Harvest of Gems - One

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It was Vipassana-time again and with another Jewish teacher and his gorgeous wife. I knew I was in for a healing treat. These people specialized in helping dying people. They called it grief work. Lots of people showed up for this workshop. It was an invasion. I mean there are tons of desperate people out there confronting some really serious shit. This workshop was one of the most powerful experiences I ever had. For the first time I was communing with people who understood what I was going through. I mean these people had loved ones who were also dying. Many of the people in the workshop were dying themselves. The big C and AIDS were well represented. I saw people who were too weak to sit, kind of just lying down at the front of the stage.

The teacher would talk. While his wife would just remain silent, sending healing energy. The couple was terrific. What was the message? To work on the heart and to open it by releasing negative emotions. You dissolved them by slowly paying attentions to them and letting them come up. It was critical to stop judging them. To stop trying to control anything. To open up to the pain and just softly notice it. The love and the joy were just beneath it, if you only had enough mercy on yourself. For in the heart was the deathless.

I finally understood that healing was just that. Opening the heart. You could die and still be healed. Getting cured physically was not necessarily getting healed. I realized now that there was a big difference. I really did. My dad was trying to cure himself. He didn't yet understand what healing was about. I breathed very deeply. Now I understood what was at stake. I felt less confused. I had new energy. The Jewish teacher was a great healer. So was his wife. She and I became spiritual lovers for a few minutes. She practiced being a mother of mercy.

A long line would develop at her door. You entered and she cradled you and brushed your hair with her fingers. I noticed her clothes were wet from all the crying. I felt incredibly privileged to be with this woman. I was even willing to die for her. As we sat on the floor together, she told me that work like hers aged you fast. It was working on the edge and it was sometimes painful. But it was great work. She told me my dad probably felt like a failure and was covering it up with a lot of thunder and lightning. In a sense he was already gone. I had done the most I could. Actually more than most people. My panic-stricken family would never be satisfied. The best thing would be to keep working on myself. I mean everybody deserved love. It was our birthright.

I didn't know what the hell the Kalachakra was then. I know a little more now. But I just wanted to see His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. And it was quite a large crowd that turned up for the ten-day event. Everyday, I drove or took a bus from the UCLA campus to Santa Monica. It was just like entering this big living mandala. The majesty of His Holiness and all the stuff around a major empowerment was wild. At times I would be bored to death by these long dreary instructions. Actually the talks were more descriptions of the way than actual instructions.

It all had something to do with impermanence and the need to not be attached to anything. When the initiation began on the fifth day, it was all sight and sound fireworks. The monks would sit near His Holiness. He would chant his blessings and the trumpets would then sound. The bell and thunderbolt were used both with great dexterity by His Holiness.

I didn't even bother to understand what was going on. I figured someday I would find out. But the thing would be to just soak up all the holy resonances. The karma was working over-time anyway. I was getting the transmission and I was getting the key to the door that would open up possibly in my next life if not this one. I was being taken care of and being blessed. I knew this. Don't ask me how I knew. I just did.

I started experimenting with my diet again, mixing nuts and fruits in certain combinations and eating them at carefully scheduled times. It's like I wanted just more cleansing. The entire world was changing. The Berlin wall had fallen. I sat riveted to my television set. I mean it was really the best show in town. I was video-taping all the news on CNN.

With the Commies on the run in Berlin, I knew Prague would fall next. I cried when Dubcek came out on the balcony and embraced the thousands thronged below. I felt freedom was finally coming. Not just for the long-suffering Czechs, but also for me. Svobodu was not just a Czech word, it was my word too now. I danced in the living-room. I didn't care about the future. I was just being in the moment. And it felt good. Very good. Not kind of, but just VERY.

It was on the 26th of January that things finally started coming to a head. It was the last kiddish with Dad. A kiddish is a service Jews like to hold every Friday to celebrate the coming Sabbath. My step-mother cooked a decent meal and my dad would recite the prayer from the kiddish book. Wine is drunk and bread is eaten. But this time it was really different. Dad was so weak he had to be brought down in a wheel-chair. As the eldest I had to say the kiddish.

Dad's head was slumped against the table. He was that weak. I had a hard time starting the prayer. It seemed like years. I almost started to cry. Everybody was silent. Somehow my lips started to move. I was walking across a chasm. Dad was so weak he was taken back upstairs. Everyone pushed and lifted the wheel-chair up the stairs. It was the symbol of our struggle. It was our life. I couldn't add much to this.

Dad died on February 3rd 1990
12:07 PM
Saturday, the Jewish day of rest.

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All contents of this site copyright by Michael Arthur Finberg