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BROUGHT TO MY KNEES Dear friends, I wanted to send you an update on my health. I cannot lie – I am going through my own personal neurological Lyme disease hell at the moment. The “brain fog” (and those words don’t even *begin* to describe what it’s like) is utterly hellish and seems to be getting worse as each month goes by and makes each day something of a living nightmare. How to put words to it? It’s like a constant terrifying, dizzying, drug trip, one that never ends and there’s no way out of – a kind of detached, spaced-out, depersonalized, derealized liminal realm, like I’m living in someone else’s life, far away from the world. I can barely remember my old life anymore. The past 40 years seems like someone else’s dream. Time has virtually disappeared for me and I often have no idea what day it is, what time, sometimes even where I am. (Please don’t be confused by the seeming clarity of this letter. I can have all these symptoms AND sometimes write and speak clearly, and that doesn’t mean that I’m well. Complex chronic illness is… well, complex. And very often INVISIBLE. And that’s why so many people are gaslit - misbelieved, called crazy and told that it’s “all in their heads” if they dare to appear normal - sometimes gaslit by their doctors, sometimes by their own friends and family members.) I’m dizzy, nauseous, often disoriented, overheated, heart pounding from the dysautonomia, sometimes can’t remember where I am or how I got here, tinnitus in my ears like low level screaming all day, autonomic nervous system dysregulated, tired yet too wired to really be tired, and even a good night’s sleep doesn’t help, I wake up exhausted always now. And the fatigue is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, like a cell-deep tiredness, like being pressed down constantly towards the Earth and towards sleep and death, brain so fatigued and fuzzy I can hardly think (again, don’t let the apparent clarity of this letter distract you, it took me two weeks to write, through pain and tears, if we still used pen and paper the ink would be blotched and the paper crumpled), multitasking is out of the question, it’s literally one thing at a time now, one moment at a time, and all else has faded into blackness. Really like walking through thick fog, batteries fading in my beloved flashlight. Yes I can still write sometimes, and that is one saving grace. But it’s really like being alive whilst dead now, even the ‘better days’ are experienced in a kind of hallucinogenic hell. Yes I had heard people in the past share about their symptoms of Lyme, CFS/ME, POTS, autoimmune disorders, all kinds of other chronic and debilitating conditions, but I never in a million years imagined what hell it could be like inside of it all. Those who do not know, do not know. I feel like I am clinging on by a thread to existence, on the verge of losing consciousness, half passed-out, half awake. After 10 months of this nightmare there is a strong pull towards everlasting rest now, towards shedding these earthly clothes and returning to the Unmanifest, my true Home prior to the bodymind. At the same time, I really do want to live and get well and fulfil and do everything I am meant to fulfil and do in this life. There is so much left to do and so many beautiful moments left to experience. But I am torn by the twin pulls of Eros and Thanatos now. In this strange middle liminal space. There are so many adventures yet to be had. I love life so much. But I cannot lie - a battle is being waged, daily now, and I’m just trying to stay alive through these hellish physical, neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms, trying to see the treatment through, trying to get to that clinic in Germany (and omg thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting this!), trying not to succumb to the ever-stronger pull of Thanatos, trying to hold to blessed Eros and her will to life and trying to ‘be courageous’ (easier said than done) in the face of deeply devastating and disorienting circumstances. Each day is a struggle now, If I am brutally honest. I am exhausted to the bone after 10 months of this, 10 months that have seemed like 1000 years, no joke, 1000 years of living in a foggy daze, days passing in a blur, not knowing if I’m awake or asleep, if I’m dreaming or not, if anything is real or if I’m even alive anymore. Dreaming and waking life blur into each other, life and death are indistinguishable, my short-term memory is so poor I have very little idea of what I did today, sometimes I think it's time for breakfast when it's time for dinner. It is so disorienting and dizzying words could never begin to capture it. Those of you who have had bad acid or other drug trips may have an inkling of what this is like. I just never imagined this kind of daily living hell was possible. The