Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Personal Life

Dianne is still very weak, can take only a few steps and rises only with difficulty and assistance.  Friday. she almost fell which would have meant another call for the EMTs and a possible hospital visit at the very least.  My wish to be more present and aware has been put to the test every day.  That is one resolution i will keep or kill trying.  Sometimes at night her oxygen saturation level drops to dangerous levels, she has suffered hallucinations and confusion.  I'm sure the main culprit is congestion.  On the bright side she is less reluctant to take diuretics and has been more cooperative and prompt (my opinion) in taking them.  She sleeps now, and i will monitor her oxygen level through the night.

I am reading The Sunflower which details an incident in 1944 where a young Jewish death camp victimized/enslaved/preincinerated man is compelled to listen to a dying S S soldier's confession of atrocity.  The Jew (a very young Simon Wiesenthal) does not respond to the confession except to listen and remain silent.  The story ends with the question, should the Jew have forgiven the Nazi.?   Over the next 25 years (1972--1997) fifty-three people made formal responses to that question.  I have not read all the responses yet, but it appears that almost all those who responded said that Wiesenthal had no obligation or no right to forgive.  The most definitive "noes" came from other death camp survivors, many of whom could not visualize a circumstance in which a Nazi would in good faith ask for forgiveness from a Jew.  Many of the more secular responders considere forgiveness, at any rate, a rather trivial gesture.  The very few "yeses" seem to have come from non-Jews who had a somewhat mystical orientation.

Some of you know that i have somewhat of an obsession with "spirituality in extremis" situations where people are challenged to live by their principles, maintain serenity, or continue to love their enemies in the face of the most horrible environments.. I ask myself whether mystical spirituality is a middle class luxury available to those with relatively great resources and a relatively wide range of choices, and whether it is cruel to offer people without resources or choices the teachings of spiritual traditions and 12-step programs.  I remember that in over five years in Al-Anon, i met almost no one who hung around very long who was not prepared for the program by a middle class background or a good education, or a spiritual tradition, or extraordinary insight.

And i recall how the authors of The Cloud of Unknowing, and The Bhagavad Gita insist that their teachings not be shared with those who are unprepared to receive them.  Even the Tao Te Ching says that 90 percent of people will laugh at Taoist teachings and if they didn't laugh at them they would not be Taoist teachings.

But i am an egalitarian at heart.  I must believe that truth is available to anyone who seeks it, and everyone will seek it in this life or in another.

Perhaps i need to visit Tibet, where impoverished and persecuted Buddhists continue to behave like Buddhists.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
Remembering Dianne and you as you begin a new week.

I hear you the spirituality writing and very much agree.
Jan. 6th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
God bless Dianne, and you, and your life together. Yesterday I asked for community prayer for y'all, at the church I'm part of. And of course you are always part of mine.

Did the question The Sunflower ended with actually use the word "should"? Without explaining what that means? If so, I suppose the author posits some sort of universal system of ethics or duties. A lot of people do that-- somehow, it's always their own. Of course, there are a lot of more careful specified and instrumental versions of "should." "You should attempt to forgive him if you are to continue in any healthy relationship with him," for instance, which is clearly inapplicable here. Or "You should attempt to forgive him so you can go forth in life free"-- which is sometimes relevant, but runs a tremendous risk of being pat and condescending.

Also, did they explain what that forgiveness would mean? Even "taking a bath" is a term that encompasses quite a lot of different things, and forgiveness bundles together a heck of a lot of stuff.

I suspect, from my own much more limited experience of being transformed by forgiveness, that anyone undertaking that journey and finding oneself in a territory that might be called forgiveness has a profound and highly personal experience beyond the realm of shoulds.

What I suspect runs to cheapness in this case is the application of spiritual maxims to others.
Jan. 6th, 2014 03:42 pm (UTC)
Ah...I had wondered how Dianne was doing. It's a difficult road but I can see your resolve and ask that you be blessed in it.

Jan. 6th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
I greatly admire your care for Dianne. I'm grateful to hear there is some ease for her, and therefore you. It is quite a path for you both.

On spirituality and forgiveness, you bring up some interesting points. I am especially intrigued by these words of yours: "I remember that in over five years in Al-Anon, i met almost no one who hung around very long who was not prepared for the program by a middle class background or a good education, or a spiritual tradition, or extraordinary insight."

My understanding of 12-step programs is that we call on a "higher power". It seems we might need help to believe in that.

On forgiveness, I suppose it is for each of us to forgive others, and ourselves. I continue to see how all of this begins with me. Can I move out from judgment of myself? Can I forgive myself?

I'm working on it. :-)

Some days I do okay, and other days not so much, and I'm still very much in the game of desiring this change.

Again, may all move smoothly for you and Dianne.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



Latest Month

August 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow