I’m just a soul whose intentions are good Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Having quite a time with the human vulgars lately.  Define vulgar?  Sure.   Went to the dictionary.  Meaning: of or relating to the common people (and most especially these types):  morally crude, undeveloped, lacking sophistication or good taste; unrefined.  Gawd, drawing in weird stuff and humans lately–had to find a name.  Recent example.  I am walking at a city park that has a walk/jog trail, baseball diamonds, playgrounds and lots and lots of trees.

Right you are! Its the trail with the trees that attracted me.  The schools were still in session so all the kids were elsewhere and this being a beautiful and quiet day with a cool breeze, it was my choice for a walk with the trees.  Forty minutes later, still quiet, I found myself a tree on a little hill not far from the car park and sat to meditate.  I was still listening to my mp3 player, actually Lord of the Rings Album playing to block out any accidental noisy situations that should come upon me.  Sitting in half lotus with hands in my lap — what’s the problem, right?

T’was lovely.  For about 10 minutes, going deeper and deeper into meditation.  Then a car pulls up across the way and a woman gets out and lights a cigarette and looks over at me.  Huh? I think to the Universe, Are you kidding me?  It took my attention but no matter– ignoring the situation, I looked up at the clear blue sky and various fall colored maple leaves and found the mind considering how to paint them.  Next thing I realize the car was gone so returned to my deep inner space.  Not long after there comes a police car right in front of my location and there went my attention again. I look up and the cop is talking to me. Huh?

I take out my earbuds and say What? and he asks if I am Okay.

Huh?  For buddha’s sake!  WTF? So I say, Yes; I’m just meditating, is that okay?

Yeah, well okay. I was doing my own personal “sit in” not wanting to return to the Human Vulgars of the apartment building where this body (and the rest of me) currently resides. But alone under a tree just sitting there . . .  and I think can I be arrested for this? 

He tells me that someone reported to him that I was just staring off into space.

Dang, since when was this something to report to the police?  I do it all the time!  hahaha

Experiences like that and so many more around this human/dog city life make me miss the mountains enough to have a really good cry.  Maybe I will.

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good

Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Writing, Painting, Creativity, Intention and Happiness

Hello, Greetings, Namaste!

Has it been eons since I’ve posted on this blog?  Yes, it is so but here I am today in a mood to write and have set a Pomodoro timer to put out some thoughts and words here for 25 minutes.   I’ve been attending a writing group in the community where I live and we are encouraged with a brief writing prompt to write for a timed period of time and then share what we’ve written.  We are not to correct our grammar or cross any words out but to just keep writing.  In other words, no editing or no editor.  That’s how I’m writing this blog too.  You will probably realize if you haven’t already that there’s been no editing. Writing in a group of others seems to up the anty a bit especially if you know you will be asked, as we round the table if you wish to read what you wrote or to pass.  It’s a jolly good group and we do have fun with our writing prompts.  It’s amazing what comes out of our individual and collective heads.

I’ve had book ideas floating around in my head for years and recently the leader of our group gave us an outline to follow and I’ve just started to use it and found that I’m writing a book that would include survival following a large and fast-moving CME from the Sun which knocks out power and essentially levels the playing field with regard to physical endurance, stamina, and patience.  I’ve not fully worked it all out but its a wee start of something that may completely change or alter dramatically but at least a start.

I think that my artwork helps too in that lately this has been another level of meditation and concentration for me — call it “samadhi” if you know the word’s meaning but you probably get the idea.  I am typing just what flows out of my head and keyboard right at the moment with 15 more minutes of this writing practice.

Another aspect of my life that I’d mention here since I’m sort of free-flowing letting my mind just spew it out happens to involve requisites for happiness and how to take a deeper look at that.  In other words, conditions that we believe we must have first in order to feel happy.  Why must there be conditions for happiness at all?  So this takes me back to the basic core Buddhist teachings that I hold or try to hold near and dear.

Yes, I forget at times just like even highly respected Buddhist teachers and monks admit doing, when getting pulled into the drama of life or the reactionary responses and then not remembering how I intend to live.  I’ve taken to repeating that intention to myself at the start of each day before getting out of bed and believe that this helps.

