The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 63: Mental Health

2

August 2, 2020-

It turns out that the individual who torched the Arizona Democratic Headquarters, over a week ago, is mentally ill. Republicans, and others, who read only the part about his being a member of the Democratic Party are, predictably, chortling about how this just goes to show that it’s a big farce, orchestrated to bring down President Trump-because, hey, what else is there in the world?

The individual is mentally ill. I know, firsthand, how that feels. Everything is about “MEEE”. Imagined slights take on a reality that knows no bounds. Good people become viewed as monsters-for any number of reasons-most of which are contrived by a mind in pain. So, it came about, that an individual acted to destroy that which he deemed inperfect, and, thus, expendable.

There were all those times, in my distant past, and in more recent years, when autism led to the bouts of self-centeredness, mild delusion and not a little paranoia. It took a good deal of self-work to separate my mother’s high bar of expectations, itself grounded in love, from the blistering criticisms of some of my peers, who left no room for error-or in a few instances, even humanness. Through meditation, correcting my diet, my wife’s love, and adoption of a Faith that actually lived the love prescribed by Jesus the Christ, but ignored by so many of His followers, I achieved a sense of equilibrium.

There have been relapses, and setbacks, mostly in times of high stress. There are those who were present during those times-and who remember, all too well, how things went down. I am grateful that forgiveness, and securing my word that such behaviours will not be repeated, were their responses.

Conversely, I have striven, when confronted with other mentally-ill people, to do right by them. In one case, the person was able to get a leg up and straighten out his life. In two other cases, that was not the result, as of the last time I heard from either one. I felt the need to cut one loose, for personal safety reasons and the other, because of an increasing stridency and level of verbal harassment on his part.

It’s taken time to begin to overcome the tension I have felt, when seeing a small, older model of RV driving around or when starting up my phone, and getting more than one Instant Messenger “ping”. Realizing that these are left-over post-traumatic reactions has helped greatly.

I am ever grateful to all who have, either consciously or unconsciously, helped me put my own demons to bed. In all this time of relative aloneness, I have been able to soothe those ills, and make myself a far more useful person, amenable to this comforting society around me.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 54: Cumulosity

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July 24, 2020-

For days, this week, thick cumulus clouds have circled around our town, dropping some precipitation on outlying areas, but skipping Prescott and the other towns closest to us.

While I was occupied with a Zoom session on whale songs and meditation, I sensed that the whales aimed to give the Prescott area a good soaking. Whether there was a cetacean connection or not, we got soaked this afternoon, and as I write this, we’re getting soaked again.

There is a lot that is genuinely monsoonal, in the summer rains that usually bless the Southwest. There was some concern, with climate change, that the rains would be a thing of the past. That is not true, so far this year, though. The storms we’ve had have been doozies and have not been spaced as far apart, as they were in the past five years.

It set me to thinking, in the decades and centuries to come, perhaps the technology will become available to naturally seed rain clouds and/ or to have continent-wide canals that will move water from areas where it is in danger of causing regular seasonal floods, to areas constantly beset by drought.

Pipe dreams, I know, but as COVID concerns and the rain keep me in my cozy Home Base, it’s fun to dream big.

Knife’s Edge

6

January 26, 2020-

I don’t have to live for adventure.  It finds me, in large and small ways-both close by and farther afield, nearly every day.  It’s likely that this happens because of my tendency, albeit fairly recent, to focus on what’s around me with intensity and alacrity.  The spiritual discussion we had this morning, for example, opened my mind to a much wider view of what constitutes meditation.  As many messages from my spirit guides come during intense meditation, it’ll be interesting to see which messages arise from some of the avenues that were suggested by participants in the group.

Jordan Peterson, in discussing the presence of hierarchy and of laws, in human society, points out that, with all the potential perils and thousands of stimuli that we face each day, multiplied over the lifespan of the human race, it would have been well nigh impossible for humanity to have achieved anything close to what we see in our historical-and “pre-historical” record, let alone what exists today, through human ingenuity, without some sort of organization.  It’s worth noting that most species of animals have some sort of hierarchy.

Life has, indeed, many aspects that play out on a knife’s edge, so to speak.  Just in my small sphere of existence- there is a 69-year-old body, that has remained quite healthy, give or take a few dental issues, some staph infections on my skin and a couple of joint inflammations, which have gone away, with treatment; there is my well-maintained car, which is likely to see me through local driving-and a long journey around North America, this summer-and more local driving next autumn, through winter.  My cars, when not the object of tampering, or abuse prior to my ownership, have lasted a very long time.  My work history has certainly played out, on a knife’s edge.  Each experience, though, has taught me a myriad life lessons-ditto, for my friendships, and other encounters.

So, the large and the small of it will likely long continue-relatively speaking.  20-30 years, if I have left what some have told me I have, is relatively short, but a lot can be packed into it.

 

 

Twelve Cypresses

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October 13, 2019, Arcosanti-

The account of last week’s travels has been pre-empted by revelations that came, duirng a meditation session, this afternoon.

Twelve cypress trees grace the outside of the Vaults.

As I lay in meditation,

gazing upward,

towards their midst,

the middle tree was swaying.

