Courting the Drop: A World with True and Grand Harmony, 19 March 2002
On this Tuesday, the day of the second in a series of three medical treatments undertaken in hopes of reducing the chronic back and neck pain I share life with, I awake wanting to go to the little restaurant near my house for Huevos Rancheros. The Mexican egg dish is not on the menu, but cook/owner Jerry is happy to fix it for me each time I go in, which isn’t often. When he sees me enter he just asks, “Your usual?” and I nod and say “Yes, please.” This morning, I pick up one of several open copies of the News and Observer and turn first to the obituaries, a certain sign of both my age and Southern upbringing. My daddy, who read the paper every day of his grown life, always looked to see who had suddenly gone from this world, looked to see if there was someone whose funeral he needed to attend. Like in the movie Harold and Maude, my father had a fascination with the rituals of passing over. I hate to admit it, but he passed on that fascination (one of many legacies) to me. Waiting for my beans and eggs, I see no familiar name; I am relieved and maybe, like Daddy, just a bit disappointed.
In realizing that I feel some anxiety about the procedure I will undergo this morning, Huevos Rancheros seems the perfect grounding meal and the Border the perfect place to receive it, perhaps with a side order of some additional nourishment as well. After all, where else could I find on the wall next to me a map of Arizona’s Lost Mines and Ghost Towns with Frontier Military Forts, flanked on one side by a poster of the Babe in his Yankees uniform and on the other by a large copy of Desiderata, reminding me to “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”? Alright, then. This is why I went for Mexican food this morning. Grounded now by eggs and beans, I will myself to move into the stillness of certainty and trust.
In my morning reading of Rumi, the Sufi poet, the translator speaks of Rumi’s “firsthand wonder at how the ocean comes to court the drop.” Coming upon that phrase, I was transported for a time, able to transcend the often overriding fear I still carry within me that somehow I have fallen through the cracks of Heaven (not that there isn’t a “God” – just that there’s not one who really cares for me). In my early years, there was no ground beneath my feet, no tending to my deeper needs, the sort of tending that holds you up when the ground drops out from under you. I am now slowly beginning to embody my intellect’s holding of the truth that “the ocean comes to court the drop,” and much of the embodying of this truth is coming to me from gifts given by health practitioners.
During last week’s acupuncture treatment, my practitioner and I both noticed the difference in the way my Qi embraced the needle at the point called “Heavenly Appearance.” The interaction of the needle with my bodymindspirit was clearly not of the same quality as it had been in the past. This time there was no subtle resistance; in its place was a simple meeting of likenesses, as if the Qi, the needle, and I were no longer separate from one another. Barbara had asked me earlier what it was I wanted from treatment that day and I had replied with, “Answers to that question are never simple for me; my goals are large.” One of the goals I shared with her that day was my longing to not be separated from my creativity, especially as it expresses itself in writing.
The two of us have shared another goal for the nearly two years she has been treating me, that of my becoming able to boundary against the pain and suffering of the world around me. In illustration, for the past twenty or so years I’ve experienced great emotional distress when seeing an animal dead by the roadside, feeling its hurt and my own deep “responsibility” to send its spirit on to the Light. As my practitioner intentionally worked to find the very thin line between compassion for suffering and suffering without compassion, I began to notice a change in myself. One day I simply became aware that I was no longer so deeply and painfully experiencing the suffering that was all around me. At about the same time, the creativity I had been expressing through writing during those seventeen months of treatment was no longer so readily accessible to me. And I missed it greatly.
Sometimes there exists within the creative person an element of feeling both profound separation and at the same time deep connection with what is before them. These two seemingly-opposing elements have been the driving force behind my writing, whether of music or prose, and to some extent all else creative, and together became the motivator for my compelling desire to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. As the shifting away from experiencing myself as an unwilling receptor for the world’s pain occurred, I found I was left with a sort of numbness, which I at first felt a great concern about. It was from this place of perceived “numbness” that I expressed to my practitioner my longing to not be apart from my creativity.
