Spiritual Blessings I

It is a warm, late afternoon on a Friday.  Outside of an acupuncturist’s office, I happen upon one of my favorite, former yoga students as I approach the building.  She is a woman whom I respect and admire because of the intense commitment she brought each and everytime to her yoga practice.

Initially, when we first see each other across the parking lot, we both light up with recognition; and, then, I watch as her face transforms itself before me into a site of pinched grief and worry.

When I am within range of her hearing, I ask her, “How are you doing?  Are you unwell?”


“It is not me,” she answers.  “I gave my husband, Paul, a ride into see the acupuncturist.  He has been battling cancer for eight months now.  He is down to one-hundred-thirty pounds,” she speaks quickly and with profound concern.

“Oh, my,” I answer with nothing better to say.  “May I ask what kind?”

There is a slight pause.  “Yes.  They think it started in his kidneys.  He thinks he can beat it, but they keep giving him too much radiation.  He does not have enough time to recover between treatments.  At least that is what he feels is happening.  But, the doctors won’t listen.”

“I see.  Hence, you’re seeing an acupuncturist?” I ask.

At this point, Paul emerges from the acupuncturist’s building, beginning his slow approach toward us.  Typically a full-bodied man, he seems a ghost of his former self.  He has also studied yoga with me.

With Paul’s arrival, a few more sentences pass between us about some of the health places I have visited.  At a break in the conversation, Paul reiterates his concerns about his health in a matter-of-fact and downcast way.

Then, out of my mouth and with a socially uncomfortable degree of loudness and formal conviction, I hear myself say, “You will not die.  No matter what they tell you, you will not die.”

At this point, my second-sight kicks in, and I observe Paul as he shifts energetic gears, straightens his lean frame and organizes his Light around his physical body.  He is glowing brightly now.

“That’s what I keep trying to tell them,” he says with renewed hope and vocal resolve.

After handing off some additional information, we part company. Darshan, a blessing of life, has been granted.

Spirituality: Riding the Wave

At ten o’clock at night, the music above our heads seems only to be growing louder.  My husband and I, both early risers, are tucked in for the night, while our neighbor upstairs, a late sleeper, has cranked up the volume on a classic-rock radio station.  He is celebrating the electrifying nature of life and the late night a little bit longer.

“Do you want to go upstairs and say something?” I ask across the steady beat and hum of a solid bass line, which is the only audible part of the music, driving itself into our sleep space.

“Not really,”  my husband answers grumpily.


“I don’t want to ruin his evening,” I explain my glued-to-the-bed immobility, knowing our upstairs neighbor has trouble holding and enjoying his space on the planet.  Our neighbor struggles with clinical depression and, for music to be playing this late, his evening must be rocking along all right.

“Hey, can you guess what is playing?” I ask my husband, changing the focus of the conversation.

“Give me a minute,” he shifts gears mentally, from considering his personal discomfort to listening to the music’s bass line more closely.  “‘Black Dog’–Led Zeppelin.”

The song finishes and another comes on.  We play this game for another half-hour, not wanting to walk upstairs to crsuh our neighbor’s Spirit.  And, in the process, we learn something.  The most melodic bass lines create the most memorable songs–even if a band’s name eludes us, the music is memorable and a song will stand on its own with a rhythmically and melodically well constructed bass line.

Eventually, the music’s volume goes way down and, a little later, the music is turned off.  The whole experience makes me wonder whether or not I have been focusing too much on what I consider the “melody” of my life, when it is the bass line–life’s small daily habits–that matter most.