The Stick of the Zen Master
Love is relentless
In my previous little story, I told you about the mountain-biking adventure that had resulted in compression fractures of 2 lumbar vertebrae and that I believed that it had been a precious gift given to me by the Source of Love. I want to share with you some of the reasons why I still hold that belief.
While I was still in the hospital, I had plenty of time to review the timeline of events that had led up to the incident, and do some soul searching about my own involvement. I recognized two things that you might find intriguing. The first was an old tendency that I have nicknamed “Mr. Nice Guy”, who needs to show his congeniality in an attempt to be appreciated by the others involved. Another tendency popped up that I’ll call “Don Mucho Macho”, who wants to prove to himself that he is still the man that he used to be. Both inclinations certainly contributed to my having put myself into that dangerous situation, and could easily put me into a wide range of predicaments in the future. So I am deeply grateful to have been reminded (albeit brutally) that I need to stay awake to, and avoid, these two characters in my psyche.
Within a few days after returning home from the hospital, I began physiotherapy. One of the first things my physiotherapist focused on, was to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, also known as the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles. Interestingly, I have periodically integrated PC muscle strengthening exercises into my work over many years because doing so is known to assist in the lifting of sexual energy, inside the body, to upper levels of consciousness. So now I not only have the opportunity to increase that ability, but I must increase that ability as I progressively work toward healing the spinal injury. The Source of Love is relentless as It guides me upward on my spiritual journey. And for that I’m so grateful.
When I felt able enough, I returned to my fitness center for a workout. I had stopped taking any painkillers by that time, so I was intensely aware of when I began to overwork. Of course, I performed far fewer repetitions with much less weight, and some machines I avoided altogether. But one thing was for sure: instead of just counting reps and pushing forward to the end, I found myself listening to my body far more than usual. So now when I’m at the gym–and even when not–I am increasingly mindful of maintaining a balanced mixture of good ole hard work, and self care.
Sometimes, we all might need a firm smack with the “stick of the Zen master”, for our greater growth. According to Zen Buddhist tradition, the initial shock is meant to empty the mind of conceptual thinking. Only then are we able to perceive and experience the gifts of divine Love. Metaphorically, this is exactly how I have chosen to look at my mountain-biking incident and all its residual effects, of which the earlier mentioned examples are only a few.
In fact, I choose to believe that: “Everything that happens is exactly what I need to experience, for my greatest growth.” Yes; EVERYthing, whether big or small, hard or soft, difficult or easy, and anything in between. But please don’t misunderstand. The point of adopting such a belief has nothing to do with whether or not that statement is true or false. And I suggest that you don’t waste your time trying to prove or disprove it.
The point of such a belief is to affect the believer’s brain activity and blood chemistry, so that he or she will be more likely to deal constructively with whatever events might actually occur. Science now tells us that when we practice thoughts that arouse positive emotions such as gratitude, a series of physiological events occur that cause us to respond to life’s challenges with love and care, rather than overreacting with fear and anger. “Shit happens”, as they say. And when it does, our work together is not about proving that it happened for a good reason. It’s about having a good reason to find things to be grateful for, in the wake of its occurrence.
It is exactly this system of values that has helped to strengthen my relationship to the Source of Love and to develop the deep trust and faith I have in It. Over time, I continue to feel safer, unconditionally loved and more deeply cared for. You might ask what good that is, in the cold and cruel world we live in? When I feel safe within myself, then those in my presence tend to also feel safe. I am not seen by them as a threat because they unconsciously sense that I am self-contained; not needing to dominate and not wanting to get something from them. That enables them to relax and perceive me more as a potential ally. In that moment, the world becomes a friendlier, happier and safer place for everyone.