After treatment, when she shared with me her experience of the needles meeting my Qi in a new way and commenting on the changing interaction, she referred also to the issue of the animals by saying that the interaction with them still remains, now without the trauma. Pulling her chair very close to where I sat on the table, she said, “Perhaps your writing has come from a place of trauma and now you are interacting with life in another way.” I was stunned by the observation and could only say to her, “Well, that’s profound.”
What I am experiencing in this place of interaction with life in a new way that was at first felt as numbness, is actually an interaction with the Unknown, and I am once again in the familiar time of Winter, the season of the Water Element, characterized by, among other things, trust in the unknown. Now is a time when I must sit still and “wait on the will of Heaven.” It’s true that I do not know what life without feeling the suffering of the world will or can look like for me, not to mention what it would feel like. I do know that I do not wish to be so far away from that “thin line between,” at least not so far that my emotional life has no flavor, no juice. Yet, because I have nothing to compare myself with except myself, I am in the place of trusting that it will be the unknown that will lead me away from an inner bondage that has kept me enslaved to suffering for so long.
A few mornings ago, as part of a homework requirement for graduate school, I read a few pages from Rachel Naomi Remen’s My Grandfather’s Blessings. There is great wisdom reflected in these pages and I am amazed every day that I have permission, am required, in fact, to read such wonderful material. What a commentary on my experience of education to feel that to be required to read that which feeds my soul seems like cheating! The book’s theme is blessing and blessings, the power of blessing, the life-sustaining manna it delivers. One of the excerpts from today’s “grandfather wisdom” teaches, “The choice is never between slavery and freedom; we must always choose between slavery and the unknown.” I take comfort, too, in Remen’s excerpt from The Book of Mormon: “The wind always blows in the direction of the Promised Land.” And in yet another reminder to hold to my faith she writes, “There is a grace in life that can be trusted. In our struggle toward freedom we are neither abandoned nor alone.”
A few nights ago, I visited a web site dedicated to something called “The Message of Water.” I was not anticipating receiving grace, but it was grace I found there. A Japanese researcher, Dr. Masura Emoto, began an inquiry into the phenomena of the water element and was led to a most profound gift. In photographing frozen water, he first saw the beauty of its crystalline structure, then was moved to experiment with the impact of blessing the water he photographed. Taking polluted water and first freezing it, then photographing it, the water appeared as an amorphous mass. When he blessed the water, or taped a positive word on its glass container, or played beautiful music to it, the photographs showed that the entire structure of the water had changed to a beautiful, crystalline form. Realizing the implications from his research, he took his experiment further and gathered several hundred people at a lake in Japan that for some years had been polluted and foul smelling. He first taught them the Great Declaration: “The eternal power of the universe has gathered itself to create a world with true and grand harmony.” Then, as a result of their thoughts and blessing based on the Great Declaration that evening, the lake’s water became perfectly clean in about two months.
In only half an hour of reading and viewing his photographs, what has been for me a truth without experience became an embodied knowing. All life is profoundly connected and we have within us that encoded unity I have written about, but not fully experienced until I saw the photographs of water and learned of its responsiveness. In the deepest parts of myself, I feel now what Dr. Emoto calls “the message of water;” I feel now the ocean coming to court the drop.
I find today that I am being held in place by images of water, water willing by its very nature to respond to beauty by becoming beautiful. I find, too, that I am held in place by the shape of words on a wall in an untidy, smoke-filled restaurant, words that invite me to go placidly this day among the noise and haste, and to remember the peace that may come from silence. So I go into this day of treatment and healing with Water’s gift of trust – trusting the practitioners who will help bring that healing to me, and trusting myself to receive their gifts by bringing the healing to myself. What a grace-filled wonder it is to at last know so deeply within myself that indeed, the ocean does forever and always come to court the drop.
Perhaps, at some point along my healing journey, the funeral I will most enjoy attending will be announced not in the newspaper, but in me by the still, deep water that makes up seventy percent of my body. On that day, I will simply know the certain shift away from pain by water’s reflection in Eyes Bright* as crystal, a Heavenly Appearance* for all to see. It is not death I speak of, but Life, and the brilliant beauty of all that water, by which flesh and bone are fed and held that they might, one day, sail away home.
© Amy Pierce and In Spiritual Wonder, 2002-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amy Pierce and EnTheos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.