A Farewell for Tu Huang
Water weaving Ch’u and Wu into a single village,
you set out on a spring river. It’s all so vast and vague
and your sails: when night falls, they’ll rest at anchor
along the edge of heaven, that slice through the heart.
From: The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan,
Translated by David Hinton.
We laughed at the beginning. Hilariously in fact. Because I had begun speaking in the wrong language forgetting that Shirley doesn’t speak English.
So then we had to find a starting point again. Although we had been working together for a year, this was the first time we had worked in my new place. The vibe was different from being on the south shore where we usually worked. It felt as if a number of adjustments were necessary – not the position of the chair or the lighting – but inner adjustments – within her – within me – and in the vibration that was present in the room.
I waited, not sure how to begin. Then I heard her take a deep breath and that gave me a starting point.
I began to speak gently about the importance of following the breath, being close to the breathing in and breathing out, seeing how that closeness helps in feeling the intimate connection with the world, air moving in and out, an exchange – inside touching outside; outside touching inside. Finding oneself in the body, sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation.
As the relaxation increased, there were subtle changes in Shirley’s face – like the surface of a body of water that has become still – the depth apparent but the surface completely without tension or movement.
Abruptly the room changed. It became very quiet and felt as though a charge had entered. Somewhat like walking through a dark passage and finding oneself at a canyon’s edge … sensing a vast emptiness beyond one’s toes.
I asked that Shirley become aware of this frequency, feel its quality. Be open to it. With a sense of opening to what is above – far above – above the room, above the city, above the planet.
“I’m just at the edge of the zone,” Shirley said.
I asked for help, appropriate help, continuing to speak, leading deeper and deeper toward the core of being, the essential, inner kernel of her life. Connected still very closely to the breath, to the movement in the lungs. Aware of the heart. So close. Moving deeper and deeper into the zone, a zone with a quality very different from ordinary life.
“What is taking place now, Shirley?”
“It’s a zone that is at the level of the heart chakra but at the same time it’s very calm. I’m being given a warmth so that I can identify this zone – a warmth that is not very intense, just comfortable. As if I’m given that just so I can get my bearings. It’s stable. I’m able to stay with it longer than usual.”
I encouraged Shirley to stay there, close to the heart, to feel herself there, comfortably. Being aware of the quality. An action seemed to be underway, a very subtle action.
Silence reigned for a minute or two.
“Can you put your hands about a foot above my heart. There’s a small adjustment that needs to be made.”
I stood, extending my hands above her reclining figure, above the heart and the solar plexus. Immediately I felt the prickliness as my hands responded to the frequencies which this gesture evokes. I worked this way in silence for a certain time.
“Are you touching me?” Shirley asks.
“No, my hands are about a foot or more above you.”
“Are you sure you’re not touching me? I clearly feel a circular motion in the area of the solar plexus and the heart, as if a hand were touching my skin. It’s so clear. Absolutely clear”
“No, it’s not me. You can open your eyes and peek if you want.”
“No, I don’t want to do that. But it’s just so clear. A part of me is amazed and finds it hard to accept. There’s activity around the third eye as well. I don’t dare bring my hand to the area of the solar plexus for fear I will interfere with what’s taking place there.”
Usually, I insist on doing this kind of session alone – just the two of us. No visitors are allowed in the room. But sometimes with Shirley, we had her “man” Tom join us. And this was one of those occasions. He had curled up in the big, green leather arm chair and I thought perhaps he had been sleeping but no, from the beginning he had apparently been following very closely what was taking place – mostly with his eyes closed. And so just at this juncture he intervened by saying:
“It’s so real, so tangible,” Shirley said in a whisper.
“It’s meant to set the zones straight, to align them,” said Tom. “It’s as if the energy coming out of your body needs to be aligned, all the antennas, all the threads.”
Silence returned as I continued to “work” with the energy.
“Do you feel something in your solar plexus too?” asked Shirley.