But back to the conditions for happiness or what conditions that I think I need to remain in this state — I’m looking at that and observing it in others.  Maybe idea this will be something that I work into a book that I want to write woven in with the result of what happens when people do not have any conditions that they are used to do to huge disruptions in their way of life.

Maybe it is going to be a dystopian themed book.  Who knows.  And as I even type here about my writing a book that critical part of my mind is kicking up and laughing at the idea.   Just how many times have you said you were going to write a book anyway?  huh? 

Yeah, I can feel a bit like a fraud if I contemplate that.  When one has a goal or makes the self a promise and then fails to reach the goal or keep the promise it can be . . . let’s just say challenging.

What’s life without a good challenge or two?  Well, there’s only one minute left on the Pomodoro timer and this 25-minute writing in which I’m just letting it flow is about done flowing.

Just a final thought — using creative activities (painting or writing, etc.) and exercise (weight lifting at the gym) can help develop one-pointed concentration (samadhi) like deep meditative states.  Same diff to a great degree.

Time’s up! Have a great day!

Seeing Your Mind in Meditation

We see our own mind in meditation—at least potentially.  That is if we can get past emotional debris.  Virtue or said another way, a recent unkind, impure heart limits or inhibits clarity.  The mind becomes, in effect, dirty and dull if one has been angry or self-centered.  Attachment to particular desires or having a greedy mind creates potential blockages that prevent feelings of bliss and beauty in meditation.

It is said by meditation teachers that when we meditate we see images of one’s own mind just as we see our image when we look in a mirror.  The truest image of mind occurs when there is stillness in the heart.  I don’t know about you but for me, this stillness and calmness happen when feeling most at peace with life – not resisting whatever experience occurs and most especially when feeling kindness and having good will toward others.  Most of all, feeling good will toward those who challenge my ability to maintain the highest virtues, our highest ideals.

The physically enforced retreat has been the name of the game for this past week in my personal experience.   Always, it is in divine order and for a higher purpose—or this is the way I choose to view it.  Right, so basically, even though I had the flu shot and haven’t had even a slight cold for years, chills, head, and chest congestion arrived in my life.  A meditative retreat is how it has been processed which enabled the mind to heart to be clear and deep meditative bliss and beauty enhanced.

When one is able to look directly at one’s own mind in this way, it becomes clear what needs to change in one’s daily life.  Speaking only kindly, practicing generosity and good will toward others and in other words walking the world with a pure heart being kind and gentle toward one’s self and others.

I have always known this (and taught it in the psychic development course) that virtue is an essential ingredient for success in receiving insight and guidance in meditation.

When one is able to see directly into one’s own mind—beautiful light and blissful states blossom.

This past week of retreat has been a reminder that a beautifully peaceful life enables a beautiful mind and easily successful meditations.

The Body Intelligence

The body intelligence is the name of this bit of writing; best that could be for the moment, this day and time.  Anyway . . .

The flu!  The wretched thing!  Seems a few years now since even a head cold entered my bodily private domain.  Yet, it gives time for writing, contemplating and if my energy holds up later maybe even painting (pastel artwork).  Sometimes, however, it can be good to practice death. No, this isn’t me being overly dramatic—just listen a moment.  You can’t turn from it even though you would rather not be anywhere in its shadows, yet inevitably the body will shut down sense organs one after another.  NO wait, don’t stop reading.  Because oh, but what a gift close encounters, even if they are not our very own (family, friend or foe who may be sick or in a phase of transition—but no, let’s say the really scary word, death!) . . . like I was saying, any encounter with the endpoint from any distance offers us a gift if we keep our eyes open!  What gift?  Embracing the opposite of course – Life!  A deeper and more joyful appreciation of good health and the ability to do something, anything, which comes from our ‘creative-will’ our personal expression of ‘life’ – even if that is only a pleasant conversation with another.  Any expression of being alive on any level that is possible can potentially become a truly joyous event.