infection has reached my brain and nervous system, confirmed by a number of experts now so at least we know the cause or at least a part of it. I am being battered daily by bacteria and other pathogens, tiny creatures who are taking such a massive toll on my internal systems in their own will to live. I just wish I had some comforting or inspiring words to offer now. I do not. I have been humbled beyond humbled by this process. I DO want to live and heal. I do want to get through the days and get through the treatments and come out the other side. I would take even 15% better right now, I would, I have been on my knees praying for 10 months for even that. I have been doing my part, I hope, I have radically changed my diet, been taking all the supplements, herbs, pills, infusions, vitamins, anyone has recommended, I have seen therapists and energy healers, psychics and bodyworkers, psychiatrists and neurologists and every other kind of doctor. I’ve done rigorous inner inquiry, questioned my deepest beliefs, confessed my ‘sins’ to myself and to others, been held by friends while sobbing, raged to the heavens, faced my most profound terrors, moved back and forth through all the stages of grieving. I’ve been taking all the recommended concoctions for Lyme, been having the IV antibiotics, I have had so many incredible friends supporting me these last 10 months, so much love pouring in from all sides, so many relationships have deepened and strengthened and some have fallen away in a kind of radical purging, so many things have healed within me and between us and there has been such great beauty really like a process of purification and divine cleansing. I have moved through so much denial and anger, guilt and shame and fear - especially in the beginning, when I first got ill, I felt so much ancestral shame and guilt and fear around being sick and weak and not being able to cope - (THE DEEPEST TRUTH OF ALL: THERE IS NOTHING SHAMEFUL IN GETTING SICK AND BEING VULNERABLE AND ASKING / BEGGING FOR HELP!) - yet now, having moved through a lot of the muck of it all, I feel more of a strange kind of contentment even within the hell, a sense that my life hasn’t gone wrong and somehow this was all meant to happen and I did nothing wrong and God has been with me the whole time breathing me pushing me keeping me going and so life hasn't gone wrong even if it my worldly life ends soon and does life really end I don’t think so, ‘end’ is merely a human concept and all human concepts dissolve in a non-conceptual Truth. At the same time, the urge to sleep, to shed this body-mind and rest in pure Being is strong, I will not lie. The pull to the end is very alive in me. My close friends know this, my doctors and therapists and family know this, and I am fighting to stay alive and not give in to the forces trying to destroy me, whether that is a metaphor or literal. But I am so damn weary at times, and when the brain fog is more akin to dementia, when I am dozy and in a terrible fog and don’t know where I am and life seems a million miles away the temptation to leave is just so powerful, like some entity has taken over – and in a way, it has. The Lyme bacteria and the toxic mould spores have colonized my physical body, entered my nervous system and brain, so this ‘possession’ or ‘entity’ is not even a metaphor really, it’s biological fact, for those of you who believe in science. And so, I have no inspirational words right now, I am just in a day-by-day struggle to keep going, through the timeless fog that seems eternal, through an experiencer that seems to be fading away. Friends and mentors say, “Jeff, you will get through this, I just know it, stay positive, hold to hope, people do get out of this hell…”, and bless them, they really mean it and truly care and I want to believe it, I mean truly I do, but in the druggy drowsy dissociated fog of this liminal space sometimes those words are like Chinese words to me, I cannot understand or even process them, like being told that “one day” you will be out of the water when you are drowning each day, gasping for breath, which sometimes I literally am because of the POTS. It is so hard to hold to any kind of rational, conventional reality. I know I am not the only one living with chronic illness, I know I am not the only one suffering each day, trying to get through, fighting to get through, and my heart goes out to all of you in your own personal struggles, both mental and physical. I pray that you make it. I pray that I can make it. I would love for all of us to make it together. Yet, I surrender. I know I am in God’s hands now, and always have been. In the hands of great and mysterious forces beyond my control or anyone’s control, and in the hands of doctors and healers and therapists and good friends who can hold me in my terror and sorrow and longing for the end of suffering, but ultimately I am in God’s hands, yes, and whether I live or die, somehow it doesn’t feel up to me anymore, and that is a great relief. I have been fortunate to have been given a beautiful life. I’ve had so many adventures. Made so many wonderful friends. Laughed and cried and felt and experienced so much. Been so touched by the world. If it all ends now, or in 40 years time, I have been blessed. 