Chest pains are nothing new to me. I have had them all of my life. I have complained about them to doctors and they just look at me like they had never heard of such a thing. Eventually, before I was even twenty years old, I stopped complaining about them. I could always control them by taking a deep breath and holding it until I could hold no longer. It might take several tries, but it never failed to stop the pain.
With in the last couple of years, the frequency, intensity, and the time the pain hangs around has increased notably. There have been a few times that it seemed the internal cramping and the pain was not going away. My arms would ache as well. This was something I had not experienced until recently. This last week there has been a general aching in the chest cavity. Not the cramping, not the sharp pains, just an aching like one may have after a lengthy coughing spree. I don't know what it is.
This morning, along with the never-ending leg pains, the chest pains came back. I sat in the big Lazy Boy chair wishing it would just go away. I felt my body sink, and slowly the pain started going away, as I felt my body sink more, and I felt my spirit rising out of the body. It felt so good to be pain free. I just hoped that I would continue in this state.
Cooper, my Lhasa Apso, sat on the floor near me. I heard him issue a guttural “woof” like he does when he wants my attention. I ignored it. He did it two more times. I ignored it and continued to go deeper into the pain-free state. Then suddenly Cooper jumped up from the floor and onto my chest. Of course, I immediately opened my eyes and came back to my surroundings and the pain. Cooper stayed on top of me, licking my face, and nibbling at the back of my ears, not willing to go.
Such behavior from Cooper is extremely rare. The last time he did such a thing was when I was crying uncontrollably over the recent death of our Tibetan Terrier. And he did it one time before that when I was on the edge of an out of body experience (OBE).
I have to conclude that Cooper has some sensitivity to spiritual movement. In the case of crying for my Tibetan Terrier, it was a deep, deep emotional experience arising from the depths of my spirit. In the case of the beginnings of my OBE, the spirit was leaving the body. Cooper sensed it and leaped into action to stop it. To an animal, perhaps when the spirit leaves the body, it means death. Cooper was not going to allow that to happen. And this morning, perhaps I was on the edge of another OBE, though the classical signs of the exit were not apparent to me. My personal sense of things is that I was dying and that was OK with me.
Dying is OK with me? Yes, more than OK. I am exhausted, tired, and I feel so, so old. My legs, especially my knees are in constant pain. I am exhausted by simply walking a block with my dogs. I can't seem to get enough sleep, and what I get is very broken by apnea and constant aggravation from restless leg syndrome.
On top of this there are stressors. Karen is my step-daughter. She has a very painful and debilitating genetic disorder. She is legally disabled, unable to work because of the pain, the pain drugs, and chronic illness. She has a thirteen-year-old son that is autistic. Karen also has Asperger's disorder. My wife has attention deficit disorder (ADD). I am mildly obsessive-compulsive. This combination of disorders makes for a less than pleasant experience. From the standpoint of an obsessive-compulsive person, indeed this situation can be absolutely exhausting.
I have been actively asking my spirit guides to let me leave this dimension. Last January, I received their response in a “dream” that I don't think was a dream at all.
The guides walked into the sterile white room one at a time. They sat across the wide, long white table from me. They wore dark brown hooded robes that hid their faces. Even so, I recognized them. I have been with them before. In fact, I had been in that room with them before. I was completely at ease.
“We understand that you no longer want to be on Earth.”
“Yes.” I answered without elaboration. There was no need to explain anything to them.
“What about...?” one of them asked, starting a string of inquiries about things that have been areas of concern to me in the past.
“I don't care.” I said without emotion.
They continued to ask me the “What about...” questions. I continued to answer without emotion, “I don't care.”
Then one asked, “What about Karen?”
I wasn't prepared for that question at all. I had been so focused on my own pain and on my exhaustion, I simply did not want any responsibilities. They not only exposed my selfishness, but more to my chagrin, the fact that I still care about something.
“I don't care.” I shouted.
“What about Benjamin?” they asked. (Benjamin is my autistic grandson living with me.)
Again, I responded in anger as I realized they had exposed my real feelings for him. “I don't care!”
The three guides looked at each other momentarily. Then the lead guide spoke.
“We will have to find another caretaker for Benjamin and Karen. You will have to wait until then.”
They rose from the table and filed out the opposite end from which they entered. I woke up from the sleep. I knew that what I had just experienced was not a dream.
I am compelled to suggest that life on this Earth, in this dimension cannot be separated from your spiritual life. We tend to think that we do “spiritual things” and we do “worldly things.” The reality is that whatever you do is inextricably entangled with your spiritual life. The purpose of this physical life is to promote spiritual growth. What you do in this life directly reflects your spiritual condition, and your spiritual maturity. The pain you create in this life goes toward helping one figure out what is right, what is wrong, and what is good. I dare add that what you do out of selfishness also pushes back or retards your spiritual growth,but only for the time it takes for you to realize the problem and correct it. Life in this dimension is sacred for that reason. It does not matter what life a person has been living, whether that life has made a contribution to society, or been destructive in this life, that life remains sacred because that spirit is still in training for the duration of that life. Spiritual growth without life in this dimension is extremely hard, if not impossible.
Since the meeting with my spirit guides, I have had a few attitude shifts; not profound epiphany type realizations, but gradual understanding of things I should have been learning all of my life. Primarily, I am acutely aware that I do have purpose in this life. I may not like it, but I have been presented with a situation about which I can do something. I have the opportunity to look beyond myself, look beyond my own pain, look beyond my own inadequacy, and do exactly what the situation calls for.
When one becomes self-centered, he eventually loses all sense of purpose. Life becomes a series of “entitlements.” That is, one starts thinking, “I deserve this; I deserve that. Why does that guy have that and I only have this.” The problem is that some of us die still thinking that were entitled to so much in the physical, never suspecting that we are starving our spirit. Our physical existence is always meaningful, because what we do in the physical realm will either help the spirit to grow, or will cause the spirit to stop growth. While we are tempted to tag the physical world as “meaningless,” the converse is true. It all has meaning. We need to be aware lest we trap ourselves by refusing to correctly and wisely use what is before us in the physical world.
This whole experience has caused me to re-evaluate once again what love is. I think I am beginning to get a handle on it, kind of, maybe. It is nothing like what I apparently learned as a child. Remember the Lone Ranger? He'd ride into town, fix the problem, and ride out before people could say, "Thank you." That was how I thought love worked. You see a problem, ride into town, fix the problem and ride out. There wasn't a real connection with those that benefited from the Lone Ranger. I don't understand it when things I do cause people to want to connect to me on some other level. In fact, it scares me. My thinking is "Just let me ride my horse outta town." And sometimes that is accompanied by an after thought, "let me ride out before you find out you really don't like me."
I think it is sinking in. I can let people connect. And I can also honor those feelings I have for others, as well. I don't have to ride the horse outta town, anymore. In fact, it might even be nice to hang around.
Today, I couldn't wait to greet Benjamin as he stepped off of the school bus.
"How was school, Kid?"
He answered in his typical insouciant manner, "I met Bill, the substitute bus driver. Where is Mommy?"
"In the house," I answered as I followed him in.