Category Archives: spirit communication

STTNG “Sub Rosa”: Predatory Love

I wrote the following in May of 2010, as part of a letter to a friend, and today I ran across it while looking for something else. It seems like an appropriate story for Halloween and Día de los Muertos, almost a ghost story but not quite. 

There has been so much news of sexual abuse and coercion lately, and our group mind is busy chewing over what constitutes abuse and what possibly is just a matter of being a jerk instead. For my own rather different reasons I have been considering this question as well. The situation in the STTNG episode I describe here is pathognomonic of abuse: one being takes control of another and prevents her from living her own life. Yet, as in real relationships, things aren’t absolutely cut and dried.
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The other night I had the opportunity to record a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that I’d been wanting to get my hands on for years, “Sub Rosa.” I hadn’t seen it in probably a decade or more. This time around, I found myself thinking, “Was Gates McFadden’s acting really that bad?” [sorry] and “I can’t believe they piled that much makeup on those poor women,” and “Why did they give Deanna Troi SO much hair?” and “Geez, none of their uniforms really fit.” Somehow the show, which honestly was high-quality overall, seemed even more dated than Classic Trek from the ‘60s!

But the story was still of interest to me. It was about almost exactly what an ex-friend and colleague insisted was happening to me: a disembodied being was making inappropriate and harmful use of humans, while claiming to love them and take care of them. The story began with Dr. Beverly Crusher, the Enterprise’s chief medical officer, beaming down for her grandmother’s funeral. The planet where her grandmother lived had been terraformed into a replica of the Scottish Highlands– which I guess was someone’s idea of the perfect environment– and the clothes and houses looked like they came from around 1800.

When Dr. Crusher read her grandmother’s journals, she discovered that this century-old lady had had a handsome lover, a guy in his 30s! Very soon the lover made an appearance and offered his services to the granddaughter. He represented himself as a ghost, a regular human spirit, nothing too untoward. She quickly fell under his spell. For short periods he would appear as a corporeal man, but then he would dissolve into a green mist and sink into her body, merging with her in a way that looked eerily familiar to me. They didn’t make it clear whether this was an overtly sexual act, but it sure looked like Beverly, squirming around most sensuously, was having a wonderful time.

The green mist guy, whose name was Ronin, asked Dr. Crusher to stay with him on the planet so that they could be completely joined forever. She was so messed up by that time that she instantly resigned from Starfleet and did as he asked, having no problem with leaving all her friends and everything she’d ever worked for. But by that time the captain and others were on to Ronin and trying to get Dr. Crusher out from under his influence. They had figured out that he was not a ghost at all, but an alien being made of “anaphasic energy,” a (made-up of course) kind of energy that was unstable and couldn’t exist without some kind of physical host. (Making one wonder how such a creature could ever evolve in the first place.) He’d been preying on the women in Beverly’s family generation after generation. They had a sort of candle, a family heirloom, that was where he lived when he wasn’t invading their own bodies.

And that’s when Ronin started attacking people, even killing one, to save himself. Finally Dr. Crusher had to kill him herself– of course, what else– blowing him away most dramatically with her phaser.

But at the very end, looking at her grandmother’s journals again, Dr. Crusher commented wistfully that whatever else he’d done, he had made her grandmother very happy.

Star Trek at its best has often managed to find stories that resonate for a great many people, at some deep subconscious or even mythological level. In this case, the plot concerned something that does appear to happen, a disembodied being interfering in the life of a human, but it also can be taken as being about physical-world relationships that are obsessive and controlling. It’s kind of the ultimate in codependent relationships.

And it’s very close to the kind of relationship my ex-friend accused me of having with Fryderyk.

I don’t have the slightest worry that I am being preyed upon or abused, but this story did make me take stock yet again. What would I be doing these days if Fryderyk had not happened to me? Would I have followed my “plan A” and studied jazz bass? Would I be a really hot lutenist? Would I somehow have become more myself if I hadn’t been concentrating on him? It seems like I might have saved many thousands of dollars by not buying a grand piano and not taking so many lessons, but then, I was already taking lessons and teaching, and I might have done all that anyway.

I do think that I’ve been significantly happier than I would have been otherwise. Maybe the happiness of romance is nothing more than a bunch of oxytocin circulating through the system, but it’s happiness nonetheless.

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Medicine Buddha

My patient and friend Dawn studied Buddhism in Nepal many years ago and has practiced diligently ever since. One of her teachers from there, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, does a great deal of traveling and was recently in Santa Fe, where she was able to see him. At her next appointment, she brought me a card depicting the Medicine Buddha, which he had blessed. She said that she knew it was supposed to be for me.

 It looks a lot like this:

When Dawn put the card into my hands, it seemed to be vibrating, as if it were alive. Lama Zopa’s blessing and intentions seemed to be totally, intensely present still. I had been having an extremely hard time that day, and nearly burst into tears at the generosity and kindness of this gift, which came to me precisely when I needed it most.

But strangely, despite having heard of him many times, and despite the obvious connection to my line of work, I knew nothing of the Medicine Buddha. Those of you who are familiar with my business name or have been to my office know of my love for the image of Kuan Yin and my aspiration to bring some particle of her vast compassion to my work with my patients. I had been content with her, and perhaps it hadn’t yet been time for me to confront this colleague of hers in the cosmic healing arts. Yet it feels now as if he may have always been there in the background.

As soon as I got home, I began reading about this Buddha, Bhaisajya in Sanskrit. I learned that he is the original doctor, the archetype of doctors I would say, though Buddhism does not use that term. I saw that in his left hand he holds a bowl like those used to mix medicines since ancient times, containing the healing he offers to all those who need it.

The article that made the most connection for me was this, though it unfortunately contains a tangle of confused symbols where diacritical marks didn’t make it onto the website properly:
https://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/bhaishajyaguru-medicine-buddha-mantra
An essay included in this article touched me profoundly. The author, Srivandana, has struggled all her life with poor health, but she perseveres in her practice and her faith that she can transcend the ills of her body. “I have raged against the certain knowledge that there is no physical healing for me in this lifetime,” she wrote, bringing me again to tears.