40 years is a full life though, it truly is. We are all going to die, and surely quality of life and number of lives touched and amount of beauty experienced along the way is way more important than number of years lived, I have been with enough dying people to know that. And so I continue putting one foot in front of the other. I continue as long as I can continue in this fucking hellish night and fog. I hope I can continue for a long, long time. And if not, if Thanatos manages to pull me right down into their bowels, know that I have loved you all, and I have been loved in return. Some may say I am exaggerating all this, creating drama where there is none, too ‘identified’ with the bodymind and the manifest world, too ‘lost in ego’, too ‘indulgent’ in my suffering. Some may say I am now in full resistance to life, overthinking, stuck in a story. Some may say I am too much in my head, or I’m doing all this for the attention or pity. Bless them all, all these voices of fear and ignorance and shame, voices of ableism, and I say to all who deny or minimize the struggles of the sick, and the often terrible lonely reality of chronic illness, you do not know until you know, and you cannot speak for the experience of another, and I might have thought and said the same before it happened to me. Ugh, the hubris. I just would never have known this kind of daily physical hell was possible. I understand why some people with chronic illnesses decide to take their own lives. I really do. I would never judge anyone for choosing to leave. It seems to me to be a basic human right, a birthright in fact, the right to self-determination. And it took being inside this hell realm to wake me up to an even more infinitely heartbreaking compassion for all beings. All beings. A compassion forged in the fires of hell, as ironic as that may be. Yes, hell can forge compassion, and damn what anyone else says. Et lux in tenebris lucet. Hell has no real power over love anyway, and the Light is everlasting and destroys hell prior to time. Sometimes we must come close to death in order to understand life even more deeply, that’s really what I am saying, the rest is metaphor. Anyway, I do hope I can survive this. I would love to live. I have always loved life so much. But I am on my knees today, humbled, in prayer, to great unnamable forces, to my ancestors and to all who will come after me, to the neurotoxic mold spores and the Lyme bacteria itself, more mysterious than I could ever imagine, more powerful than I ever knew, as much an expression of the Divine as anything else. This confession may end my career but at least I can end it with integrity. At the end of the day, I am just a human being, suffering, brought to my knees through sickness, surrendered completely to the mysteries of creation. In God’s hands, and if you don’t like the word ‘God’ know that it’s just a pointer to the ineffable, pre-conceptual Mystery of the Universe, prior to all organised religion, a “finger pointing to the moon” as they say in Zen. I may write ‘beautifully’ – and, well, thank you to those of you who say that – but please know I am writing from the depths of hell and despair. A little light in the darkness. I pray that the light does not go out, I know that it cannot really. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love, the kind words, the incredible support, the donations, the poetry, the good advice, the healing. I cannot thank you all enough. Bless you. I am overwhelmed and on my knees today in gratitude and in reverence and in submission and in the deepest prayer. And utterly, utterly in God’s hands, and I guess I always was. And I guess we all are, throughout each inhale and each exhale and through the sacred spaces inbetween. - Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago  ·  