Responding to the breeze,

to the intonation

of a meditation master’s

spoken word,

to the positive thoughts

of those in the circle below.

Soon, the trees on either side

of the intrepid conifer

were swaying,

in unison with their peer.

Soon, I was chanting

in unison with the rest of the circle.

We brought the feeling,

the awareness,

to each of our body’s parts.

The trees brought the sense

that a change was taking place.

in the air,

in the sensitivity,

of those gathered

at their feet.

Those who were friendly

last year,

are somewhat less so.

Others have taken their places.

The twelve cypresses

tell those who are listening,

and watching,

that there is power

in proximity,

even while there is strength

in a short distance.

There is power in unified action,

but uniformity

of behaviour

can detract,

from community.

Those who led me to

a positive sense of self

are moving away.

Those  who are with me now,

are the beings

who will be at my side

for a  stage of growth

which I am only beginning

to understand.

The twelve cypresses

make clear,

that the flexible

yet firm

will endure.

 

 

 

 

Reflections By A Small Pond

8

June 24, 2019, Crossville, TN-

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I have had a good long while, both in the company of my friends here and when alone, to ponder my relationships, my reactions to things that have come my way and my sense of how the course of civilization is moving.

I am in a steady state right mow, a bit tired, but still lucid.  I look at this pond, and see a solid ring of vegetation around it.  I see a goodly number of several species of birds.  That means the insects, seeds and nuts are prolific.  There was a Great Blue Heron that flew by the window, about an hour ago (It’s 8 a.m., CDT).  There don’t seem to be any deer around, this year, and only a few coyotes have been spotted.

These things tell me that the land is calling for quiet.  My friends can be quite vociferous, inside the house, but are calm and at one with the environment, when outside-other than running a lawnmower, once a week or so.  There are runoff issues that need to be addressed-by the wider community. Readers know my position on this:  I used no chemical sprays at my Phoenix and Prescott house and refrained from using them when I was maintaining the grounds at the apartment, as well.

I don’t throw noxious substances at my friendships, either. I feel it is best to go with the flow, almost as if I were water.  It is also a good idea to put oneself slightly behind others, in terms of meeting needs.  This has meant devoting more energy to friendships, which makes some people uncomfortable-“Why are you so concerned about ME?”  On the other hand, there are those whose interests in friendship are strictly financial assistance or 24/7 involvement. I feel for such people, but I haven’t that sort of energy, nor do I have unlimited resources.

I have said, recently, that I am single by choice, these past eight years.  That’s just where I am, emotionally, psychologically and aesthetically.  I won’t apologize for it. Just know that I am more able to do what my spirit guides tell me, in meditation and reflection, without taking on the day-to-day needs of one specific person, or another.

That said, this place could very easily, with the consent of the friends here, be my place of refuge.   I would do my share, and then some-but that’s all down the road a piece.  There is someone, not that far from here, who could easily be a person of interest to me, so to speak.  That would also be a few years hence.  My little family’s needs are also, as I keep saying, a major factor.

I have had some vivid and somewhat unsettling dreams of late, which I will describe in a few posts form now, as they have specific contexts.  Until then, the road will once again unfold, in a few hours.

NEXT:  Where Chattanooga’s Choo Choo Won’t Go

 

 

 

 

Days of Heaven

0

 

June 2, 2019, Bellemont-

The past few days have seen confirmation of my path, this summer.   The last minute invitation to an event by Global Stilt Alliance, entitled Congress: The Legislation, brought me to Arcosanti, normally a place I visit in Autumn, on Friday evening.

A performance of young stilt artists, accented by two spoken word performers, drove home the point that we need to move beyond solving our problems through separation and the building of walls.

Yesterday, I felt the sadness of some who have bonded deeply with me, when it was time to let my friends at the Farmer’s Market know I would not be back there until August 3. This gave me another perspective on the occasional objections to my wanderings, from some of my fellows in Faith.

Saturday evening, though, did accomplish the laying of a foundation for regular meetings of a group of spiritual tutors.  We had a fruitful discussion and sharing of expectations and concerns for the practice of our tutoring activities.

Today, I was greatly pleased to see a young Navy veteran join our breakfast group, at American Legion Post 6.  The perspectives and ideas of the newest generation of military veterans are long overdue for inclusion in service organizations.

This afternoon and evening, I spent the first of several days at this Baha’i retreat property, west of Flagstaff.  Clearing brush from the area took about ninety minutes.  Then came an evening of quiet reflection and meditation.  Arriving at a more present state of mind is one of the sweetest results of the relative isolation I enjoy this evening.  Thinking over a couple of minor faux pas, which occurred yesterday evening and this night, during routine dinner outings, I see things more form the perspective of those inconvenienced.  The solution lies in my own heightened awareness, even when somewhat fatigued.

Seven of the next eight days will be spent preparing for, and assisting with, a camp for middle school-aged youth.  I look forward to continuing my own reflections and meditation during this time, as well.

Whose Laws?

11

May 30, 2019-

I am a law-abiding citizen.

When it comes to the laws of the land,

in which I live,

or the land in which I find myself,

I am very much in synchronicity.