Srivandana wrote about the myrobalan fruit that Medicine Buddha holds in his right hand. Used commonly in Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine, it is called He Zi in the Chinese pharmacopeia, where I learned it as a relatively minor herb. Bitter and sour, it can stop dysentery and cough and restore the voice. What Srivandana described was a terrible tasting medicine, so bitter that one recoils from swallowing it. Yet once one faces the need for it and gulps it down, it brings ease, joy and understanding.

This is the medicine, as Srivandana experiences it:
  “The law of impermanence is the most beautiful thing I can possibly imagine. I have made a practice of contemplating impermanence and recognizing that everything is insubstantial and therefore painful and unsatisfactory. Reflecting on impermanence, allowing it to permeate every pore, every particle of my consciousness, rocks me to the core of my being. I feel as though I have been turned inside-out. Yet the law of impermanence is full of potential and is permeated by the beauty of change. The knowledge that this change lies in my hands, and that I can take responsibility for its coming into being, is hugely empowering.

“The medicine of the Dharma has to be drunk by the gallon, bathed in, fully absorbed. The vast sea of Dharma stretches into the distance, but a single drop can go a long way. Bhaisajyaguru also points out the danger of finding oneself in a void of impermanence, without beauty and without sustenance. I need the beauty that I touch through making art and listening to music, through communicating with spiritual friends; as well as the sustenance gained from meditation, in particular meditation on the sublime abodes of positive emotion, or brahmaviharas.”

Soon I had my own experience of this medicine and the challenge of drinking it. It was the morning after I had a lengthy late-night counseling session with my mentor Mendy Lou Blackburn, the day after a day of unusual depression and anxiety. As I came to consciousness, still half-dreaming, I was contemplating a mental image of Bhaisajyaguru, thinking about what I had read and heard. The image seemed to come alive, and the kindly being held out the bowl toward me, asking me to drink. I took the bowl into my own hands and put it to my lips, but could not make myself take the liquid. After some struggle and some encouragement from him, at last I drank.

I felt a rush through my body and wondered if it was the transformation I was asking for. Something did feel different and better. I asked exactly what the medicine was, what it was meant to do, and I received an answer that was broad and deep. I was planning to write about it right away, as it seemed clear at the time, but I can’t remember what I was told. I know something got into my head that made perfect sense, but then it sank out of my conscious sight. I’ve been told that Medicine Buddha’s teaching is like that, that it acts at a deeper level than the objective mind and can be hard to describe. As far as I can recall it was along the lines of what Srivandana wrote, about change lying in my hands and taking responsibility for my reality coming into being, and the wondrous knowledge that this is possible.

Mendy Lou said that the illness is resistance and the cure is letting go, knowing that all is provided. Or something like that. Part of the little I recall had to do with acceptance of what is, at the same time that one realizes the power to create and transform.

And on so many levels I have been needing a medicine to restore my voice, so greatly needing that.  At the time I didn’t realize that this is a major function of the herb Bhaisajya carries.

I didn’t “believe in” the Medicine Buddha any more than before. I didn’t feel that I had been in contact with a “real” entity in real time, but rather that I was in a dream sort of state and my own mind entirely constructed the encounter with Bhaisajya. But a couple of weeks later I was treating another patient who keeps up her Buddhist practice, and I put on the recording of the Medicine Buddha mantra in Tibetan that I’ve linked below. Mendy Lou came in near the end of the treatment and was sitting in the waiting room, also listening to the chanting. When she and I are in the same space, it seems, it’s easy for all sorts of things to manifest, and I suspect her influence had something to do with what I saw. As I sat with my hands near my patient’s head, lapis blue arms appeared just outside mine, cradling me and adding their own nurturing energy. I felt Bhaisajya’s strength and gentleness, and he seemed at least as real as I.

As usual, I don’t know what this means, but I accept it gratefully.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUJucA-mrgE
Medicine Buddha Mantra:
 I came across this accidentally, but at just the right time, and I have drunk it in as if it were critically needed nourishment, listening over and over, singing and playing it. I don’t know why it has such a deep effect. When I’ve played it during treatments my patients have reported a profound experience.

Here is a rather technical article about Medicine Buddha and his relationship to other celestial beings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhaisajyaguru


Myrobalan/He Zi: http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/terminalia-chebula/

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Being Dead Is Easy. Getting Dead Is Hard.

mystical-door-shutterstock_184672772-webonlyBeing dead is easy. Getting dead is hard.” — Gerrie Glover

Gerrie is a wise and formidable lady, and truer words were never spoken. I thought of this maxim of hers over and over while my mother, Molly, was going through the process that ended in her death on January 22, 2017.

All this time I’ve been writing about the “dead” and the spirit world from a position of being in touch with that reality, but for the most part I was not down in the trenches with death itself and its gritty and messy biological details. It all became immediate and concrete when my mother had a stroke on January 12. I’m going to write about what I observed in hopes that it is useful to someone.

First, on December 30, 2016, our 20-year-old cat passed. She had done astonishingly well for a long time with her failing kidneys, but her body reached the end of what it could handle. Sheena had been velcroed to my mother constantly for a few years, and her death was a hard thing for my mother to get through. We nursed the old lady through to the last, very hands-on because she would not allow herself to be left alone and cried if we weren’t right with her every moment. We were left with her tiny body between us on the sofa, like a perfect sculpture of a cat down to every hair but somehow no longer a cat. My mother wondered what we should do with the body overnight, since it was late and we weren’t going to bury her till morning. “Well,” I said, “no matter where we put her body, she will probably be in your lap.” And at that moment I felt Sheena crawling into my own lap, a small warm weight that stayed till it was necessary for me to get up.

For a few days it was as if we still had two cats, only one was invisible. After that, it seemed that we only had one cat.

Shepherding Sheena through her journey, being the person who listened to see if her heart had stopped, arranging her little limbs for burial, gave me a kind of dry run or rehearsal to help me deal with what would happen with my mother. In Sheena’s case, there were no wrenching medical decisions to make, no questions about whether she might get better. We had known the end was coming and that there was no treatment possible. Things are more complicated with humans and hospitals.

