place

he had held on her wrist, as though to recapture something

important that had visited her there. Yeshi Dhonden turns back

for a moment to gaze at her, then steps into the corridor. Rounds

are at an end.

We are seated  in the conference room. Yeshi Dhonden speaks

now for the first time, in soft Tibetan sounds that I have never heard before. 

He has barely begun when the

young interpreter begins to translate, the two voices continuing 

in tandem – a bilingual fugue, the one chasing the other. 

It is like the chanting of monks.

He speaks of winds coursing through the body of the woman,

currents that break against barriers, eddying. These vortices are

in her blood, he says. The last spendings of an imperfect heart.

Between the chambers of the heart, long, long before she was

born, a wind had come and blown open a deep gate that must

never be opened. Through it charge the full waters of her river, as

the mountain stream cascades in the springtime, battering,

knocking loose the land, and flooding her breath. Thus he speaks,

and now is silent.

“May we ... have the diagnosis?” a professor asks.

“The host of ... [the] rounds, the only who knows, answers.

“Congenital heart disease. Interventricular septal defect, with

resultant heart failure.” A gateway in the heart, I think, that

must not be opened, through it charge the full waters, that flood

her breath. So, here then is the doctor listening to the sounds of 

the body, to which the rest of us would only aspire. He is more

than doctor, he is priest. 

I know that the doctor to the gods is

pure knowledge and healing, and the doctor to humans must

stumble, his patients must die, as must he, but now and then it

happens, as I make my own rounds, that I hear the sounds of his

voice, like an ancient Buddhist prayer, its meaning long since

forgotten, only the music remaining. Then a jubilation possesses

me, and I feel myself touched by something holy.”

That is a beautiful demonstration of vibration. We talk of vibration quiet often yet it is rare that we have the opportunity to see it and feel it right up front.

Here is another beautiful example of raising our vibration in a conscious way. I believe this prayer speaks for itself and certainly needs no other words for me. 

“On this day I choose to realign my vibration to the highest expression of love that I may hold. And I give myself permission to release any and all judgment of what cannot be loved, who cannot be loved, and I allow myself to accept my former choices as born in what I believed. And I relinquish the beliefs that have held me in abeyance so I may rise to a new understanding of love, and express as love in truth and knowing. As I say this, I know it is true. I am claiming my power back from any expressions of value that are not in alignment to love, and I give myself permission to reclaim myself as the expression of God in love that I am intended to be. I am Word through this intention. Word I am Word.”

Right after this prayer  this affirmation the book stated:

“Paul is feeling his energy shift as he claims this, and we expect that you will feel the same as you align to this decree. ”

This might simply be a personal hang up of mine and so if you cannot identify please Let It Go. What I have found, though, is that in much spiritual literature the authors or the guides we'll use the word or the concept “feel.” The difficulty is that most of us translate that into our physical feelings or our human emotions. Often times what I have discovered is that what is meant by “feeling” is not a physical or human emotion. It is more of an internal sense or a knowing that might or might not be accompanied by a human emotion.

For example, we can know that we are loved even if we might not feel that on a physical or personal level. We can know the truth of Who We Are even though we might not be experiencing that on a human level of our emotions.

You see the confusion is that many of us might think that “If I don't feel it then it might not be real.” As we have discovered so far, experiencing what is real sometimes goes far beyond where your man emotions might take you.

So what I do, and you can certainly apply this if it is helpful to you, is that whenever I come across the word “feal” or “feeling” in spiritual literature, I translate that in my mind to “having a sense of” or “being aware of” or “an inner knowing.” I realize, as I mentioned above that inner knowing might or might not be accompanied by human emotions. Certainly knowing that I am loved and having a concomitant human feeling of that love coming to me is a real bonus. However, I do not want to use my human emotions as being a barometer of my spiritual state. My spiritual state of being and my awareness of the depths of who I am goes far beyond my physical nature.

Another current example comes to mind for me, and, again, I am reflecting on my own experience which might or might not apply to you. I noticed that after the reading that was quoted above, there was an eloquent sense of Silence that was created. We could call that a vibrational energy that went far beyond words but that carried with it a deep resonance and awareness of the sacred. In some ways we could call that a “feeling” because we all sensed it in our own unique way, but it was not an emotional state nor was it one that was related to our five senses. It was deeper than that; it was beyond that.

So we will find ourselves from time to time, and especially as we delve into deeper areas of spirit, that our human language begins to break down and we will need to compensate as best we can.

I recall a passage from the Jungian analyst Robert Johnson from  The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden and although he is speaking more of psychology rather than spirituality, I believe the essence of what he is reflecting on still applies: 

“The first difficulty we meet in discussing anything concerning the feeling function is that we have no adequate vocabulary to use. Where there is no terminology, there is no consciousness. A poverty-stricken vocabulary for any subject is an immediate admission that the subject is inferior or depreciated in that society. Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty)", Greek three, and English only one. This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling. Eskimos have thirty words for snow, because it is a life-and- death matter for them to have exact information about the element they live with such intimately. If we had a vocabulary of thirty words for love and matters of feeling, we would immediately be richer and more intelligent in this human element so close to our heart. An Eskimo probably would die of clumsiness if he had only one word for snow; we are close to dying of loneliness because we have only one word for love.”

If any of you would like to explore that further please bring it up as we come together in class next Sunday.

“Now when you stand in your knowing, “I know who I am, I know what I am, I know how I serve,” you have created a path. And as we walk you down this path, we want you to see the creations you have made that guide the way on each side. What do I claim here? Where am I not in my worth there? These are the sights that show themselves as you walk forward, and they are never shown to you to keep you in place, but as an opportunity to grow and move forward in your awareness of your worth.”

Notice the emphasis here, “when you stand in your knowing” --when you claim the truth of Who You Are even if you might not be feeling it at the moment. We all do this without thinking sometimes and we need to give ourselves some credit for knowing how to go beyond what my feeling nature or what My Five Senses might be telling me.

There have certainly been times in our lives when we have not felt like loving certain people even our kids at some point might have been driving us nutty. As strong as my feelings might have been they truly could not interfere with my ability to love these beings. “I love you; I might not feel like it, but the truth how I hold you in love can never be diminished.” 

Thank you all blessings have a wonderful week.


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