ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE STORY . . .
I think the healing process is just ones life.
One always is trying to heal not only personal sickness
or personal plight of some kind, but there are also
human ones that I think we all are struggling to heal
because were all a little cracked! And, we need
to repair that. Or we can certainly ignore it.
and spirit affliction
I had Crohns disease was when I was forty and
in the next three years I would have six operations
and then a seventh about three years later. I was beginning
to understand through the help of others, a therapist,
my own spiritual program, and reading and writing, and
doing volunteer work in Hospice, how the body was afflicted
with the mind and the spirit and it wasnt because
I had failed. It wasnt a question of wounding
myself, but that I had this suffering and it was mine
and it was mine to heal. As opposed to afflicting it
upon somebody else and let them heal it by being bitter,
by letting myself die, by abandoning my daughter that
way. I could have inflicted it on a lot of people and
I made a decision somewhere to live and learn and grow
and integrate the body back in its proper place. I think
that Im often horrified by how, in our contemporary
society, how little people regard the physical and how
they belittle it and that it does not have its place
in this universe. When the universe is filled with so
much matter and neutrons and protons and electrical
forces and cells which fires this whole universe. Its
part of the seen world, at the same time in between
all the molecules and between all the atoms is this
unseen world. So it seems that the physical itself is
a part of this great mystery and to ignore it is to
inflict more pain on the mind and the spirit. The physical
is both the seen and the unseen.
then I had a lung infection around my fourth surgery.
I had four surgeries within a year. All major. I was
on a respirator and was given a fifty-fifty chance of
living. And then two weeks later I become septic where
every cell is infected in your blood. So, they called
my family to my bedside and then they left, and then
two weeks later they had to come back. And during those
particular times I had two experiences that finally
helped me understand how the body, mind, and the spirit,
and how affliction and suffering has to be physical
and it has to be psychological and it has to have a
social element. That somehow socially we are afflicted
and suffering and our suffering alienates us from our
community or stigmatizes us in some way. So, for instance,
if you have been sexually abused, there is a social
element to that. If you have breast cancer there is
a social element to that. Maybe it involves your sexual
identity with members of the opposite sex or same sex,
but it involves you in a community of recovery. It affects
your community. Theres American Cancer research,
theres organizations all over the world that are
a part of this. So, you are part of a social community
and so your suffering is connected to that. People that
are tortured, people that are in wars, that social fabric
of our lives is deeply afflicted that way. And again,
it doesnt mean that I inflicted the wound on myself.
It just is that Ive been afflicted. Or Im
suffering and I need healing.
Two particular experiences did that for me. I could
call them near-death experiences and for me, its not
a question of whether they exist or they dont
exist. They are my experience of God. I dont argue
that. It is the way it is for me. And I would never
question the validity of them or deny them. Its
peoples most private and most exceptional experiences
between them and their soul and I would never engage
in arguing about that.
body creating soul
In the hospital I was on Demerol and I was on morphine
for two months. I was on plenty of drugs and medication.
Sometimes people describe these experiences as intensive
care psychosis as a result of the machines, the whir
and the noise and the constant hum, and the medications
and the pain. It does derange you. I had lots of hallucinations
and none of them do I regard as near death experiences.
And it doesnt matter if it exists or if theyre
true or not but it was my experience of it. Those two
in particular made me understand how much the body is
a part of the spirit. And, may in fact create the spirit.
That the body is creating the soul and its not vice-versa.
When I was in the hospital and near death, there was
a particular person on the side of my bed and her name
was Roseanne. I still remember her there. And I was
at the foot of my bed and I saw my deceased father and
sister. The important part of all this is that my sister
was wearing this yellow gown with white lace collar,
a full-length cotton nightgown, and it was a nightgown
she used to wear before she died when she was eighteen.
My father was in a white shirt, sleeves were rolled
up, and dress pants, as I often remember him. And some
pens in his pocket. So, the spiritual emanations took
this physical form. I have never talked to anyone who
didnt have some particular spiritual experience,
or out of the body experience, that didnt have
some physical components. I mean how else are we going
to experience that world? Because we have no ability
to experience anything other than through our senses.
However, there is another component that seems to be
a metaphysical experience as part of that.
So I knew that they had come for me. And they came three
different times. And there was a particular time I turned
to the person next to me to tell her to look and I had
no sooner said it than I knew that I was in two realities.
That her reality didnt include the one I saw.
And the only words that were spoken were by my father
who said, "If you cross over, well be there."
All was put at rest for me because I was fighting living
and dying. I didnt want to live and I wanted to
live. So, the way he put it to me was, live or die youre
going to be fine. Were here. If you live, well
be here, and if you die, well be here.
beautiful all-white room
So I didnt have to worry. I completely relaxed
and gave myself over to either greater forces or lesser
forces, meaning the surgeons. Im not sure who.
And then another time I had one of those body things
where I drifted up out of my bed into a room, and again,
Id gone up there numerous times, not just once.
My sister and father came once; my father came different
times. Id go up into a beautiful, all-white room.
People usually associate all-white rooms with lock-up
wards, but this one was absolutely gorgeous and it was
soothing and relaxing and brilliant. The floor had this
iridescence, glow. I had questions about whats
the meaning of this and God. But as soon as I felt the
question I physically experienced the answer.
say, "well, I just knew." But, its a
total physical knowing. You know before the questions
asked and you dont need a reply. In the asking
is the answer.
to an afterlife
There was a window there, with the shade pulled. And
what the hell is a window doing with the shade pulled
in the afterlife? God knows. But its physical
its the way the body and the soul interweave
themselves together. It all has a meaning but its
the way it just puts itself together. I knew everything
that there was to know. That if I had any questions,
even if the question was "where is God?" not
even "What is God," or "Is there a God?"
but where. I would have an answer. But I didnt
know what, if I lifted the shade, what the view was
outside there. It was the only thing I didnt know.
Id go over there and open up the shade to take
a look and every time I did that Id always be
back in bed. In the hospital bed. Weird. I had eight
tubes going inside different parts of my body. And if
you count the orifices in your body, you dont
have eight. So, you know that I had extra holes made.
Eight tubes going into me at one time.
Id go back up to this room again, Id be
back at the shade again, Id put my hand on the
shade again to open it, and Id be back in my bed.
This happened numerous times. Maybe the second time,
maybe the third time I got back to the bed, I realized
that I no longer needed to know, because in my mind
or in my body (and its a question about which
one), I knew that if I opened the shade up that probably
I would be dead. But its a sense that that was
what it would finally mean to die.
its a window shade. Its something I can
see. I can smell the shade. It has this beautiful, gorgeous
white to it. The shade itself and the wood was white,
ivory and milk and cream. Everything good that you associate
with white, thats what it was like. And I didnt
need to know any more. I had been back in my bed and
I just understood that thats not what I was going
to do-- I was not going to lift the shade to know. It
was okay with me not to know, and just as well. It was
also okay if I wanted to know and open the shade. If
I wanted to do that, fine. If I didnt, thats
wonderful human beings. As physical, our bodies are
such a vast mystery. Theyre like galaxies. As
many stars as are out there, we have something almost
as comparable to our cells and our neurons and molecules
and atoms. So were a galaxy. And the healing,
the resources abide in you, we just dont even
know -- cant even fathom what they are. The body
has so many capacities for healing. And the body has
a tremendous capacity to heal. Its unbelievable.
And Im also saying that the soul has that same
capacity so its all intertwined and goes beyond
anything that we can imagine.