The local hospital has accepted me as a volunteer and promoted me to be the top person for patient relations.  The job is not as impressive as the title may sound.   Actually,  it only involves offering a smile, a hello and passing out a card from the auxiliary and offering magazines, newspapers, crossword puzzles and the like.

Yesterday here at home, life played out with chills and fever next to a pile of Kleenex feeling as if my throat was on fire was another glimpse, another close encounter – another good practice for the last page in the last chapter of this life as I know it to be now.  And my thoughts wandered to the hospital patients as it does now writing this.

And, of course, as one could expect, with fever back to normal today, am gifted with a deeper appreciation of life and the ability to affect the lives of others and my own in a positive way.  To create, to play, to appreciate, to breathe life into this body deeply and with more gratitude for the vehicle that enables my stay here upon the good earth.

People who know me or follow my posts are familiar with the mention of the history of losing consciousness; yep, I’m one of those “fainters”.  Physical or emotional overwhelm and out I go!  I realize how this is like a mini-death of sorts and one of the last times (in the hospital ER with an acute bladder infection), there was this awesomely peaceful kind of limbo state, vast and not-empty but full somehow.  No words can describe it.  Voices were calling me back into this world and I did not wish to return.  On another occasion, when I lost consciousness due to a gall bladder issue, a “code” was called because I could not be revived after losing consciousness.  That time, however, I didn’t recall the blissful openness and fullness as the time before.  My point here?  Forgive this writer still under the influence of Nyquil cold and flu medicine.  Well, I guess, my purpose in writing this has to do with me being grateful for these moments in which the body and I get to practice our final act.  Meanwhile, there is a turning toward life with eyes of gratitude.

One final thing.  It’s floating around in this woozy head and I’d like to try to grab at it the next time if floats by.  Here we go.  It has to do with the shutting down part.  How to say it?  Like yesterday, the focus was deeply inward – the body seemed very busy focusing on itself – dealing with the invader flu.  I guess in the death process (oh, this is how the Tibetans tell it and in the Book of The Living and The Dead), how the various bodily senses begin to shut down.  The body, I’d assume, is very preoccupied doing this – and there’s not much energy for anything in the external world.

Body intelligence is pretty amazing.  Think about it.  The body knows how to keep its balance, digest food, breathe – oh, so many things – without your or me consciously telling it to!  A good thing too, I’d say!  The body knows how to get a spoonful of food into the mouth straight away without us having to give directions—a little to the left, no down a little—in other words, the food doesn’t go into our eye or nose; the body knows what to do without our conscious mind directing.  Recovering from illness or shutting down to go into transition, it’s the same way.  The body and soul know what to do.

No big summary ending.  There’s only me picturing the self in the act of sorting through my pastel colors and placing them in trays according to color and hue.  So off I go with my box of Kleenex and a project to do, celebrating life all the way through!

Nimitta – progress signs of Samadhi Meditation

I am going to post this on each of my website blogs as well as my newsletter.  Why? Some information that recently crossed my path explained many of my meditation experiences of the past and currently as well.  Many students of the psychic development class and those interested in spiritual and psychic/intuitive development may have had similar ‘signs’ of their spiritual progress or evolution.

Before I go into what those are, it’s probably best to offer the disclaimer that if one looks for these signs or tries to manifest them, they will be blocking their energy and possibly delaying further consciousness expansion in some way.  My teachers have always guided me not to get “hung up” on manifestations and to take with a grain of salt.  It is just the natural process of the mind—don’t be overly concerned, they’d say.

If you have read much on my website (www.psychicjoystar.com), you will see that I’ve mentioned mysterious occurrences that came about as part of my meditative absorption over the years.  Those were a total and complete mystery to me until this past week!

The history of experience for this life has always evolved in a way that much later explanations arrive that validate occurrences and I’ve always been grateful for that as it assures me that there was no conscious influence on my part.

As many readers may know, my tendency is to reach toward eastern philosophy my deeply personal effort to understand life, the mind, and of reality itself.  My studies and meditation time have not been in vain and have helped me to cope with some very difficult life circumstances.  Yet, there were always those mysterious events lingering in the memory of my mind.  Up until now, there were not fully explained in any kind of satisfactory way.

