Brain Science, Storytelling, and YOU! – Richard’s Commentary

I have a recent story to tell and I hope I only have to tell it once! As always it is a question of learning the lessons. Here’s the story:

About a week ago I started running a fever. I had no real symptoms other than the severe body aches and pains that often accompany a fever. As this one developed not only did the aches and pains get worse but the fever turned into significant shakes and sweats over a three-day and night period. I had not experienced this kind of illness since I came down with malaria in Africa more than 40 years ago – it was that bad!

The fever was at its worst right at the New Moon/Solar eclipse last Thursday evening. I went to the doc Friday afternoon about the time I started to feel just a bit better. Lots of causes, thankfully, have been eliminated. And now I am much better, finishing a course of antibiotics even though I suspect it was viral. But much more important than the medical report or even my symptoms and treatment are the lessons and symbols represented by this fever and my experience of it.

I have been processing this experience, this story since I was well enough to meditate and write about it. And my old friends, QRS (remember my “floating heads”?) have helped me with some interpretation. Here’s the real story of my serious fever:

What is the message from my unconscious mind via my body?

QRS: Your body heated up to burn out some impurities. The shakes were because you are not using the “shaking technique” from Jeff Primack (this is a Qi-generating approach by shaking the whole body for a period of time; we did it for 12 minutes at the Qi-Revolution weekend!). Do it for five minutes every day. It will help. The sweats were to purge impurities through your largest organ – your skin. Shower to cleanse away the toxins. Heat, fire is from the heart. You are heart-broken for multiple reasons. The fever was a reminder of the fire and passion of your heart and that you need to attend and mend the brokenness before you can do any real work of consequence. The fire was a tempering and a mending process. You will emerge from this stronger if you take these words “to heart”! The weakness was to get you to rest. You have to be quiet to mend. Your quiet time has helped. The aches and pains were your body knocking at your door to let you know it needs your care. Yes, Qigong has been good. But keep it up. Don’t let your body turn to brittle old bones!

Your mind has been in a fog. This was a reminder to not slip away into a fog like your dad did! Awaken! And stay awake.

You think you have been working hard on yourself. Don’t mistake effort for accomplishment. Working hard is only part of it. Achieving is necessary. Awaken! It is time to break out. Move beyond the chrysalis stage and emerge, fly. You have so much to do, but time is not infinite. Deaths of your friends are to remind you of this. Their time ran out; mission accomplished. Yes, you have your purpose, your mission, but you only have the rest of your life to fulfill it. Don’t let us down. Wake up!

This explanation of my story has helped me realize the fever had its purpose. And I have my lesson to take to heart. As I wrote this I also recalled the Buddhist prayer, or Evening Gatha, we recited at Zen Mountain Monastery when I spent some time there:

Let me respectfully remind you,
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken. . .
. . . awaken,
Take heed. Do not squander your life.

Do not squander your life…