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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Choices and Consequences

Posted by Amanda Gray on August 1, 2014

I’m still thinking a great deal about the death of my cat.  Specifically, regarding the choices that were made along the way.

Dr. David R. Hawkins says that events do not actually happen in an A = B = C linear fashion.  It’s more like once a choice has been made, then the EVENT ‘ABC’ is created, involving all it’s resultant consequences, but then experienced in a, seemingly, linear progression.  There have been several incidences in my life where I observed this theory in action, and I hold it to be fairly accurate, at least, at my current level of awareness.  This idea is also inherent in the statement, “You can’t mess it up.”  You can’t, because you always make the decision that’s right for you in the moment, and then the consequences are, as they unfold, pretty much out of your hands.

My cat, Jonas, was 19 years old.  Even if he hadn’t gotten suddenly sick, he would have died, of something, soon anyway.  I made a decision, early in his sickness, not to take him to the vet.  Even in my own mind, it was an extremely difficult decision.   Do I put him through the fear and stress of a trip, a battery of tests, and an overwhelming expense, only to learn that compassionate euthanasia is the, most likely, resort?  Could I made a decision for euthanasia, with even the slightest, tiniest chance of recovery?  Could I leave him at the vet clinic for any length of time, for tests, and the possibility that he could die while away from me?   Could I nurse him at home, giving him my full attention, and every chance possible of recovery, while, if necessary, providing as much comfort as I could in his passing, like hospice?  I made the choice that was, to me, the most courageous and most natural.

Jonas started going downhill from the beginning of May, concurrent with my move to BC.  He lost a lot of weight, ate little, and slept most of the time.  But whatever sickness led to his eventual demise, it began with an acute attack in the night.  It was a big shock, and I thought he was going to die, right then and there, but he didn’t.  He recovered seemingly well in a few minutes.  What was the attack?  Heart attack?  Stroke? Was he poisoned by a bad can of food?  An acute renal failure?  Whatever it was, it was done.  There was no going back from it, and then, after a few days, I noticed that his health was definitely going downhill.

I provided all possible avenues of recovery.  He was still drinking water, peeing, moving about (with great difficulty in his back legs), but not eating.  I got high nutritional food and oral syringes at the vet and began to force feed him, a couple of teaspoons, every three hours.  I also started giving him 1/2 tablet of baby aspirin 2 to 3 times a day to minimize any pain he might be experiencing.  He took the food and the aspirin, I helped him drink water, and he rallied for a couple of days.  His will to live was strong and persistent.  I thought he might actually make it.  Yet, his eyes had changed.  They were small, and sunken.

In the third day of treatment, Jonas would spit out more food than he would swallow.  And he made an irreversible decision.  He stopped drinking water.  Looking back, I see that as the point of no return.  He was ready to die.

What happens in nature when an animal is passing?  They go off, alone, and hide.  They stop eating and drinking.  And they die.  No muss, no fuss, no intervention.  No resistance, no refusal.  I made a critical decision at that point too.  That I would allow him to die naturally, and I would stay with him until his last breath.  That was the most important thing to me, that we would be together.  Again, I deeply questioned my motivation.  If he was going to die anyway, why not make it quick with an injection?  Well, because I hoped and expected that he would go to sleep and slip peacefully away.  And I wanted to do for him, what I think I’d want others to do for me.  If I’m ready to die – just bugger off and let me go!

I stopped force feeding him.  I gave him as much water as I could with the oral syringe, to moisten his mouth, but he wouldn’t drink it down.  With great difficulty, I got him to swallow another 1/2 aspirin.  I kept his bed directly on my lap most of the day, looking into his eyes, holding him, hugging him, talking to him.  At bedtime, I took him to my bed.

But that was when he took another turn for the worse.  He began to make a horrible cry.  He vomited a couple of times.  I felt so helpless!  I forced another 1/2 aspirin down his throat.  I moistened his mouth.  Did we have anything else to give him – a sleeping pill?  No.  What if this went on all night?  OH GOD!  Why didn’t I get the injection while I had the chance???  I was terrified that I chose wrongly!  I said to Jonas, “We’re in it now.  No turning back.  We made our decisions and now we have to go down this road.”  Then I knew that I couldn’t have chosen any other way, because all choices would still lead to the same end – an end that I didn’t WANT – but that would happen anyway.  Is an injection ‘better’ than a natural death?  Is a natural death ‘better’?  What defines the word ‘better’ when all choices lead only to certain pain?  I don’t know – NOBODY KNOWS!!  I told Jonas, “You can go, little baby.  You don’t have to fight anymore.  Just let go.  It will be ok.”