Then this past week there comes the information that does so!  I simply must share it.  It will be a brief outline and I will paraphrase some of it while keeping true to the text.  I will add some personal notes in parenthesis.  I hope this will be of use to others.
The signs of meditative concentration are known as “nimitta” and include the following:

  • For beginners, it is usually grey smoke color appearing in front of them.  When this occurs, the instruction is to concentrate on the natural breath; and gradually then, the breath and nimitta will become one.   In this stage the mind usually stays automatically will become one.  (Personal note:  when I would go hiking and be breathing more heavily, I would see more of this grey smoke in front of me.  By the way, it started out looking like black ink in the atmosphere, as if someone dumped a bucket of black ink in the sky.  I could see around it and through it and then gradually it lightened.)
  • As meditative concentration develops further, the gray smoky nimitta will change in color to white.  (This is exactly what happened to me.)  This is given the name of “the learning sign”.  As one continues to concentrate on the learning sign, the white form nimitta will change to a transparent nimitta and this is called “the counterpart sign”.  (I was in Sedona, Arizona atop a mountain at the time this occurred.  That was sometime in the late 1990’s.  I was still working as a Physical Therapist at the time.)  The instruction in the text is that one should concentrate on the transparent nimitta until a state of full absorption is reached.
  • The text says that unless one sees the counterpart sign, the meditative attentiveness or concentration is superficial.  (Again, I did not have any of this information until a few days ago and therefore did not know of the instruction to concentrate on the transparent nimitta.)
  • (In the eastern philosophy, the word used to describe these stages of meditation is called “jhana”.  I did not know that word until this past month actually.  And there is the discussion on audios that I’ve heard about maintaining states of absorption for 2 and 3 hours at a time without interruption.  This I was able to do when living alone in the mountains many times.  Since I’ve moved from the seclusion of the mountains–for approximately the past 6 years—that is rarely the case.)
  • The text says that once a person’s meditation practice is very clear they will, one day, see small particles, called “kalapas”.  When one see’s kalapas, they have reached the last stage of samatha(serenity/calm/tranquility) and the beginning stage of vipassana (insight/seeing things as they really are).   At this stage, one understands reality as small particles.

I must pause here to explain that this next part totally blew me out of my seat, so-to-speak!  I wrote about this on my website eons ago and this occurred, also, in the late 1990’s just before I moved (from Florida) to the mountains of North Carolina.  Here it is nearly 20 years later and it is only now that I understand what all of these experiences were about!  The book in which this information is contained was published in 2008, ten years ago.  Yet, it has taken me nearly all of the past ten years to adjust to the huge transitions in my life and to release a significant karmic relationship connection.  It hasn’t been until recently that my personal journey has directed me back to seek deeper levels of meditation, reaching for Samadhi again.  Anyway, this light, so white and so bright and it occurred when I was meditating on a star in the sky at twilight one evening.  I felt myself moving toward it and then the white brilliant light sort of frightened me.  It was everywhere I looked and lasted a good chunk of time and it faded finally as I looked at a large pine tree.   I’ve never seen it again all these many years.

  • The text says that there is a visual-like nimitta which is ‘the best one’.  (Again, the word nimitta means sign/mark/appearance.)  It is not seen with the physical eye.  It is purely a mental phenomenon.  It appears as if it is like a headlight in front of you, incredibly brilliant, so much so that you don’t think you can stare at it any longer.  (At the time I thought perhaps I drew the star right down in front of me – I’d been staring at a star during meditation at the time.)  This is not a visual thing at all and even though it is like looking at the sun, it is quite safe, because it is a pure metal image—according to the text.

If one tries to have any such experiences as described, the effort actually blocks the meditator’s tranquil absorption.  Actually, I recall trying to stare at a star again at various times in the past and could not reproduce that event –or any other unusual experiences of my past for that matter.
I wanted to put this out today so that it may be helpful to others.  Maybe I will save someone 20 years of wondering and never really knowing what those signs are really about!