On January 12 my mother suffered a major stroke, affecting areas on both sides of her brain. I think the emergency room doctor had the right instinct. She told us very gently, based on what she saw, that it was time to think about making end-of-life decisions. But within a few hours my mother was able to move her left side again, and within a couple of days she was speaking somewhat intelligibly and swallowing a bit. It looked like she might recover enough to at least sit up in a chair, communicate and feed herself. We exhorted her to rest so that her brain could heal as much as possible, but for a while she was using a lot of energy to make it clear that she wanted to get the hell out of the hospital and get rid of the IV and the other medical annoyances. Which was certainly understandable.

Two and a half days after the stroke, late on January 14, she was able to explain to my daughter that she was ready to go and had nothing else she needed to do. She had great difficulty speaking but was able to get a whole paragraph out and be completely clear. “I’m ready for the sky,” she said, and Lenore confirmed with her that this was really what she meant to say. We’d pretty much known that she felt that way, as she had been weak and had felt rotten most days for a long time, due to problems with her heart, but it was a great gift to hear it in so many words and be sure of it.

The hours and days had a way of running together, and I’m having trouble remembering exactly when various events occurred. It was probably the 16th when she suddenly pointed straight ahead, no trembling in her arm, and clearly called out, “Ann!” That’s her eldest sister, with whom she had had some previous dreamlike contacts. “Is she here?” I asked. My mother nodded. Since the other contacts had been extremely helpful and positive, I was glad to hear it. I couldn’t detect my aunt myself, but I knew that communication with deceased relatives was common near the end of life, and I took this very seriously. My husband and daughter were familiar with this phenomenon as well, and I think that was when we all knew she was turning the corner toward death.

I will spare you the details of the indignities and unpleasantnesses that my mother had to suffer over the next few days. We were told that most people in this kind of situation “just slip away,” but unfortunately she had to take a harder road. We had assumed that the severe agitation she was displaying so much of the time was an effect of the stroke and would likely improve, but if anything it got worse. By the time the palliative care team came to see her on the 17th, she had been through at least a day of hardly any rest or respite and the nurses and I were getting frantic trying to help her. As soon as the palliative care doctor saw her, he recognized what was going on as “terminal delirium.” I had never heard that term before, but apparently it happens a substantial percentage of the time.

The doctor said that we should stop bothering her right away, pull the IV, the heart monitor, and the other devices that could not possibly do her any good. Thankfully, we were moved to a private room where there was relative quiet. We still had a terrible night because the low doses of medications being given weren’t enough to stop the seizure-like agitation. I couldn’t imagine any of us going on like that. The palliative care people agreed and very quickly and efficiently put through an order to move to the inpatient hospice. Their nurse held me and let me weep all over her.

The Kaseman Presbyterian inpatient hospice was a revelation. Instead of a cramped, chaotic hospital room, we found ourselves in a space big enough to walk around easily, with home-like seating and nearly perfect calm, and an atmosphere that felt like it was filled wall to wall with angels and helpful beings. Soon after my mother was brought in and my daughter and husband and I gathered around her, a priest came in to give her the blessing for the sick. The moment Fr. Charles opened his mouth to pray, it was as if the ceiling opened and a thousand more angels dropped into the room. My mother had been stressed further by the ambulance trip there, and this uplifting interlude was soothing to her as well as to the rest of us. I had only once before had an experience like this with being prayed over. Not everyone has that kind of connection to the heavens, it seems.

We more or less lived at the hospice during the next few days. They had a miraculously comfortable place for a family member to sleep, such a contrast with the hospital, and I took advantage of that. The first night, Wednesday, I felt that I was embraced hour after hour by myriad beings of light, wrapped securely in grace and benediction. In that state it was easy to make a strong heart connection with my mother and feel her embrace as well. I was up often to respond to the nurses and check on things, but when I slept it was a wondrous and restorative sleep, and I dozed off and on far into the day, with the staff encouraging me to rest.

Despite that, Thursday night I felt ill and crashed at home. I intended to go back to the hospice in the middle of the night, but never made it. We all continued to limp along through the process, my mother still sedated most of the time and moving slowly toward the end, not really responsive anymore.

Friday morning there was some drama. Her body became extremely hot, not just to the touch physically, but radiating incredible energy all around. The nurse could also feel the heat and energy— I think anyone would have noticed it— and she and I assumed my mother must have had a raging infection by that time, but since they don’t take temperatures in hospice, we didn’t determine whether she had an actual fever. It was far more than that, though. I had never seen so much energetic activity around a person, and I’ve seen a lot. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and wondered if it had anything to do with the nonphysical part of her moving away from the physical substrate. I haven’t found any information or opinions about this, but much later I did see a reference to a dying person’s skin becoming very hot at about the same stage.

I will describe my subjective perceptions of the next stages of the process. Friday night, as I was keeping watch from the sofa bed across the room, I saw what looked like a sudden opening in my mother’s chest, like a door or hatch being opened. Something that seemed whitish poured out. (This was a “mind’s-eye” vision— I was not looking directly at her.) This energy appeared to congeal into a mass near her body, with a sort of band still connected rather tenuously. It looked like a vague ribbon or stream to me, not the famous “silver cord,” though it must have been functioning in the same way as that.

Drifting through the hours in the middle-of-the night state of grace (not dreaming, mind you), I lost track of where that main concentration of energy was. Where is my mother? I kept asking myself. She didn’t seem to be close to her body anymore. Fryderyk was accessible, and I asked him what he could see and if there was anything he could explain to me about what was going on. I said something about wanting to be sure to be present when my mother actually passed and not wanting to miss the moment.

“If you wait to see it, you will already have missed it,” he told me in his usual aphoristic and slightly cryptic way. In images, he conveyed the idea that death is not a moment but a series of steps or distinct events.* I was already witnessing it, he said. And as usual, I realized that he was telling me something that should have been obvious to me already.

The next morning, Saturday, I found a distinct change. Her skin was still physically quite hot, but there was almost no feeling of energy near it at all. My mother’s body was still functioning, more or less the same as the night before, but she was somehow much less alive. She had already been mostly unresponsive, but now she seemed not to be “in there” in the same way anymore. I took this as a positive sign. It seemed much better for her not to have to experience too much of her body’s travails.