He was quiet only when I had my hand on him, and when I kept the light on.  I discovered that he peed a little in his bed, so I gently cleaned it up and put a layer of paper towel under him.  This seemed to offer great solace, as it always disturbed him tremendously to be ‘unclean’.  That may even have been why he cried.  It didn’t take long after that, maybe 10 or 20 minutes.  I was so sleepy… I rested my head against his bed, near his head, with my arm around his back.  I couldn’t see his face, but I could see his body and hind legs.  His legs flicked out, once… then again.  I knew this was the moment.  I watched his last breath leave his body and he was still.   I sat up and looked fully at him.  He looked completely peaceful.  Was it over?  Could he still come back?  No.  He was gone.  His body soon began to feel stiff and cold.

I write about this because I want to remember these details, as morbid as they may seem.  Perhaps it’ll be helpful to another who’s faced with these same decisions with a beloved pet.  Perhaps it will be helpful to me in the future, with another pet or person, even.  And, who knows, this was the way I chose this time, but I might choose differently next time.  As a society, a culture, and as human beings, we still have a long way to go in learning about and dealing maturely with the process of death.  Shouldn’t it be a natural thing?  As natural as birth?  What if, wherever Jonas went, it was a WONDERFUL place?

Ultimately, my intention was love.  I’m confident that Jonas knew that.  Although I’m still grieving, I have no regrets, and I’m confident that I made the ‘right’ and ‘best’ choices that I could.  There is a giant hole in the energetic fabric of my existence right now and I just have to deal with it.  Nothing will make it feel ‘better’.  Jonas isn’t coming back.  All resistance and loss I feel is merely the denial of the fact.  I feel his energy missing at the foot of my sofa during the day, and a sweeping sadness at bedtime when I used to carry him with me to bed.  I actually feel an aversion to my bedroom now, as the pervasive empty loneliness in my chest is greatest there.  And I’ve developed a, perhaps unhealthy, attachment to a bone shaped neck pillow that I’ve been holding at night, in the crook of my arm, as if it’s Jonas.  I’m letting it happen.  Because I know that all of it, in time, will pass.

 

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God bless Jonas.  5 Sept 1995 – 26 July 2014.

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Judgement, Control and Specialness

Posted by Amanda Gray on December 14, 2013

So… my improv class was excellent.  I learned a lot about improv, but, even greater, I used the situation to practice setting aside my inner judge.  I allowed no thoughts of wrongdoing by anyone, anyhow, even of myself.  Exclusively, I trusted every impulse to jump in, or stay out, what words came out of my mouth, how others reacted to me, how the games or scenes played out, or when the end of a scene arrived.  It was a great practice.  I simply never allowed my thoughts to linger upon negative or limiting ideas.  It allowed me to see how easily things went without constant weighing and analysis in my mind.  I’ve also been successful in extending the practice to the rest of my life now, as well.

I’ve also started looking at my anger.  One of the topics I could never address when I visited the Living Miracles Monastery was anger.  Back then, I couldn’t even admit to feeling it!  Now I see that I’ve been angry a lot, and sometimes, it’s even like a drilling jack hammer of attack thoughts that I can’t seem to turn off.  Looking deeper at the pattern, I see that it’s because I’ve been wanting to control other people.  Well, no kidding, Sherlock – of course that’s what an ego wants.  It’s chief modus operandi is to usurp the power of God!  Yet, by the desire to control, the underlying premise concludes that I don’t already have control and must GET it.  Which leads to the question: who’s dreaming this dream?  Of course, I’m doing this to myself.  The fear being that if I don’t control those people ‘out there’, they’ll hurt me – yet, if I decide not to use them to prove a belief that I’m weak and a victim – they CAN’T hurt me.  It all gets pretty twisted up in here!

Furthermore, I’m looking closer at my acting desire.  What is it for?  After my improv class, I see that there’s really no way to separate the acting from the actor and the root desire to be a special body.  This is important to see, because I must also see that even though I gave up my acting profession 10 years ago, I never gave up the desire for special attention.  I just moved the audience closer.  Now it’s my mom, or my friends, or my customers at the store.  I’m still – yes, no bones about it – CONSTANTLY, trying to USE them to get their attention and keep it, just so I can feel better about myself – so I can maintain a sense of ‘specialness’.

