The last several days, I've experienced a series of insights...if you will. For background, you need to know that in February 2009 I spent three days in the hospital being treated for a clot in my heart. At that time the doctor....not the most sympathetic, or empathic man, for that matter, I have ever met.... informed me and my children that I had a 50% chance of living one year.
To say that I was shocked is an understatement.
I had always enjoyed remarkably fine health, exercising daily, and generally living a highly active life. Suddenly, all of that changed.
COMING TO TERMS WITH DEATH
Coming to terms with one's mortality, I can assure you, does not happen in the blink of an eye. When my daughter, a minister at Ananda Spiritual Community in California, suggested I had best take a look at my fourth chakra, the heart chakra, I knew she was absolutely correct. I honestly could not say that I held any anger or intense resentments about any thing or any one, but I promised to reflect on it further. Maybe I would become aware of something I had overlooked, someone I had unfairly judged.
For the past twenty-two months, I have lived with the awareness that death might be lurking around the very next corner, always puzzling what it all means spiritually. And yet, let me hasten to say, my heart has improved significantly. When I was in the hospital, my heart was pumping at 18% of capacity....when it hit 35% of capacity six months later, I was elated...I'd been told it would never get that good again. And just a couple months ago, I learned that my heart now pumps at 65% of capacity....which is considered very fine and quite normal, thank you!
Still, I have an obstruction in the right muscle....or sometimes they say a blockage in the heart....it can be pretty confusing. And I haven't really figured out what's going on with my heart chakra.
JOURNEYING EAST, CONVERSATIONS ON AGING AND DYING
Recently, I found a book, Journeying East, Conversations on Aging and Dying (books.google.com/books) by Victoria Jean Dimidjian, published by Parallax Press in 2004. In it, she interviews nine spiritual leaders, mostly Zen practitioners. Rodney Smith, Seattle Insight Meditation Society, concludes his interview “On Living and Dying Without Pretension” with the following: “Thinking in terms of time, living in terms of time is the very blockage of the heart.”
And, serendipitously, it seemed, all at once my world shifted....living with the awareness of death for the past twenty-two months is my spiritual path....everything and every one shares impermanence. And, if I can live in openness, with a sense of the eternal all round, even the obstruction of my heart metaphorically, spiritually, and physically may mend itself.