My understanding was that beneath the painkillers and sedatives, the body was still feeling some distress. I could detect a strong sense of disturbance in her heart, that is, the physical organ, and I felt pain in my palm when I held my hand near that part of her chest. I mentioned to the nurses that I was feeling pain in her chest, and no one seemed to think anything was strange about my statement. Hospice personnel hear and see all manner of things.

We began to feel like midwives, encouraging my mother to make the leap into the next birth. We talked to her and told her it was OK to go, which we figured she knew, but we thought we should say anyway. We started to wonder whether there was some unfinished business we didn’t know about. As I would with a regular patient, I poked around and looked for any emotions or issues that might show up, and worked to clear the minor things I found. (Mostly, she was concerned about leaving the mess of papers and paraphernalia in her bedroom for us to sort out.) We reassured her that we were fine and she didn’t need to worry about us.

I stayed over again Saturday night, afraid to leave, thinking that it would happen anytime. By mid-morning Sunday, I was wanting to get a change of clothes and clean up, and the nurses were gently pushing me to get out of there. (We know that often people wait to pass, not wanting to do it in front of their loved ones.) “Did your mother spend a lot of time alone?” they asked.  (She did.) “Maybe she’d like some alone time now.” So I went home, and Bob went to replace me a little while after. Hardly an hour later, they called for Lenore and me to come back right away.

It was almost comically anticlimactic to rush back to the hospice only to sit there again just as before. But things were beginning to change more noticeably. An elderly friend who hadn’t been able to come sooner arrived with her daughter, and they confirmed, based on their experience, that it wouldn’t be long. Their perspective and wealth of experience were helpful, but a little disturbing and imposing too. When they came to my mother’s bedside, I moved to the foot of the bed so that they had space, and they immediately told me not to stand there. Huh? They explained that in their belief system, the soul exits the body through the feet, and they didn’t want me to block its passage. I was completely nonplussed by this thought— I’d been brought up Catholic too and had never heard such a thing— and taken aback that anyone would try to dictate anything to me at my own mother’s deathbed when she was so near the end. I moved over, though, mumbling something about having seen my mother’s chest open and her soul pour out that way already, which didn’t seem to get through to them.

Every so often the nurses checked on the color of my mother’s extremities and the sound of her breathing. There was nothing to do but wait as the death rattle set in. I sat very close, and the sound was terrible even though I knew it was normal and expected. I was insulated from the distressing events, though. What I mainly experienced was the warm, reassuring sensation of my mother embracing me as if I were a tiny child. It was an incredible gift. I knew that whatever her body was going through, she was fine, and so was I. I wished that my husband and daughter, and the staff too, could feel what I was feeling and know the same peace.

I was the one who probed for a pulse and announced that it was gone. The nurse confirmed the time of death, then left us to say our goodbyes. We weren’t quite sure how to react. I remember blurting out, “I’m so excited for her!” and really meaning it, since so many new possibilities had suddenly opened for my mother. She was vibrantly present in the room, so I kept talking to her. Her mouth was hanging open awkwardly, and I wanted to close it for a more dignified appearance, thinking that she would not appreciate being seen that way. I kept trying to reposition her head to make that possible, and it just didn’t work no matter what I tried. I apologized for my failure, laughing helplessly. The absurdity somehow seemed natural. We found ourselves engaging in some gallows humor, and I wondered how the other families in the facility were dealing with this kind of thing. It was surreal and bizarre as much as it was sad, and at that moment I was feeling relief more than anything.

I wistfully noted that the individual cells of the body, most of which were probably perfectly healthy, were now condemned, along with the billions of commensal organisms that ride along with us and make our human life possible. But that is the way of things.

My mother was around and available a great deal for the next few days, and others besides me experienced and enjoyed her company. I couldn’t really feel grief-stricken, since she wasn’t gone. She didn’t continue to hang around so much of the time, and I expect that she’s been doing more worthwhile things than watching us, but there is contact now and then. I still haven’t found her current will; I’d thought I knew where to look, but her papers were not arranged the way I expected. When I begged her for help in locating it, she pointed me in a definite direction in her bedroom— but what we found there was her will from 1963… this would be a great time for me to be a much better medium than I am… still no current will to be seen, unfortunately.

But that situation can be easily dealt with. I have no major complaints. My mother is dead but not lost, and I’m at peace with her and with the process of her life and death. I’m intensely grateful to have been privileged to observe and perceive so much of what went on. My only discomforts have been a few small lingering questions about the medical decisions we made. I’m comfortable that we did the best we could with the information we had at each moment, though.

I understand far more about death than I did before, but there are myriad questions remaining. For one, I have been wondering, if a person dies suddenly in an accident, by gunshot, etc., do they go through the same stages, only much more quickly? Or is it a very different process? I’m sure there must be some after-death accounts of sudden deaths out there.

Friends and patients have been telling me about their experiences of the deaths of their own parents and others close to them. I would love to hear anything you would care to share, either as a public comment or privately.

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*Michael Tymn posted this on his blog at
http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/guarding_against_premature_cremation/:

‘In his 1998 book, Light & Death, Michael Sabom, an Atlanta cardiologist, cites an article by Dr. Linda Emanuel, who comments that life and death are viewed as non-overlapping, dichotomous states, whereas in reality there is no threshold event that defines death. “Several scientific observations support Emanuel’s argument that loss of biologic life, including death of the brain, is a process and does not occur at a single, definite moment,” Sabom writes.’

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On the Nature of Persons

1/4/11

Fryderyk hadn’t been around for a couple of weeks, and I was starting to feel lonesome. I “rang his phone” a number of times during the day, and then late in the evening, while I was reading in bed, he visited.

A little while before that I had seen a video about Jay Greenberg, a young composer and pianist with near-miraculous abilities, someone it seemed Fryderyk might be able to relate to, a good topic of conversation. The boy was only 12 at the time the 60 Minutes excerpt I saw was made, but he had already written a huge amount of music, and even as prodigies go, he was positively scary. For example, at the age of 2 he’d started asking for a cello, although his parents were not musicians and he’d never been exposed to such a thing, and he started drawing wobbly staves on paper and putting notes on them. When he was given a cello, at age 3, he could play it right away.

