Saturday, August 6, 2011

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Lately in the evenings, as I have the strength to do so, I make my way quietly into Bodhi Yoga, after all the yogis have gone for the day, and the CottonTree offices are all closed.

With the doors open, the most lovely cross breeze caresses my brow. In this sacred space, with my left hand, I roll my mallet around my crystal bowl. The Heart chakra tone expands up my arm and into my left breast, where there is a mass in the shape of a tear. It has spread to a small duct just below my sternum next to the left border of my heart and into the lymph nodes of my left armpit.

There are so many things I love about being in my physical body. One of my favorite, is honoring my natural rhythms. Learning yoga has brought me into an intimate appreciation for these rhythms at the cellular level... Such an unexpected and precious gift in my life.

As I begin my first rounds of necessary treatment, my heart, (both grateful and sorrowed), is in a place of surrender to the enormity of ways and methods required to restore my health. I marvel at the chaotic effects that paradoxically serve to help me eventually recover, while for a time, reeking havoc on my beloved body and her cherished rhythms.

Seated with my bowl, in my sacred space, the chant I begin calling is: “Om Shreim”, a mantra for bringing chaos into harmony. The tones of the bowl soon fill the room, spilling over onto the empty streets below.

Between the deep sound of my voice, and the resonant tone of the bowl, I can feel the molecules of my body vibrating into a better place, if only momentarily.

As my meditation continues, I am pleasantly surprised to feel my chanting evolve from traditional Sanskrit, into one of my favorite old English hymns. I hear my voice begin to slowly sing, long, resonant tones of “Come Though Fount of Every Blessing”.

I knew before I heard the words, that my body had hand-picked this song to call in the grace from all your prayers and positive energy, to more fully implant into the tissues of my body.

The lyrics of Robert Robinson (1735-1790), a fellow searcher for spiritual truths, begins with the words:

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;

streams of mercy, never ceasing,

call for songs of loudest praise. 

Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,

mount of thy redeeming love.”

I clearly feel the mass over my heart taking in the prayers of so many of you, who have fixed your love and prayers upon this place in my body. With my exhale, I breathe out gratitude, sending back to each of you individually, my deep humility and appreciation.

Each expression of gratitude on my part makes room for blessings beyond measure to work within me. The gratitude I feel for all the love you're sending me is also a universal acknowledgement that, whether we like to think so or not, all of us here are intimately connected, taking turns feeding one another. Personally, I have felt angelic help directing your individual prayers through me so specifically...There are no words to describe it.

As I begin to softly roll my voice through the second verse, the message I was meant to glean on this particular evening becomes clear, with the words:

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;

and I hope, by thy good pleasure,

safely to arrive at home.

When you hear the word “Ebenezer”, most of us think of Scrooge. The disgruntled old man, created by Charles Dickens in his beloved classic “A Christmas Carol”. What most don’t realize is that Dickens choose this name, because it would tell the whole story of a man's change of heart in one word, start to finish.

Dickens knew the word Ebenezer comes from the bible story of Samuel; a man who helped a whole culture change their ways. In this story, everyone in the village would let go of all the stories they had been telling themselves, release their destructive habits and forsake their collective ego. Through their shedding, they were able to start fresh, healed and alive again, with a new consciousness on all levels, that freed them from past failings.

In this bible story, Samuel erected a large stone at the place where this collective change of heart occurred and called the stone: "Ebenezer", the Hebrew word for "Stone of Help". He publicly dedicated it as a monument to God's help, faithfulness, and unending commitment to lighten our care, as we learn to become willing to let go.

As the people in the village got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, as a reminder of their surrender of the old way of thinking and acting, the mercy of God's grace in allowing them to change and renewal of their essential truths and higher way of living.

The Ebenezer stone was a physical reminder of a fresh beginning, a reversal of course for God's village, and the Universal love that allows all of us to choose anew in each moment.

Today, the chip we get in AA programs, or journals we keep, or rocks we carry in our pocket are all simply modern day Ebenezers.

So in chanting these lines, I feel this Tears-shaped tumor lift slightly with my breath, and I know instantly that this mass over my heart is my own personal “Ebenezer”; a very profound gratitude rock within my breast.

The invasive condition I am presently experiencing does not come from outside of me, it is not an invasion into me of anything foreign, these are the cells of my beloved body, currently wandering on paths that stray from my normal rhythms. I choose to hold them in my care without judgement, as best as I can, even as they stray from their dharmic, and healthy way being.

This Ebenezer within my breast is teaching me so many things, but most of all it is deepening my capacity for gratitude, surrender and trust in this journey; and the course God chooses through me to take.

As I sang the last verse accompanied by the tones of my miraculous crystal bowl (that has a story all it’s own), I felt tears streaming from my face down to breast. I could feel all my cells, but particularly those who are straying, respond to my words as I sing:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for thy courts above.

The measure of these words feels like such an important acknowledgement, a gentle nod to my cells, that for a season in my life have become prone to wander, yet teaching me lessons on a level I could learn in no other way.

Thank You for All Your Prayers... “Lord I Feel it”