The text that I’ve been referring to is called “The Experience of Samadhi” by Richard Shankman  and the specific information at nimitta were from interviews with Pa Auk Sayadaw, the abbot of a Forest Monastery in Burma and Ajahn Brahmavamso, who studied with Venerable Ajahn Chah and is the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery and Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society in Australia.
I am so personally grateful to them for the information shared in the text which has helped me considerably and renewed my meditative effort.

May it be that this information reaches the right person for the right reasons and be of the highest service.


CLICK HERE for complete list of all past newsletters 

Understanding Sati and Samadhi in Meditative Practice

When mindfulness (sati) is continuous, then (samadhi) STABILITY OF MIND will become established–from the teachings of Sayadaw U Tejaniya, a Theravadan Buddhist monk and well-known and highly respected meditation teacher.

Deeper and deeper into the teachings of Buddhism, there is this ‘me’ attempting to walk in the steps of the Buddha.  No, this is not about religion–more about psychology . . . study of the mind.  We all have one but how many of us really observe how the mind works?  How to use the mind in a way that serves the greater good, so-to-speak.  That’s where I’m coming from.

Recently, a new level of understanding and wisdom arrived within my life spectrum, this continuation of consciousness.

Anyone who knows of this ‘me’ probably knows of the difficulty experienced due to moving from places of quiet and solitude for nearly 20 years.  The short version has to do with the difficulty adjusting to suddenly being around noisy humans and family drama.  Moving closer to my daughters has been wonderful in so many ways, but not without the challenges that come along with sudden change.  Here’s what I’m trying to get at . . .

Until my recent study, it wasn’t entirely clear to me that the states of Samadhi established in meditation could be maintained during regular activities of daily living,  outside of a formal meditative state–in other words, off the cushion.  Yet, while living in the mountains many times was there in a stable mind-state without knowing it.   I’ll explain more in a moment.  Additionally, in recent days my study has uncovered another real eye-opener. And that has to do with percentages of attachment equaling the same percentage of aversion.  Here’s what that means . . .

The attachment that has been present to a personal desire and preference for silence has been way too strong or large.  As a result, the aversion or anger to it’s opposite (loud neighbors) has been equally as strong.  It goes back to the basic core phrase we always hear, “Accepting what ‘is'”.  It’s not so easy to accept anything as it is when you have a high percentage of attachment to its opposite.

Of course, there are other factors that filter into the equation of imbecile aversion which include a high level of sensitivity that comes along with open awareness.  Making peace with it while maintaining a stable mind is my continual challenge and the area of focused work in this life.

When living in the mountains, days on end of samadhi, stable mind, occurred — it was as if living in my own hermitage or retreat center.   It is only now that the realization comes that when the mind was pulled into worry about finances or when going into town and mingling with humans that the state dissolved and aversions and defilements arose within the mind. I didn’t think of it as samadhi at the time.  My personal definition of that word involved deep stillness (not necessarily awareness) in which there was no awareness of a self at all.  A new or an additional understanding of the word is the stability of mind, maintained over long periods of time toward the goal of having a stable mind indefinitely or at all times.  That’s the goal.  Frankly, some days it has felt impossible but it always comes down to this moment here now . . .  being aware, mindful or aware of what the mind is doing this very moment.  Being fully in it and observing what the mind and body are doing or the reactions–watching those.

Watching the mind can be a real sport if one’s heart is into it.  Stop a moment and ask yourself, Am I aware?” 

The answer is always Yes, don’t you see?  You will find that there is always that overseer called awareness.  How deep is the awareness?  Is it superficial or is there recognition and acknowledgment of thinking whenever it arises. Is there recognition of sound, feeling (all of the senses) whether pleasant or unpleasant as those arise?  Can you remember in the midst of any aversion that begins to arise that it is only nature happening and not personal?  Neither are your reactions–that’s just nature happening too.

These are just a few of my personal thoughts and experiences on these subjects for any reader’s discernment or consideration.  