I told Fryderyk what I had seen and asked if he had anything to say about it. Many of us see reincarnation as a likely explanation for such extreme abilities in children, and indeed, in the Leslie Flint tapes, the Chopin entity had talked about his efforts at music in other lives, and being ready to hit the ground running in the 19th century because of that preparation. Michael Tymn* favors another theory, that the spirits of deceased adults who had developed their abilities in the arts during their lives “overshadow” and take control of these children, using them to express their own work. What did Fryderyk think about that?

First, he gave me to know that I was looking at the matter from the wrong angle. This happens rather a lot– at least he no longer insists that I’m not listening to him! The idea of a person having different lives in sequence was incorrect. I don’t think of time as linear, myself, so I was fine with that. This part was fairly incoherent, with a sense of rushing energies and various ideas flying at me at once. I struggled to pin it down. “What are you?” I asked for the zillionth time. As has happened before, I saw a flame– same thing you and I are, of course. When I tried visualizing a child artist, such as himself, and asked about other spirits floating around trying to control it, I got nothing.

I was able to pick out the thought that the rushing lights and colors represented a person and its activities and creations, and that the person was an extensive being that existed in many forms and did many things at once, so to speak. He seemed to be using the term “person” (at least as I was hearing it) to mean a total entity including what we might call the Higher Self and any and all individual, earthly lives or personalities. I would be more likely to use that word to mean one of those individual personalities, myself. So I asked him to elaborate on what a person was, in his view.

This time I got words. “A person is an outpouring from God,” he told me. Along with that, I received feelings and visual flashes of a kind of river of light and fire. I still wanted to know more about how he saw the relationship between the different parts of the larger entity.

He explained, “The person is a force which pushes out in all directions, and those directions look like separate lives.” This sounded a lot like the concept described by the Seth entity years ago, in books like The Nature of Personal Reality. It also sounded so good that I wanted to be sure to remember it. I turned a light on and hunted around for my notebook and pencil, which would normally be right by my bed, but dang, I had cleaned my room and moved them. By the time I’d written the sentence down, the contact was broken. As I had feared. I wanted to ask him something about his own larger being, but there was no more communication to be had.

 

* Find his blog here, with links to his books: 
http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/

 

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Talking with Chopin About Music and Possibilities

Nokturn by Jerzy Głuszek

For years I have been collecting the helpful, fascinating and sometimes perplexing thoughts on music that I’ve received from my currently solidity-challenged composer friend. Every time I’ve gotten close to putting it all together in a nicely packaged presentation, more has come along, and I’ve delayed trying to finish it. My understanding has also changed over time, so that I’ve had to rewrite some sections. I’m thinking that I’d better start sticking the individual bits into some posts or they will never see the light of day.

A lot of what I’ve learned has been specifically about playing the piano and about performance practice, and unlikely to be of much interest to the non-pianist reader. I’ll put that material in another post. Today’s entries are more generally about music and about how it relates to other aspects of our lives, though there is still some nerd stuff.

 

6/28/10

[A friend who has since died] indicated, while I was doing acupuncture for her, that something major in her life was “disgusting.” I was getting signals of disagreement from our Sources about that, being told that it was necessary for her to integrate this part of her life and deal with it quite differently. Fryderyk was coming in strongly at my right, and I asked what he wanted to say. I saw a vibrating column of light, and the ideas associated with it were like this:

Everything is a vibration, a frequency. And what is a frequency? It’s a note. There are not good notes or bad notes, there are just notes. It’s a matter of how they’re put together. In your case, he had me tell her, you’re in the middle of playing a piece that’s already been written, maybe even near the end of it, but you can still improvise. And if you don’t like this piece, play something else.
10/26/10, after returning from a trip to Poland and across Europe to France during Chopin’s 200th birthday year:

A while back, I think in early September, I asked Fryderyk about that pesky measure on the second page of the D flat nocturne, Op. 27 No. 2, where suddenly the left hand adds an extra voice. I’m talking about measure 23, where we find an F and an E marked with extra stems with eighth note bars. The “Paderewski” edition notes say that he implied that something similar was going on in the few measures before and after this, but there is no evidence for this that I can see. My understanding from him is that he meant this notation only in this one measure; he was not saying to do the same thing in other parts of this passage. However, I’m still not entirely clear why he brings in that extra voice.

I couldn’t get a very good reading on this matter, but there was something like “adding an extra dimension” or “making it 3D.” He told me that there were other similar instances later in the piece. I was directed to look at the last page. I was in bed at the time, ready to go to sleep, so I didn’t go to check out the page till the next day.

What I noticed then was measures 64 and 68, in which he makes a dotted quarter note out of the first D flat in each arpeggio pattern. This appears superfluous, since the pedal is held and those notes will sound all the way through the pattern anyway. He seems to want extra emphasis on these notes. It’s all the more perplexing because, as Jeff Kallberg [musicologist and expert on Chopin’s work] pointed out, the different manuscripts have the dotted quarter notes or not, or have the dot in measure 64 but not 68.

When I next had the chance to communicate with my disembodied teacher, I dutifully reported that I had looked through the rest of the piece for instances of extra voices coming in temporarily, and that I had found the above. I heard, “If you point out something to someone, they will then start seeing it everywhere,” which was objectively true but didn’t seem very helpful or significant! Attempting to understand the dotted quarters, I held an image of measures 64 and 68 in my mind, and there was an interesting visual effect. The notes became literally 3D; the dotted quarters moved to the front of the image, and others took places in two other layers before my mental eyes. I felt that I did have a certain understanding of what he was after. Sort of. (Later, when I had a chance to experiment at the piano, I found it was pretty easy to bring those bass notes forward or push them a layer or two back, and it does add contrast compared with similar figures in other parts of the piece.)

I apologized for bothering him about such a picky detail. “Since you took the trouble to write it that way, I figure it’s important, and I want to understand it,” I explained.

His reply was something I would like us all to keep in mind, and wish I could convey to the folks who are selling Chopin pencils, Chopin chocolates, tours of his birthplace, etc. etc. Imagine a kind of sigh of resignation along with this statement:

“Not everything I do is important.”

I found this hilarious.