I am a God-fearing soul.

When it comes to the Laws of God,

I am obedient, for therein

lies my safety.

I am connected,

to the messages

of my spirit guides.

When what they tell  me

conflicts with the opinions

of those telling me

to stay put,

lest I be seen as

unwilling to sacrifice,

I go with the spirit guides.

They’ve not failed me.

Last year, my angels

told me to leave the city.

Someone else wanted me

to visit a shrine.

I sought to visit the shrine.

I was robbed.

The angels sighed,

and stayed with me,

bringing friends who

comforted me and

skilled craftsmen,

who repaired the damage.

This year, my guides say

“Go serve, at the beginning

and at the end,

of this summer’s path.

Then, go forward

and be with some of those

who love you,

in other parts

of the nation.”

A voice of discontent

says “Sacrifice your wanderlust.

Stay put!”

My soul knows that

I will be of intense service

here,

when autumn comes,

when winter returns,

when another spring beckons.

For now, in summer,

I belong to the wider country.

There is more sacrifice in this,

than the person

who sees time

on the road,

as a mere break

in the routine,

can ever know.

 

 

 

Another New Dawn

15

March 22, 2018, Prescott-

I got up well before sunrise, as usual, and went about the routine, except that coffee and breakfast waited until after my annual lab work for next Friday’s physical.  I was first in line, so that was an in/out process.

I did something else, with assurance from my spirit guides.  On what would have been my very frugal father’s 91st birthday, I tore up all correspondence from a sweepstakes company and tossed a few other pitches for money that I just don’t have to spare for them.  Dad always honoured his commitments and his obligations, and I walk, as best I can, in his footsteps.  I am assured that all else will follow, as needed.

It was another moment when I got a nice message from a good-hearted new online friend, and pondered my commitments for the rest of this month.  Meditation told me, once again, that my choices are just that, my own.  Nothing can really be imposed on us, except to pass on, when that day comes.

This dawn brought heavy cloud cover to us in Arizona, heavy rains to southern California and yet another heavy snowfall to the Northeast.  Punxsutawney Phil is rolling on the ground, laughing, with his little trick; the groundhog lied.

The Fast: Day 5- Patience

4

March 6, 2018,Prescott-

The realm can try and exhaust, one’s patience.

In times of light and darkness, though, patience

is exactly what must be summoned.

Some young ones push their elders,

and one another, to the limit.

Others are pushed to their limits,

by their elders.

What does one do,

on a day of fasting,

when challenges are tossed about,

like water balloons?

It becomes meditation time,

reflection upon the whims and fancies

of his own youth.

Seeing the way forward

to be one of forbearance,

he returns from the meditation time,

that supplants lunch during the Fast,

and vows to neither be tested

by others or be a test to them.

Embered Waves of Brain

11

March 12, 2016, Prescott-   I have often wondered why my mildly autistic brain will start crackling and popping, often at the worst of times.  It is usually when I figure myself to be alone, and not accountable to anyone else.  I never am alone, in such circumstances.  There is always an outlier, or two, around, to observe, and shake their heads.  Because of them, I have a better awareness of my surroundings, and control over my thoughts and attendant behaviour.

Baha’u’llah teaches to not be the cause of sorrow to any soul, nor to be the plaything of the foolish.  We are, essentially, to be good in groups, and seek the unity of the human race.  The basis for all this is scientific, as well as social.  So, when reading, today, of the types of brain waves that human beings experience, a lot more made sense to me- about my own behaviour, and that of anyone else.  My thanks to Dr. Joe Dispenza,  (Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself) for the refresher on this topic, which I first learned, in 1974, from Dr. Saul Balagura, at the University of Massachusetts.

It goes like this:

Delta waves-These are the lowest frequency brain waves, occurring in infants and those in deep sleep.  They are also the default waves of one who is in deep meditation.  I’ve had a few people in my life who would swear, on a stack of Holy Books, that I am in permanent Delta mode.

Theta waves- These are found in toddlers and people who are in a hypnotic state. When one is drowsy, neither totally awake nor asleep, Theta waves are in control.

Alpha waves- Children between ages 5-8 experience these waves.  So do adults and youth who are in a light meditative state.  One is concerned primarily, in this state, with the inner reality.  I often lose track of where my car is, in a large parking lot, if I go into Alpha mode, when headed for the building without making note of my location.

Beta waves- These are the waves that are most commonly experienced by “tweens”, teens and adults.  You guessed it, there are three levels of Beta.  People with high level Beta waves are spring-loaded, tense, in a hair-trigger mode.  There is intense analysis of even the most mundane of events.  It is exhausting to be in constant High Beta mode.

Gamma waves-  These are the highest frequency brain waves, limited to Scarlett Johansson’s character, in the film, Lucy Jim Carrey’s character, in Bruce Almighty, and those who use hallucinogenic substances.  Gamma people are at the highest level of sensory awareness, which is likely not maintainable for any appreciable length of time.

My interest in this area stems from both a desire to better understand my own occasional lapses and to use brain waves to formulate deeper behavioural change, which I am told is possible, with proper meditation.