Meditation Haiku Poem Present Moment Practice

I’ve been watching an HBO show that’s been on AMAZON PRIME.  I view it on my TV set using my ROKU device.  It’s called IN TREATMENT.  In the moment of a recent episode, the shrink asked the young man, “What are you thinking?”  The youth replied, “White noise”.

I had to laugh at that one.  The laughter of recognition I suppose.  My own mind registered that.  Not thinking anything really.  Yet not being mindful either.  I ‘m most aware of that white noise when the decision is made to write.  Like now.  It’s a rain filled, raw, cold day here in North Carolina.  Write, I said.

All levels of me self-agreed to write something.  A blog.  Here I am.  What have I got? White noise just like the kid on the program.

Lately, I’ve thought to try my hand at writing short little Japanese Mindfulness Poems called Haiku which are Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.  Cutting written language, relatable to anyone and maybe paradoxical in some way.

Sounds easy.  Not so much.  You’d think the white noise would help but the instant that pressure is felt to come up with even one word, the mind is suddenly filled with nonsense and resistance. No no, not always, listen . . .

I really like the idea of clipping out a moment that is a pure now moment – a reflection of whatever catches the attention of the psyche.

The other day I sat down on the sidewalk in front of my apartment to experience a moment or two of sunshine.  Looking down at the ground before me, there is one pear tree flower all by itself in the dirt–alone and separated from the tree and other flowers on the branch from which it blossomed.

What struck me is that even though it was alone there, its center filaments seemed to still be reaching up toward the sun, the light.

Spring flower in dirt

Alone, apart from its branch, tree

Looks up to the light

My Haiku poem.  Is it legit?  Well, I guess they’re not really required to rhyme to qualify.  Here are a few from one of the supposed greatest Haiku Poets, Basho:

An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

Autumn moonlight—
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.

In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus –
A lovely sunset.

The translations from Japanese to English do not follow the 5, 7, 5 syllable rule.   Anyway, none of those rhyme but they do describe the moment in time, a now.  Seems a good use of spare time to use Haiku poem writing endeavors to help a person remain aware of their now, mindfulness.  I guess you know what I mean, reader, right?

The small flower all alone there just seemed to say to me, “Look, I know that I no longer am connected to the life force upon the earth that sustained me (the tree) and I’m aware that I will soon just become the earth itself, whithering away here.  And I know my family of flowers on the branch above me–they are all looking down upon me aware of my fate, but I can still be nourished by the light, the sun.  The filaments, the anther, the stamen of me are still reaching up to the light even in my death here and in my departure, the ground here before you where I lay is bringing you some joy and beauty before I disappear completely. ” Looking at the singular flower was my meditation.

After writing those last words my head turned toward the window where I see the tree with all their beautiful white blossoms knowing that soon they will all fall upon the ground as the green leaves push them off their branches.  They too will end up in the dirt and on the sidewalk.  But they will return next spring to do it all again.  There is no death, only transition into yet another phase.

 

 

SENSITIVE TYPES and MRI’s:  SHAKE RATTLE N’ ROLL 

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I hadda’ MRI
I’m all shook up!

Well, please don’t ask me what’sa on my mind
I’m a little mixed up, but I’m feelin’ fine

I hadda’ MRI
I’m all shook up!

(If you have been around a while, like me, you are familiar with those song lyrics!)

OH, DON’T GET ME WRONG; THERE ARE REAL ADVANTAGES AND I WANTED THE MRI PERFORMED.  This post is about something personal–fair warning.  But if you are sensitive to energy and to your own body, and if you need an MRI, maybe something here will be, in a small way, useful.

I hadn’t really considered any side effects of an MRI.  They are minimal in the grand scheme of things, I suppose; yet, consider the subject to be worthy of a write-up.   So, here goes . . .

It wasn’t until later in the day (yesterday)  when alone that . . .  well, that the “out of sorts” feeling was clear.  It was evident that something was energetically wrong and of course, I knew why.  The MRI naturally.