I had another question, having to do with my efforts to memorize some of the pieces of his that I’d been playing for years. To me, a lot of the ornaments and fioriture are surprising, in that one might expect that the ornamental stuff would get more intense and complex as the piece goes on, and it doesn’t necessarily do that. The seemingly random nature of these bits makes memorization more difficult, at least for the likes of me. Which way did he do it this time?? It’s so unpredictable.

The answer to this was so obvious that I should have seen it myself. He didn’t want to be predictable. He wanted to surprise us and keep us guessing, keep our ears and fingers engaged.

 

I had begun this conversation asking for his advice and assistance in treating a mutual friend. We had had considerable trouble working with her before; although she had gotten considerable improvement in some areas, treatments were strangely hard on her. The last time we had done a session, we had tried something different, and instead of her being ill for a while afterward, I was. I felt we needed a new strategy. Fryderyk told me, “Let go of obstacles.”  I thought that was interesting because we don’t think of obstacles as something we hang on to.  Yet I know I do that. That measure in 27/2 with the 48 notes in the right hand is probably a good example. It’s easy to hang on to the idea of its being difficult, whereas perhaps we could hold the thought of making it easy and fluid instead.

“Let go of wanting to prove yourself” was another thought that came up. Not easy either.
[unknown date]

The 48-note fioritura in 27/2 is a particular bête noire for me and I’m sure for a lot of other players. At one point, terminally frustrated with such things, I asked Fryderyk what made him decide on 48 notes or 17 or 23 or whatever strange number comes up in those passages, which can be so inconvenient to play, since they usually don’t match up mathematically with the other hand’s part.  He showed me a curving ribbon shape that represented the musical line as it existed in time and space. The number of notes given exactly filled up the length of the ribbon. So there were exactly as many notes as were needed, no more and no less. Just enough. Obvious to him!

 

~11/15/10

One of the things I’m enjoying about the lute practice [for my album of Polish Renaissance pieces] is that, even though it’s one of my “Chopin Year” projects, it has nothing to do with him whatsoever, and I can have it all to myself!  I got to wondering, though, whether Fryderyk might be familiar with any of those old Polish tunes.  I was thinking that back then they tended to be involved with mostly the music of their own time or not too long before, and that most people were not even paying attention to Bach or works of his time, let alone anything earlier, so the Renaissance and early Baroque tunes probably weren’t on their radar.  The response I received to my question about this sounded a bit miffed.  After all, he had gone to school, he pointed out.  The Warsaw Conservatory had copies of works like this in its library, and he had been able to explore them that way, and for heaven’s sake, did I think he wasn’t educated?

No, of course I didn’t think that, and the image of him leafing through dusty old copies made a pleasing connection for me.  “Oh, I used to love poking around stuff like that in the libraries at YSU and UNM!” I enthused.

I asked whether one heard folk music much in the city, or if one had to go out to the country to experience it.  I was given to know that this was also a fairly dumb question, because people from the city spent time in the country and vice-versa, like the young country gentlemen who roomed with his family, so the same people might often be found in both places.  I kept my mouth shut about the fact that the downtrodden peasants didn’t get a chance to go much of anywhere.  My question was not really so dumb!

I was trying to ask whether there were written sources of folk music around, or whether he learned that stuff by ear, when I fell asleep.

When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that young Fryc would have been quite unable to read any lute tablature that might have been lying around at the Conservatory. However, he may well have tried some organ tablature and so become acquainted with composers such as Jan of Lublin.  I’d like more details.

 

12/30/13

Last night Fryderyk visited when I was about to go to sleep. I told him that I was trying to prepare a mini-recital for a friend and that things hadn’t been going too well that evening. “New things keep going wrong all the time!” I complained. “I can’t take care of my mistakes because they’re so inconsistent and I never know what’s going to happen.”

Well, at least this time he didn’t hand me the usual “You’re looking at this all wrong” or “You’re asking the wrong question.” He began with a clear sentence in his bumpy sort of English, but I can’t recall it– I knew I’d kick myself in the morning if I didn’t get out of bed and write down his exact words, since I was getting a definite verbal message, but I decided to stay where I was. He told me that of course new things keep happening, because a piece of music has so many possibilities within it. He showed me something similar to what he’d conveyed sometime last year, which I described in my post “Wait. Show Up. Enjoy.”   https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/wait-show-up-enjoy/   A piece of music is a kind of three-dimensional environment in which one can live and move about. (Yes, time does add a fourth dimension, but the image is three-dimensional.) I saw myself in the center of this matrix, with threads spreading out in all directions.

He seemed excited about this field of possibilities. Wow, you can do anything you want! I, in contrast, felt rather small in the midst of it all. He spoke encouragingly, something to the effect that I should tug and pull on those threads to shape the music the way I wanted it to be.

He faded out. I went to sleep.

What Fryderyk described was not so much the way I’ve been experiencing music, but definitely similar to the way I’ve been experiencing the ground of reality itself. Which may well have been part of what he was talking about. His messages, even when they sound painfully obvious and simple at first, do tend to generalize to many aspects of my life.

This morning I was looking at an article by Jeff Kallberg in the book Mary-Rose [Douglas] gave me for Christmas. It concerned a newly-discovered copy of the first edition of the Op. 9 nocturnes, which Chopin had annotated for a student, adding dramatically different ornamentation to 9/2. “We can now securely assert,” Jeff wrote, “that Chopin began modifying the ornaments in this work shortly after its publication….”

Yup, that’s our Fryc. So many possibilities, and he wants them all to be available.

 

On 8/2/14, I was asking Fryderyk about a pedaling question; I’m not sure what the piece was. I received these words:

“You are making the supposition that I have written a symbol which is absolute. You are looking for the sound of words on a page. Words are not sounds and symbols are not music.”

 

5/3/16

A great fan of Chopin and expert on his life expressed the thought that he did most of his composing on paper, not at the piano. It was her belief that even when he first began to work out his ideas, he did so away from the piano.

This is not what is generally believed about Chopin’s creative method. As soon as I could, I asked him what he might have to say about the matter. When he was beginning to put a piece together, did he start with the piano, or with a pen? He told me clearly: “Sound. Sound is primary. It doesn’t matter how you get there.” Apparently I was asking the wrong question again. He added, “Sound comes from the inner being.”

