My previous article was released on May 16. This is the longest gap that I had in writing these articles.
This summer has been a challenging one for me. My mother had her cancer return and the therapy that was meant to help her, made her condition much worse. At that point I received a call from my siblings in Israel, telling me that mom is in the hospital and that her health was going downhill fast. I flew to Israel, thinking I may be attending her funeral. Instead, her condition started improving. After six weeks of being with her in Israel, seeing her getting constantly better, I came back to NY.
Two weeks later I get another call; mom had a stroke and she’s in a coma. The doctor’s told us that she has mere hours left to live. I got on the next flight to Israel two weeks after coming back. This time I was completely prepared to be attending my mom’s funeral. When I arrived, two days later, I was told that she was still alive. The “mere hours” that she was “given” to live, have become days, the days became a week, and after three weeks she began to gradually open her eyes. After a few more days she started whispering a word, and then two words. Then she started asking to be fed. I stayed in Israel five weeks for the second round and on the day that I came back, mom has been moved from a regular hospital to a geriatric hospital.
In essence, I spent the past three months in Israel. Overnight, my life has changed. Before I went to Israel, there wasn’t really a “roadmap” on how to live and what to do next, but apparently there was the illusion of such a “roadmap”. Upon my arrival in Israel, however, even the illusion of such a “roadmap” was gone. Although I was born in Israel and lived there until I was thirty, I didn’t feel as though I was coming back home. To me, New York felt more like home than Israel ever did. I felt as if I am on a self imposed exile from home, in a hostile place. A place where the “me” always come before “you”. Where people who are standing in line behind me, walk in front of me and run as fast as they can forward, to bypass me and get ahead of me. Where drivers change lanes, ignoring everyone – not a honk, not a look. Hostility was the prevalent energy. Life as a war. War against everyone, war over everything. This is what insanity looks like, and I was there, not because I wanted to be in Israel, but because I wanted to support my mother, father and brothers. Unbeknownst to me, I have arrived at school, and became a student.
The ground which I believed I was standing on, was suddenly not there. Not that it ever was. But believing that there’s a ground underneath ones own feet, is a much easier idea to handle, than the (thought, or belief, or yet another misperception) that one is floating in a void with nothing to hold on to.
Very quickly I realized that my past knowledge and experience was utterly meaningless. Even my most basic tool – tuning in to silence – was not available to me. The inner noise was deafening, with meaning that I was unable to decipher. There was an emotional roller coaster without an end in sight. There was pain, fear, struggle, anger and all those things that I have managed to become free of for such a long time.
Counterintuitively, in the midst of all of this and for a reason that is still beyond me – I said: “Thank You”.
I don’t know why I said it. I didn’t have the slightest feeling of gratitude when I did, and there was no logical thought process leading to a conclusion that saying “Thank You” was the right thing to do. Non of that whatsoever.
But when I said “Thank you”, everything stopped. Everything became silent. I became silence itself. In the moments that followed I was zooming out from the picture that I had of reality. This zooming out revealed to me that what I was experiencing as reality, actually had a much larger context. It wasn’t “all that there is at this moment”.
This new and larger picture was not a clear one. I was unable to tell what this newly appearing context actually was. All that I was able to tell, was that I was misunderstanding everything. This was the doing of silence at that moment, as it has been at different times in the past. The feeling of tremendous relief that followed this experience, in indescribable.
After this experience, I continued to say “Thank You” when toxic thoughts and emotions where present. At those later times, the thought of saying “Thank You” was already a conscious one, one based on previous experience. But even then, there was no feeling of gratitude behind the words. And yet, saying “Thank You” in the midst of turmoil, was repeatedly making the illusion – which I have been believing to be reality – fade away. And once the illusion disappeared, all that was left was silence. A blessed, welcoming silence. Silence that felt like home. A home beyond geography.
I am now back in NY, but only in part. Not because my physical body is not in NY, but because what I call “me” today, is different than what stood behind this word only three months ago. The school that I have attended taught me some lessons. But the lessons that I may presently be aware of, are just a small fraction. The full scope of the lessons learned, will gradually become apparent in the months and years to come.