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And the night belongs to us, and the dawn too, and we shall never again forget this grace we have been given, never again abandon this day in pursuit of another. Love is not something you find, it is like an energy, flowing, sometimes soft, barely perceptible, pulsating, sometimes surging, volcanic, spilling out everywhere, filling the cracks in the sidewalk, the walls we erected to keep us apart, bubbling like a brook, finding its way into every space, unstoppable, unstoppable, searching for its source, looking for its home, flowing through trees, lakes, people, flowing into the open skies, past galaxies, backwards and forwards through time. A baby is born, a man takes his last breath in a hospital somewhere, who knows where, an army rises, is defeated, rises, a slave breaks his chains, great beasts walk the earth, not knowing how close they have come to the fires. Stars are born and explode, your first birthday, your graduation, the death of your mother, your father, weeping into handkerchiefs, challenges you felt you would never overcome, and you overcame, and somewhere in the middle of the night, out across some vast ocean, somewhere in the dark recesses of your heart, or perhaps near the limits of the known universe, I don't know, she remembers, she turns back, remembering the source, yes, she remembers the source now, and she turns back, not seeking but falling, not pushing but allowing herself to be pulled, and she falls back, through the light and the darkness, through the sewage of a million lost worlds, through mystery, through layers of bliss and pain, into you, into your ancient heart, into her home. She has travelled to the ends of worlds, beyond time and space, through indescribable horrors and ecstasies, and she has found you again, where she left you, where the search began. You take a breath now, you feel the heart beating, you feel your belly rise and fall, and this is not just some ordinary movement, some moment in a series of moments, this is eternity moving, breathing, infinite in nature, finite in form yet infinite in heart, and it was always you, it was always you, sought and found, lost and discovered.It is just an ordinary day in your life, kids to feed, bills to pay, feelings to feel, but now you know, now you cannot forget, despite the dream, despite the journey, the dawn belongs to you, and the night too, and every call of every creature, and every pair of eyes, all yourself looking, wondering, thinking of home, and you shall never again forget this grace you have been given, never again abandon this day in pursuit of another, never seek love outside your own pumping heart, never doubt what you intuitively knew when mother ejected you into this world, kicking and screaming, broken and bloody but brilliantly yourself, that you are not a mistake, you are not a damn mistake, you are nature, you are whole, and worthy, worthy of the kind of love that travels aeons and light years and pulls itself through the shadows and the shit to return. From you she birthed herself, to you she comes running.Home, mother, home!- Jeff Foster (from The Way of Rest). ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago  ·  

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A SACRED PLACEBO (HERE IS WHAT LOVE WILL DO IN HELL)"Placebo Domino in regione vivorum"- Psalms 114:9The following heartbreaking words are from the testimony of Dr. Ellen Loeb, who was made to work as a nurse in four concentration camps during the Nazi Holocaust, including the hell that was Mauthausen.She was forced to work in the most appalling conditions, providing care and hope to those close to death, and to those who had lost all hope. Her words:“My work as a nurse was very difficult. Sometimes we had no medicine and no instruments. There was only one room where we could treat patients. The women were all suffering from terrible diarrhea, many with fever…The worst thing was that only a certain percent of my patients could be sick. Of the 560, I had 120 sick. Only 40 were allowed. The others had to go to Mauthausen, and that meant gas.We had a lot of people with diphtheria and other infectious diseases, but we just had to keep them going to work…You cannot imagine what the beds looked like. We had no robes or gowns to give them, so they just lay there in their rags on the straw.Nothing was sterile. There was not even any talk about that…The syringe could not be boiled. Occasionally we just heated it, but usually it took all morning to get some water heated. You ask what did we do with the syringe?Since we had nothing to inject into these patients, we just used it to make the women feel better.We did not actually give them injections; we pushed the needle under the skin and took it out again. Sometimes, when we gave them these “injections”, they got better. I don't know why, but I think it was something they imagined…”*My God. To feel cared for, loved, protected, looked after. Even if only for a moment. Even if death is coming soon. Even if the needle is empty and it's only a placebo.Yes, Love would do this, Mercy would do this – provide care, provide hope, provide a moment’s respite, a kind word, a loving glance, a sacred Placebo, to Her comrades in hell."I shall please the Lord in the land of of the living". I have no more words. *(Testimony from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and “Sisters in Sorrow: Voices of Care in the Holocaust”, an extraordinary "collection of testimonies which gives voice to women who took care of the sick in the camps of Nazi Germany, which had, contrary to any voice of reason, been constructed for the sole purpose of human extermination…”) ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago  ·  

