Archive for August, 2012

My Spiritual Life

August 28th, 2012 Comments off

When we  first moved to Greenville, South Carolina, whenever we met new people almost the first thing they would say is, “Have you found your church yet?”  NO, I wanted to say back, and here’s why:

I went to church and sang in the choir all my childhood.  In high school years I was active in the youth group (Pilgim Fellowship); I was the Faith Leader, which means I prepared a service each week and gave a little homily.  The summer before I left for college, I thought I had a Call, and set out to study for the ministry.

In college, in 1960, it took me a little over a year to get rid of that minister idea, and I totally left the church.   After graduating, I moved to New York City and lived in Greenwich village with a series of lovers.  It was there I first dropped LSD.

Acid totally changed my life.   The LSD experience was completely life-changing.  It was the experience of God; no, of being god.[DDET Read on…]

After a while, I realized that the experience of one-with-the-universe was obtainable, but that I would never achieve it completely, while taking drugs.  So I stopped the drugs completely, and became macrobiotic.

I moved to Boston to study macrobiotics with Michio Kushi, lived in a study house there while studying his theory of the Oder of the Universe and eating a restricted diet revolving around brown rice.  After two years, I met Guru Maharaj Ji.

I was new to the practice of Eastern meditation, and took it up with a vengeance.  I folled Guru Maharaj Ji to India, to his ashram in Hardwar, by the Ganges. Coming back to the US, I was offered the chance to edit the organization’s newspaper; so I moved to the national headquarters in Denver and edited The Divine Times.

Like in any big organization, wierd things started to go on; there was a lot of money happening, and other things not mentioned.  After two years, I got disillusioned, and began to leave the ashram. That was when I met Avis, who was also leaving the ashram.  We fell in love, and moved in together.  We got married on June 8, 1975.

After a few years, we moved to Vermont, where my parents had retired and where we could be closer to Avis’s family in Rhode Island.   We were still searching for a more spiritual life.  We attended meetings at the Tibetan Buddhist center in Burlington, Vermont, and at other meditation places.  Then we found Guru Mayi Chitvilasananda and the Siddha Yoga path.  Soon we had a meditation center meeting twice a week at our house in the mountains.

Organizations are always disillusioning, I guess, because after 10 years of Siddha Yoga, we started seeing flaws in the path, and eventually drifted away.

But that awakening that happened when I first dropped acid is still with me, and the deep understanding I’ve gained through meditation will never leave.

So now, the answer to  “Have you found your church yet?” is, That has nothing to do with it!  The question is meaningless.  That’s not what life is about.

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The Hole In My Underwear

August 27th, 2012 Comments off

There’s a hole in my underwear.

It all  started when I came back from a month in Italy.  I’d felt tired that whole month. I complained to my doctor:

“I’m feeling tired.  Maybe some sort of low-grade infection?”

“Tired?” he responded, “We’d better check on that.”

So he listened to my heart with his stethoscopes.

“Hmmm,” said the good Doctor.  “Let’s just take a reading…”

And in comes the nurse with the EKG machine.  She hooks me up with the cold little electrode patches, punches up some numbers and up comes a readout on her monitor.  Doctor comes in, looks at it.

“Anything wrong?” I ask.

“Hmm,” he replies.  “I can’t see anything here; but I think we’d better send you off for a a stress test.”
[DDET Read more…]

So two weeks later, I’m on a treadmill, shot up with thallium radioisotope, and the monitors are running.  “See anything?” I pant.

“The cardiologist will look it over; we’ll call you.”

Two weeks later, the cardioligist in his office: “We see some minor discrepancies in your cardiac diagnostic,” he says.  “This could indicate a blockage.  With these figures, there’s a seventy percent chance of a blockage.”

“So what does that mean?”

“I recommend we do a cardial catheterization.  We can schedule it next month.  The earlier, the better.”

“But I’m not feeling tired anymore.  Maybe it’s nothing.”

“Better be sure than sorry.”

The general practitioner recommends I go ahead with it; my wife thinks I should go ahead with it.  “You never know.  And, seventy percent…”

So in I go to the hospital.  Before they stick the thing into myveins, they have to prep me.

So I’m lying there, doped up on don’t know what, and nurse comes along with her razor.  Now, I’ve already insisted that the catheter go into a vein on my wrist, not through the groin.  But she pulls my robe up above my waist.

“Hey, we’re doing this thing through the wrist!”

“Well, we have to be prepared,” she smirks, “incase we can’t go in there.”

And she gets out this razor thing, looks like a Bic disposable razor, but it’s electric, and buzz, buzz, the hair’s gone from the right side of my crotch, and then from my right wrist.

Soon I’m rolled on my gurney into the operating room, doped up some more, and wake up in a recovery room.

“Did I get a stent put in?” I ask, as I come to.

“No, doctor didn’t find any blockage.  You’re good to go.”

And that was that.  Charge for stress test: $5,000.  Charge for catheterization: $15,000. Insurance covers all but $1200.

So what does this have to do with the hole in my underwear?

It’s the rash that develops a week after the catheterization.  The doctor says it’s jock itch, and prescribes a salve.  The salve doesn’t help, after using it for five weeks.  He prescribes a pill, which has no effect.

“You’d better see a dermitologist,” he says.  So I go to the specialist: “Jock Itch,” he pronounces.  Another salve.

Still the rash persists.  I suggest to my doctor that it’s something I picked up from the razor.  “Nonsense,” he responds, “those things are sealed in sterile…” and sort of fades out, because he hadn’t seen it, he wasn’t there.  But I was, and I never saw a sterile wrapping come off.

“Try wearing boxer shorts,” he suggest.  “Let air get at it.”  I t ry that; it just makes my balls rub up against my thigh, making things worse.

After a year of this back-and-forth of trhying this and that, my wife suggests I try the ointment she uses when she has a rash: zinc oxide ointment.

I try the zinc oxide: it seems to work.  But there’s the problem of rubbing of balls against thigh.  Boxer briefs work somewhat, but not great.

My solution: bikini briefs, with a hole cut in front for my penis to stick through.  I don’t usually like bikini briefs, with everything scrunched up, but I do like the ball support.  So with mylittle scissors, I make a slit in the briefs in just the right spot (being careful not to nick myself!).

That combination has almost entirely cleared up the rash! Zinc oxide ointment, just a dab, and the ball support (no rugging on thighs) has done the trick.

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