“No, I don’t. I just feel the energy in my hands – it’s strong. Have I done enough? Do you think I should continue?” I replied.
“I think it’s enough. The movement in the solar plexus continues on its own still though. I’m moving back to the area around the heart.”
At this point I had taken my seat once again. I was very tired. The evening was well advanced and there had been no time for supper. And I had no idea what to do next. So I just waited for a while. Very unsure. In my fatigue I had totally forgotten that help was available.
“You need to keep speaking Jack,” said Shirley.
“Wonderful. But what am I to say,” I thought to myself.
Somehow I managed to continue: “Something is there at the level of the heart. We began there, we are there once again, and at the same time it is no longer the same. Perhaps something needs to be received at the level of the heart in order to move on to the next stage. Is there an openness present now?
Just at this juncture, a car on the street below began trying to extract itself from the grip of the ice and snow. The driver kept gunning the accelerator, the tires screamed against the ice. His anger was evident. It went on and on. Later the three of us spoke of this interesting moment. We were all aware of it but it really had no affect on our focus. In fact, I continued to speak almost all the way through it. Finally, the tires burned down to pavement and the car was released. A deep silence fell.
I began to speak of the descent of an energy from Above, that we could ask for that if an openness were in fact present. An emotional intelligence that could come down into the heart so that the heart might begin to be informed by these higher levels. An energy, an intelligence coming down into the heart, being absorbed by that part which is there for exactly that purpose. The heart is there for that – to enter into this communication. A heart that continues to be in contact, in communication with something Above. A communication that is now established, continuous. Gradually we feel the reach, the extent of what we’re connecting to. It’s greatness. Something that seems infinite. Not just infinite in the sense of distance but also in the sense of quality or substance. What is taking place now in the heart is a transformation, a transmutation. Because once this communication is established it has to be this way, it can be no other way, change must take place. The heart is connected to a higher level, a level that is subtler. [pause]
And now other parts of the body have to begin to feel, to become aware of what has been taking place in the heart. Something begins to spread to all parts of the body now. So that a certain integrity can be established in the body. And this movement does nothing to diminish what is taking place in the heart; it’s like a secondary effect. [pause]
Here, at this point, there were a number of little earthquakes in the body, tectonic movement as adjustments took place. They had the appearance of a startle response but they were really just the body adjusting to the changes that were underway.
“What is taking place for you now, Shirley?” I asked.
“There is a heat, very deep but also very precise. It goes right through me.”
“It’s precise because there is an intelligence directing all this. Clearly an intelligence which knows exactly what to do, what is needed – the quantity, the quality that needs to be there. This intelligence knows very well exactly what needs to happen, what transformations are going to take place.” [pause]
“It’s a question of depth – of going more and more deeply toward the center of the being, to the very core of Shirley’s being. A penetration of this intelligence that comes down.” [pause]
“Is there anything that can be said at this point Shirley about what is taking place? A communication of something in words. Or perhaps not. I’m not sure.” [pause]
[no response] [pause]
“So we just continue, we go on. And perhaps it is important as well to become more and more conscious of what is taking place here. We have arrived in a state that is very meaningful. A great stillness is present. And at the same time there is a very subtle movement at the level of the heart. This stillness makes it possible for the intelligence to enter.” [pause]
“It is becoming very painful now around the heart, there is a sensation of something going right through me.”
“We need to be careful not to overload the body or the mind.”
“But it is still very precise.”
“We may need to think of ending, but not too quickly and not while there is still something that needs to be done. If it’s painful we need to think what we need to do.”
“You need to make some adjustments above me.”
We had been working together so closely for so long that this kind of sudden direction coming from her, or rather conveyed through her, was no longer the surprise it was when it first began to happen. So of course in this case as well I complied, stood up again and began to bring the frequencies by moving my hands above her body. This time very high above her body over the region of the heart. This went on for some time.