It’s interesting how this realization came about.  We have a customer at the store that we call ‘Our Favourite’.  But actually, we all hate her.  I quickly learned that if I help her, she’ll hijack me, make me lead her to every item on her shopping list, and even get me to carry out her three little bags of groceries before I can finally escape her. Along the way, she acts like she’s stupid and helpless, asks inane questions about the products, and, generally, impedes me from helping other customers.  She can be pleasant, but she can also be loud, demanding and has some kind of iron clad mental grip that I haven’t understood.  I learned that this customer makes me feel extremely angry, and rather than being able to extend my natural sense of helpfulness to her, instead, I feel obligated, hateful and, eventually, guilty.  She disturbs me so greatly, that, of course, I have to ask why.  What is it about her behaviour that I must hate and deny in my own behaviour?  I found myself using the word ‘vampire’ as I thought about her, and finally, this morning, I realized the lesson she was teaching.  She’s a vampire for attention!  Like ME!!!  And if I don’t get the attention I want, I become demanding and angry about it too.  She wants to control me to keep my attention and I don’t want to be controlled.  Does anyone???  AH-HA!

Well… ain’t that cute.  NOT!  That ‘control’ is a terrible burden to inflict upon my brothers and sisters.  And it keeps peace from my mind.  Do I want peace?  Then I must notice when I’m deliberately throwing it away.  And now that I’m wise to these particular antics, I can stop.  I want to stop.  No judgement – just go forward and ‘sin no more’.

With sincere thanks to ‘Our Favourite’ customer.

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ACIM & Why Dr Who is an Example of Advanced Consciousness

Posted by Amanda Gray on November 15, 2011

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It Doesn’t Matter (Part 1)

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 21, 2011

I have so much gratitude. So many revelations – miracles – have been shown to me this evening. One of the compensations of spiritual work is that, when you get it, you really GET it! A whole new vista opens up within you; a dimension of liveliness, loveliness and acceptance that feels… blissful.The Razor''s Edge

I watched the movie “The Razor’s Edge” yesterday.  (The photo and link are to the original story by W. Somerset Maugham.)  It’s a very spiritual movie, but its messages are exceptionally subtle. So subtle, that the first three times I watched it, I didn’t understand, but this time, the actions of the main character (Bill Murray) finally made sense to me. Another character does something horrible, but all he says is, “It doesn’t matter.” What could he mean? How can it not matter?

But it’s true. I get it. It truly doesn’t matter. None of it. This entire world and all of its participants – none of it MEANS anything. It’s only a thought that thinks it means something. Only a thought that ‘decides’ whether something is good or bad, right or wrong, likeable or detestable. And I don’t have to believe the thought. I don’t have to believe ANY thought. NO thoughts are true. When a feeling arises, it’s just an energy being released in that form (anger, fear, grief). I don’t have to believe it MEANS anything. It doesn’t. NO feelings are true.

The other day, I went out with my Mom. The entire day, I struggled with judgements and grievances. It seemed that all day, we just couldn’t communicate, and couldn’t decide together on anything. I wanted one thing, and she wanted something else. What can you do when each wants something different and no compromise is possible? I watched my thoughts carefully all day, recognized my resistances, surrendered my judgements, and at the end of the day, I recognized something truly significant. When I wanted something but then couldn’t get my way, I would blame my Mom for ruining my PEACE. I tried every way to Timbuktu to project the blame on her – but it wasn’t her. It was me. Holding the desire was ruining my OWN peace. Being in resistance ruined my OWN peace. It could’ve been a very nice day – but within me, I resisted and struggled. Me. All me. Outwardly, everything was fine. There was nothing to complain about. Does it matter if it’s ‘her’ way or ‘my’ way… if, in truth, we’re ONE, and that there is only, in truth, ONE way?

Today I started a new job. It was very physically taxing, and I’m not fit at the moment, so it was a real challenge. Like Adyashanti often recommends, I simply accepted everything just as it was. If I was tired, I accepted being tired. If my head hurt or my neck was stiff, I accepted it. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the team, and I accepted each person in each moment, just as they were, and whatever they were contributing. (Of course, it’s generally pretty easy to do that with complete strangers.) I accepted the job as it was, even though, normally, as a very lazy girl, I wouldn’t put myself out that much. Normally, I’d resist and make excuses to get out of doing things I didn’t want to do. I took one of the tougher jobs and gave it everything I had. When I wanted to trade out of that particular position, but was assigned to continue, I accepted it. What I learned at the end of the day is this: if it truly doesn’t matter what’s happening or what I’m doing, I can just do the best I can, I don’t need to worry about the results, and I can believe that I have everything I need to do the job. If I decide I CAN do it – then I CAN.

Today, I also learned that when a truth is revealed, it can be enjoyed in the moment and then soon forgotten, or it can be integrated into my life, thereby making it a PERMANENT transformation. I learned yesterday, from that movie, that all this stuff of nonsense just doesn’t matter, I integrated that into my day today, and all the hard work was made light.

It just doesn’t matter. Thank God!

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Talking to Myself – My Self?

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 30, 2011

I’m afraid.  Afraid of losing something.  When I open my eyes in the morning and feel anxiety scraping a hole through my stomach like steel wool on cheese, I’m afraid of losing my peace.  I think that when I get up for the day, I’ll lose my peace.  If that’s what I think – then it’ll be so. 