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SITTING IN THE UNRESOLVED: Our True Meditation(From a talk by Jeff Foster during a retreat in Glastonbury, June 2012)“I will not forget you. I have held you in the palm of my hand.” - Isaiah 49: 15-16“It is so beautiful, just to sit in this open space together, where nothing needs to be resolved or solved; where we don’t need to fix ourselves or be fixed; where our questions don’t need to be answered; where, finally, our questions are allowed to just be questions; where our uncertainty doesn’t need to be transformed into certainty; where our doubts are finally given permission to just be doubts. Here, in this warm embrace that we are, in this place of true meditation without a meditator, without a goal, without a controller, we don’t need to find the answers, we don’t need to come to any mental conclusions about life, we don’t need to work everything out, because finally, finally, our wondering and our wandering, our trying-to work-it-all-out and trying-to-make-it-all-work, our seeking and searching and our desperation to find answers — it is all just allowed to be here, exactly as it is.This place where nothing needs to be resolved or fixed – it has no actual location, for it is what you are. What you are doesn’t need to sort out this present mess, escape it, fix it, transform it, transcend it, or even get rid of it. Because what you are is totally in love with this human mess, just as the ocean is totally in love with all of its waves. And “being in love with” here just means “being inseparable from”. It is the essence of non-duality. The ocean of who you are, the vast open space of consciousness, the wide and unlimited capacity of awareness, actually is all the waves that appear in it – all the thoughts, sensations, sounds, feelings, smells, colours, images. Consciousness is inseparable from all that arises ‘in’ consciousness, and that is the very definition of love. Every thought, every sensation, every possible feeling – they are all children of consciousness, metaphorically speaking, poetically speaking. They are all your family – they are all deeply familiar to you. They are ancient friends.Remember, it’s not one thing (the ocean) loving another thing (the waves) – they are not two, they never were. All thoughts, sensations, feelings are already deeply allowed to be here, in what you are. They already have a place here, just as every wave already has a place in the ocean, without needing to be given that place. What you are, on the deepest level, has already said YES to this moment, exactly as it is. What you are doesn’t need to get rid of anything appearing now, because it is everything appearing now! It doesn’t need to (and cannot) escape this, because it is this!In the same way, the room that you are in right now doesn’t need to get rid of the fly buzzing around in it. The fly comes in, the fly goes out. We swat the fly and then the next fly comes in. We swat that fly and another one comes in. Where do the flies end? When we will be free from troublesome thoughts and feelings? But remember, the room itself doesn’t need to swat the flies. The room says, “Come, flies, there’s enough room for all of you! Relax. You are free to fly!” So nothing needs to be resolved by the room that holds it all; the flies can just be flies; the questions can just be questions, the doubts can just be doubts. Thoughts can just be thoughts, feelings can just be feelings. Consciousness allows it all in – there is always enough room in the room of you.And so, the invitation, as always, is to sit in this very precious place of not-having-figured-it-all-out-yet. We just rest in that. We rest in this mystery that is life itself. We rest in wonder, not knowing, not knowing what to do, or how to change things, or what is yet to come. And we start to wonder what “having figured it all out” would even mean, if that were even possible.What you are – in this moment – does not need this moment to change or resolve itself, does it? It does not require uncertainty to change into certainty; for what you are is already holding uncertainty. Even uncertainty is embraced in the room of you. All thoughts, sensations and feelings appearing right now are already being held and embraced in the vast, open, spacious, unbounded, unlimited room that you are. Nothing in the room of this moment needs to be ‘worked out’. Nothing needs to be fixed. Nothing needs to be purified or ‘worked through’. This moment is already holding itself up, perfectly.And what you are gently whispers, “Come, all of you frightened children, all of you neglected waves in the ocean of life. Come, uncertainty, confusion, fear, doubt. It’s okay. It’s safe