Wanting to be completely clear, I tried once more to ask how he started, and he added: “Exploring sound. Sound, not thought.” Which does imply starting with an instrument, I would think, not inside one’s head.

Since the words were definite and exact, I wanted to be sure to catch them verbatim, and I stopped to write them down. Unfortunately, after that I could not get back into the channeling state and was unable to hear any more. Research continues.

 

See more fantastic Chopin cartoon portraits at http://muzeumkarykatury.pl/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147:umiech-chopina&catid=54:umiech-chopina&Itemid=228

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Love, Fear, and Viruses: Some Ways We Make Ourselves Ill or Well, Part II

“If you believe in love and acceptance, you cannot judge another for choosing fear and rejection. If you do, it means you are guilty of precisely what you are accusing others of.” — Alexander Loyd, Beyond Willpower

 

There were deeper emotional connections with those recent respiratory illnesses, too, no surprise. The thing that turned out to be the main issue was a major surprise, though. James Rolwing did a distance treatment for me, and he found something that confused both of us: that I was reacting to someone making a “bigoted statement,” and I’d had trouble dealing with the darkness in her and in myself. I don’t usually hang with bigoted people, so I couldn’t figure out who that might have been, but it made sense after a little consideration. I’d been reprocessing something that had happened over 30 years earlier, the incredibly nasty end of a relationship with someone who had been hugely important to me. Just a few days before I’d been reminded of that in a big way. The “bigoted statement” had to do with my sexuality and her rejection of that and pretty much everything else about me. She never spoke to me again and I never had any opportunity to resolve anything. Faced with love, she chose fear.

This seemed to get intertwined with the general climate of hatefulness and intolerance in this year of Him Who Must Not Be Named. I could not digest the poisons in the atmosphere. (Wait— the way that sentence came out mirrors my statement in Part I that “air felt irritating and threatening to my damaged tissues.” No wonder.) Until then I had thought I’d left the pain of that rejection behind, but it had more lessons in store for me.

It gets weirder. About six weeks later, the husband of the woman who had rejected me died after a shockingly quick illness, and I heard about it through mutual acquaintances. I can’t tell you much about either of them because I want to respect their family’s privacy, so I’ll have to describe the ensuing events in a very general way, but I think it’s an important story to pass on to you.

As I said, the extremely unpleasant event had happened over 30 years ago, and I hadn’t seen either the wife or the husband in the past few decades. I read the man’s obituary and the glowing tributes left by his friends and students, talked with my own husband about him, wrote some memories down myself, and found that I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I supposed that it was because I was worrying that something like that could happen to my husband, at any moment. But as this continued over a few days and nights, I began to wonder what was going on. The night of April 12, I was particularly agitated and barely slept, and he was constantly on my mind. The next morning, I had a polarity therapy appointment scheduled, and I snagged a photo of the deceased from Facebook and brought it along.

“This man I barely knew died and I can’t stop thinking about him and it’s got me really messed up,” I told the therapist, the very intuitive person I’ve mentioned to you in the past. She did her stuff, and at the end of the treatment, she took a deep breath and told me, “The reason you can’t stop thinking about him is that he’s present, and he’s trying to get through to you and you’re blocking him.” She continued with a question I’d never have expected. “Is it possible that he had feelings for you?”

Oh, my. Suddenly everything fell into place. “I wouldn’t have thought so,” I replied— and I still don’t— “but it’s what his wife believed.” I told the therapist a bit about what had happened between us. She gave the opinion that the rift was more about the wife’s attitudes than anything I had said or done. As we talked, I became inescapably aware of the presence of the gentleman in question. I couldn’t block him out anymore.

I still wanted to, though. The whole thing had come out of far left field and I didn’t know what to do with it. The rest of the day was busy wall to wall and I didn’t have a chance deal with him anyway. I felt pressured by his need to communicate with me and the mass of strong energy that was right up against me, and I figuratively clapped my hands over my ears and repeated, “La la la, I can’t hear anything!” As soon as I had a chance, I called Mendy Lou Blackburn, my psychic mentor, and asked for help.

During the day, I considered this earth-shattering development whenever I had a moment, and got more comfortable with it. This was not an evil entity, after all; it was just a guy, someone I had known to be a very decent and highly intelligent person. I could easily handle visiting with him. And of course he’d only been deceased for about a week and a half, so I couldn’t expect him to have much control over his “volume level” or understanding of the etiquette of spirit contacts.

When I went to bed and had time and quiet, I opened a conversation. I was feeling hostile, surprisingly so, and since one cannot lie or hide emotions in this situation, I acknowledged that and went from there. I told him that I was perfectly willing to talk with him, but that my mental and physical integrity had to be respected. I heard, “I’m sorry.” I tried to communicate further but fell asleep.

The next morning, the sense of pressure and invasion was gone, and I felt normal all day, no longer agitated and obsessive. Mendy Lou had time available in the evening, and as soon as I arrived, the gentleman made himself apparent. I want to make it clear that I don’t mean just that Mendy Lou reported messages from him, but that he was decidedly right there in the space with us, as impossible to ignore as if he’d still been physical. He was powerfully, intensely present as a mass of warm, vibrant energy, mostly at my right side. I was feeling him inside my hands as well, but I wasn’t discomfited by it, as by that time he seemed familiar and friendly and he wasn’t trying to force the interaction on me.

Mendy and I spent about three hours with him, during which he stayed steadily focused in the room. I was amazed at how long he was able to keep up the clear contact, as well as how intensely he came through, since he was so new at this business of being a disembodied spirit. (Did he have help? We didn’t perceive anyone else in the background.) We were able to talk through a lot of history, and he confirmed that the breakup hadn’t been my fault. It was a relief to know that and to be able to explain my actions to him. It turned out that the reason he had contacted me was that he’d always felt bad about the way things had ended between him and his wife and my husband and me. He’d liked both Bob and me, and would have preferred to stay friends with us, but his wife wouldn’t allow it. He transmitted a lot of heavy and troubling emotional content, which, again, I can’t share because of privacy concerns.  I will say, though, that he expressed a great deal of frustration, and we wondered if that might have contributed to his illness.