How can I lose something I already haveWhy do I choose to give it away? 

Because I want to keep believing I’m weak and a victim.  So I replace peace with fear.  When I know that peace is mine, then I can’t give it away, nor can it be taken.  It becomes the peace that passes all understanding.

Am I afraid of light?  Am I afraid of losing darkness?

I feel safe in the dark – whether asleep or in deep meditation (nothingness).  In the light I have to do stuff that I don’t want to do.

Do I?

I don’t know God’s Will, but… why would God want to make me do things I don’t want to do?  That’s more like a devil.

Can I trust that God wants me to do things that I want to do?  And BE peaceful?

Yes.  I can believe that.

*** [break] ***

I notice that I’m judging the present moment as being undesirable or unsafe.  That I have to do something to ensure the safety of the next moment. 

Do I resist mundane activity itself?

Yes.

What haven’t I seen in mundane activity?  What is it showing me?  Why do I feel anxiety when I’m in a very busy or stressful situation?

Time pressure… a belief that I don’t have enough time.  Desire for more time.  Angry that I don’t have more time.  Greed for more time.  But I am an INFINITE being.  Time is infinite.  I already have all time.

Perhaps I hide from my Self because I want more time here – more physical life, or more time in peace (as darkness)?

Activity = < time + < peace + < life.  I don’t want to waste the limited time I have on pointless activities.  More time to do what I want.  More time to be lazy.

Why be lazy?

To conserve energy.

Why conserve energy?

More life.

Why more life?

I haven’t done what I came here for.

What did I come here for?

To be free.

Am I free now?

No.

Why not?

Because I don’t live in love.  I’m selfish.

Is it true?

 

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Question Me a Koan, Riddle Me a Truth

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 9, 2011

Let me be very clear. I do not, as of this moment, abide in the Self. From what I understand, one either does or doesn’t. There is no in between. There is no ‘kinda’. The good news, though, from what I hear, is that it’s only ever an instant away. It could happen anytime, without warning. Not by virtue of something I do, but simply by the right set of circumstances coming together to form it. Like the starting of a fire – it happens spontaneously when the right combination of flammable material, oxygen and heat come together.

Like divine sparks, I’ve had glimpses of the Self. I’ve had instantaneous ‘downloads’ of knowledge that have greatly inspired my faith along the way. Sometimes, they have even stayed with me for a few hours. I’ve also experienced very high states of joy and gratitude that have been wondrous… yet, deceptive. Only the ego experiences something. An experience implies separation. I just learned this recently. It’s easy to get attached to these states, but, ultimately, they’re not what I want.

To be absolutely clear, this website is not about answers, it’s about questions. Jesus Christ said, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.” Zen masters pose riddles, called koans, to their students. A Course in Miracles workbook poses a statement of spiritual truth each day for a year. These questions and spiritual truths – riddles, in short – can’t be answered by the mind, or understood by logical deduction. They’re meant to induce the mind to surrender, to give up trying to answer or understand. To allow the inherent mystery of the riddle and form space around it, so divine grace may enter.

For the past 10 years, I’ve been rather obsessive about the study of enlightenment from a variety of sources and teachers, yet, I know less now than when I started. Fortunately, I can’t study much anymore because I just get confused. It’s best for me now to focus on a single riddle, and let it percolate. Not thinking about it or looking for an answer, just gently refreshing the riddle occasionally, and then being as still as possible with it. A Course in Miracles is my primary resource. I’ve been studying the Course for six years. Yes, apparently, I’m a very slow learner.

Talking about slow learning, yesterday, I was thinking about the various paths I’ve taken in my life, and the times that I’ve been really stuck with indecision. If I turn right, do I irrevocably lose the path that turned left? I have definitely believed in strict either/or decisions, in the past. Do I still believe in them? Well, if the path to the right is unknown, and the path to the left is also unknown, then left and right are the same: unknown. It’s that very unknown that provokes fear and indecision. How can I choose if every direction is completely terrifying? In those times, I’ve relied upon the maxim: If in doubt, don’t. This simple statement is my bottom line for every tough decision I’ve faced for many years now. Even if the mind is chock full of doubt, the Self knows. If I’m just patient, and surrender the tendency to worry, eventually the anxiety is replaced with peace, and the answer appears, perfectly clear. Then, actually, there is no choosing at all. It becomes the unified path of choiceless choice.

Eventually, the Self just has to be trusted. To pose a riddle, and trust that the Self has heard and will help. That’s difficult for an ego, so it takes practice. If an answer comes, great, and if it doesn’t, then I probably didn’t need it anyway. The point is, first, to ask.

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