“We can feel the help that is present as this takes place. We can feel the approval, the confirmation of all that is taking place.” [pause]
“It is also important at this time to feel the connection below, the connection with the Earth. Something is being communicated to the Earth as well. Because the body and the heart are in a state in which something is possible that is not possible ordinarily. A connection from Above to what is below, to the Earth.” [pause]
“Its so dense. It hurts,” Shirley reported.
“Where is it dense?”
“In the arms, just in the arms. It hurts.”
“Fine. I’ll work some more just on the arms and try to bring them closer to the state of the heart. What has taken place in the heart is so deep. It’s harder with the extremities, with the parts that are far from the heart, harder for them to reach that level. So now we’re going to bring something of that quality to the arms, allowing something of that lightness to enter them. Very important that the arms receive this as well. Everything that has happened at the level of the heart has to be transferred to the arms too so that Shirley has the capacity to bring what has been received into the world. This quality now needs to enter into the arms, into the shoulders, down the arms to tips of the fingers, all through the arms, through all the articulations of the complex mechanisms of the hand, through all of that. A current flowing from the heart to the shoulders and down arms to the hands. Both arms more and more penetrated by this subtle energy. Are the arms feeling better now Shirley?”
“The right arm is fine now but the left is still painful. It really hurts.”
“Fine. I’ll work more on it.” [pause]
“You need to concentrate on the connection between the heart and the arm … so that the energy can pass, so it can enter at the shoulder and move down into the arm. [pause]
“You need to begin to be aware now of the general state that is present throughout the body, throughout the whole being. [pause]
“Just allowing those small adjustments to take place as they need to in the body. So that everything that has taken place in the heart is fully integrated into the body, integrated into the being. Deeply. Completely. Into Shirley. Into who she is. A great work. With the help that is present. We are surrounded, completely surrounded by that help. [pause]
“What is taking place now, Shirley?”
“I am being asked to breathe more deeply so that a loosening up can take place.”
“Just as we did at the beginning. Coming back to the breathing.”
“It’s a way of integrating what had become dense.”
“Bringing the air into the center of the body. Bringing your consciousness to that. There was a freedom in the stillness that was there before but now a current begins to flow once again. Deeper and deeper breathing. A movement. The breathing creating a current in the body. A return. A coming back. Coming back into the life of the body. A body that has been transformed in a certain way. A new body.”
“I feel as though I’m breathing right down to the tips of my toes.”
“Good. The whole body needs to be involved in this movement. What has been received spreading through the whole body. Bringing a lightness, an intelligence. Throughout. And a very quiet joy which emanates from the heart, spreading also throughout the body on the breath.”
“It’s finished now.” [pause]
“Gently coming back now. Coming back to activity. In full consciousness of what has taken place here today. And it is natural now to feel gratitude for the help, and to feel that gratitude at the level of the heart, at the level of the body, at the level of the being. Coming back to what is here now, in this special time, coming back to meet the challenges that are present. Coming back to sensation in the hands and feet. Coming back. But not too quickly.
“I feel my whole body. Every part.”
“All the parts, working together.”
“Yes as if all the parts were merged, fused. A real sense of the whole. Present to the whole.”
“This is how the body should be; this is normal, this a normal state. This is how the body should be for everyone.”
“It was so deep. It’s hard to come back.”
“When I was asked to breathe there – that really went through me – did that show from the outside.”
“No. But I felt the importance and necessity of the breathing.”
“And there were very precise points on the body, like on the finger, something deep was happening, like a surgery. Very precise work; like with a needle. Deep. I felt pierced right through.”
At the end of this session something very unexpected happened. Tom, who had been quietly following the whole thing, even though he looked as though he was asleep in the comfy chair, had his own perception of what had taken place. It was detailed and visual. He saw what had happened. Although he provided a brief account that night, he and Shirley returned three days later at which time he provided a more extensive report. His report forms the basis of the next post.
(Sessions in this series: We Are Here, We Are Ready, We Laughed at the Beginning, Something very unexpected happened. )