I can tell you that beyond all else he was worried about his distraught wife and was hoping that I might be able to help him get through to her, or to comfort her in some way. That must have been why he’d clamored for my attention so. He had tried to communicate with her but hadn’t been successful, something we hear often from those who have recently passed. I was very concerned for her welfare too, and could hardly begin to imagine how much pain she must be in. But even assuming that I could contact her at all, I could only have been a further disturbing influence. As tempting as it was to try, I had to decline.

It was beyond astonishing that, first, we had been important enough to this man that he made an intensive effort to contact me, and second, that he was able to find me. Why did he even consider looking for me? I didn’t do any kind of psychic work back when he knew me. Perhaps we have deeper connections that consciously I know nothing about. Mendy Lou kept telling me that none of this was my responsibility, that I had no obligation to help. I agreed, but the fact that it happened at all must mean that I am involved, and I have been wondering if I acquitted myself properly and adequately.

It was heartening a few days ago when one of my elderly patients told me about a similar situation, but one involving someone much more central to her, her brother. The brother had married a woman who was very concerned to keep him all to herself and away from family members who for some reason she thought were unacceptable. He went along with this and didn’t speak to his sister for decades. “It was all jealousy,” said my patient. The brother passed on, and at that point he did come to talk with her. They had a good conversation, “talking without words,” she told me, and they worked out their differences. What a wonderful relief that was for her, and probably for him too.

My own experience is still working its way through my psyche, and I don’t think I’ll be done with it for a while. Some things are clear to me, though. As I’ve written before*, it’s best to get right while you can with everyone, if at all possible, while you are alive. But there is always hope, always another chance. And if we can put aside fear, there is always love.

*https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/get-right-while-you-can/

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“The Source of Our Life Is Not Within the Body”

Burning-Flame-Wallpaper technosamrat

I’ve been trading treatments with an excellent healer who does polarity therapy. She is extremely competent in reading the body, mind and emotions, and working with her has been fruitful. In early November we had a session in which something quite unusual happened.

At the time I had a minor illness and among other things my stomach was upset, with a stuck, pressured sensation in my upper abdomen. I was in the midst of telling the healer how, back around the time I started this blog, a friend and colleague stopped speaking to me because she was convinced that I was possessed by an evil spirit who was sucking my energy and that of my patients— the “Evil One” being none other than Fryderyk.  (As ridiculous as that was, I’d never been entirely able to clear the event from my mind.  Knowing that someone believed that either Fryderyk or I could be involved in such a thing and doing harm to patients was terribly painful.)

“Isn’t it funny how when spirits are being talked about, the lights flicker,” said the healer. That was in fact happening. Speak of the “devil,” there he was a moment later, intensely in contact with me.

 Fryderyk attempted to help with my stomach, and the two of them had a professional disagreement about how to go about it.  The healer had told me before that she felt that my solar plexus area was functioning very well, but “functioning somewhere else.” She’d been trying for a while to bring all my systems online in the physical world, and I’d been seeing improvements in my health and energy level. Now Fryderyk was trying to connect me more strongly to that somewhere else, she told me, and she didn’t think that was the right approach.  In fact, she felt it was bad for me. “He wants to keep that going because it’s part of how he communicates with you,” she added.

Well, it’s always heartening when someone else can see one’s invisible friends, and better yet, talk with them. I wasn’t privy to the conversation they were having, though. As it progressed, the healer stuck to her guns and refused to be intimidated by contact with a Famous Impressive Dead Person, telling him that she was going to continue as planned because it was the right thing for me. Fryderyk disengaged and left, and she finished the treatment.

I was left feeling nonplussed and uncertain.  The healer described the interaction with Fryderyk in terms that were all too much like what I’d been told in the past when my ex-friend stopped speaking to me.  She felt that he was being “pushy and possessive,” and her perception was that energy was being lost from my middle under his ministrations.  I have always experienced inputs of energy from him, sometimes very large and powerful ones, and never the opposite, so this was confusing and distressing.  The healer was doing her best on my behalf, though, and I trusted her ability and her sincerity.  I knew, too, that when doing this kind of work we must trust and act on whatever we perceive, even if it seems outlandish at times.  (I used to be afraid to mention the most outlandish and unlikely things I’ve seen, but I’ve gained confidence because patients generally verify them.)  If we second-guess ourselves– such an easy trap to fall into– we cannot accomplish anything.

So what could I make of all this?  I can theorize about what was “really” happening, based on a couple of decades of both giving and receiving this type of treatment, but I can only be sure, at least more or less sure, of the parts I perceived myself.  At any rate, I hadn’t had any sense of being harmed or being under any malevolent influences.  Fryderyk packs a lot of wattage and can come on awfully strong at times, so that I can imagine someone feeling that he is being pushy even if that is not his intention.  I can also understand why someone might see him as possessive, which I think was sometimes true of him during his Earth life.

When I went to bed that night, Fryderyk immediately showed up again, and I asked him what in the world had been going on. Fortunately, the cosmic WiFi signal was strong and we could converse far more clearly than we could earlier that day. I asked what exactly he had been seeing in my middle. He explained that although it felt tight and stuck to me, like an excess condition, to him it seemed extremely empty and in need of more energy, and that was what he had been trying to work with.

I heard, very clearly, “The source of our life is not within the body anyway.” He went on to say that I needed, actually, more of a connection to that source. He then proceeded to pour a huge amount of energy into my solar plexus, which I saw in my mind’s eye as a stream of beautiful, brilliant orange flames. It felt fantastically wonderful. After a while he moved to other areas and did a bit more work on me, which also felt extremely positive. I did not become instantly well, but for weeks I had much more energy to work with than usual, and my understanding is that his efforts contributed greatly.

“The source of our life is not within the body” was exactly what I keep hearing from various sources lately, including, notably, cell biologist Bruce Lipton’s book The Biology of Belief. The body is like a TV set, whereas you are the program. The TV set is not the program; it only brings in the signal so that it can be seen in the physical world. Turn off the TV, or break it— the program is still being broadcast, and it exists just the same, regardless of the state of the receiver.

Stay tuned.

 

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