It was subtle, but I am sensitive, a psychic.   My own body’s natural electromagnetic field, especially in the area of my neck and brain (cervical scan) were rocked and rolled yesterday–and shook every which way but lose.

Which is, apparently, the method behind the MRI madness in the first place… the body’s own magnetic energy field gets confused and sends out a signal of some-such that the MRI machine picks up the confused atoms as images. I think something close to that goes on anyway.

Here’s a Google blurb about the science behind what happens:

How does an MRI scan work?
The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient. The magnetic field, along with radio waves, alters the hydrogen atoms’ natural alignment in the body. Pulses of radio waves sent from a scanner knock the nuclei in your atoms out of their normal position. As the nuclei realign back into proper position, the nuclei send out radio signals. These signals are received by a computer that analyzes and converts them into a two-dimensional (2D) image of the body structure or organ being examined.

All I know is that last evening after the scan… there was the re-living the whole MRI, banging sounds included. Like someone who re-lives a trauma–like an auto accident or a similar disturbing event.  I was surprised by the flashbacks of the whole thing; truly.  After a bit of momentary disorientation on the table just after coming out, then I thought, “Okay, Done deal.  It’s over.  Moving right along with my life now….”   

Yet, the residual feeling experienced as the day wore on was one that would be expected if someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and shook the heck outa’ me.  I distracted myself with TV and then reading.  I had some trouble pulling my energy together for any kind of quality meditation and felt too wiped out to do any yoga.

I found myself snacking late into the night in a misguided way to restore order. That’s my old pattern!   The first sign of a problem, find something to eat.  Fell right into that one.

This morning I still feel somewhat shaken–similar to the feeling of when first set free from the MRI coffin-like machine.  Oh, was I glad to be let out of there!

Alright. Facts.  My body has been bending, lifting, turning and twisting for 70 years now.  Nothing lasts forever.  Impermanence:  a fact of life.  Degeneration of the cervical spine can cause radiating pain, numbness, weakness in shoulders, arm, and hand –my symptoms exactly.   Nothing lasts forever, especially the human body. Decades of bending, lifting, turning, and twisting can really take their toll on your neck and in my case cause radiating numbness in shoulders, arm and hand… mostly at night when sleeping, go figure.

How about the MRI’s benefits?  Well,  I got to see the photo images which were given to me on a CD before leaving the hospital outpatient facility.  Uploaded it to my computer to view when I got home and with my minimally medically trained eyes, do see some degeneration of the vertebrae and some disc herniating toward the spinal cord.  Yet, just what the radiologist will make of the images and what the recommendation, if any, will be handed out,  is unclear to me still at this time.   My general intuitive impression is not much can be done and maybe a cervical pillow and new mattress could help too as the symptoms show up when sleeping.

Nighttime numbness (and a bit of pain) increases just as the upper body strength training that I’ve been doing increases the strength in the shoulders and arms.  It’s a rock and hard place kind of scenario.

All in all, feeling shook up for a little while (this too shall pass)  is probably a small price to pay in order to know a few things about my body.  Speaking of shook up, what brought this all to a head (pun intended) was a recent freakish wind event that caused an object to hit me on the side of the head.  Resulting vertigo (another blast from the past so-to-speak) which could have come from an inner ear issue.  Or from something in the neck which is what I hope the MRI will clarify.  Oh, what a tangled web!

My greatest celebratory moments today will be knowing that I can swallow as much as desired.   THAT was difficult to NOT DO except between each of the long scans of the MRI.  Really?  Yeah, the guy said, don’t breathe too deeply.  Okay, got that, no problem.  Then said, don’t swallow until you hear the MRI banging stop.  Huh? Crazy! I did my best.

No more MRI magnet banging issues and go ahead… swallow anytime and all you want, Joy!

Those last words… my happy thoughts for today.

PS  —  My habit is to write things out of my system.  Blogs are so useful for that purpose.  This post has been therapy in that way.  I also wrote it for others who may feel a bit weird after an MRI to know they’re not alone.  I did have those side effects from my MRI and if I did, others who are tuned into their body and vibes, in general, are likely to as well.