to be here, in this room. There’s no need to fear me anymore; I’ve remembered who I am. I won’t swat you down again. I know you are myself. I grant you your rightful place in me.”What you are doesn’t need get rid of doubt, or to transform doubt into certainty, because it doesn’t see doubt and certainty as opposites. The ocean doesn’t see any of its waves as opposites. There’s a wave of doubt, it’s just a wave. It’s just water. There’s a wave of uncertainty. It’s just a wave, it’s just water. They’re not opposites – they are water. Essentially, they are the same, although they differ in appearance. There’s a wave of joy, that’s water, that’s consciousness. There’s a wave of sorrow, that’s water, that’s consciousness. Anger, fear, excitement, bliss, frustration, even despair – ultimately, it’s all just a dance of water, of consciousness. And all these waves are its beloved children – beloved, even when they appear to misbehave. Beloved, always.Who you are is like a perfect mother or father, the parents you always longed for but never had. Your actual, real-life parents could never live up to this total, radical, unconditional embrace that is life itself. They could never love you in exactly the way you wanted. They would always love imperfectly. No human is capable of loving unconditionally, in the way consciousness loves its waves unconditionally. It’s too much to ask of any person. It’s too much to expect from someone. When we unconsciously expect this love, and it’s not delivered, we feel disappointed and even resentful. But the parent you always longed for is actually what you are. You always longed for yourself. This total, unconditional allowing, this constant welcoming, can’t ever abandon you even in your darkest moments. Everything and everyone else can abandon you, apparently, but who you are cannot. Consciousness takes care of all its children unconditionally, even when they are frightened. All we’re really ever dealing with is frightened children. No evil, no negative, no sin, no darkness – just frightened children, looking for a home. Who will give them a home?**When everything falls apart and you feel totally lost and abandoned, what can’t abandon you, even in the midst of those feelings of total abandonment? Even when everything else has disappeared, what can’t leave you? It’s who you are. Even the feeling of abandonment, if that’s what’s arising, is welcome in what you are. Even when you feel totally abandoned, this is still here, this ocean of consciousness, allowing in the wave of abandonment. So what you are is never “the abandoned one”, even when there is a feeling of abandonment. And what you are is never “the lost one”, even when there’s a sense of being lost.In fact, you are never “this one” or “that one”, you are the one – the one-without-an-opposite, the wide open capacity that is life itself. You are not “the sad one” or “the happy one”, “the enlightened one” or “the unenlightened one”, “the successful one” or “the failed one” – you are the undefinable, ever-present space that holds it all. Even when there’s a very intense wave, a strong, violent wave – for example, a wave of fear or pain or sadness – the ocean that you are is still fully present. Even when there’s sense of being totally lost, the wide open space in which the sense of being lost is allowed to arise, is not lost. Lostness is allowed to arise and dissolve in you, but you, as the ocean, are never lost. Even the sense of being lost is already being held here, it’s already being allowed in. That’s why you – who you really are – can never be lost, precisely because it’s there even when you feel lost. Consciousness is never lost.**What’s present now? What’s been here since you were a little baby, and before? What will be present as you take you last breath? What’s present on the first breath and present on the last breath? What doesn’t know age? What doesn’t compare breaths? What doesn’t tell itself that it’s five years old, ten years old, fifty years old, eighty years old? What doesn’t know birth or death?There is only this breath. And this breath. What you are doesn’t tell itself “this is the first breath”. It doesn’t tell itself “this is the last breath”. There is only this breath. Each breath is brand new. Who you are never gets bored of breathing.What is always at rest? What doesn’t need to understand? What doesn’t need to understand the concept of ‘rest?’ What never needs to know how to rest, and is at rest anyway?**And so it’s safe. It’s always safe. It’s safe for all those unloved, un-met, unseen waves to crawl out of the depths, out of the darkness, out of the corners and holes and crevices of experience and come into the light of consciousness. Thoughts are allowed in, sensations are allowed in, feelings are allowed in, sounds are allowed in. All those waves that we used to call ‘dark’, or ‘evil’, or ‘negative’, or ‘dangerous’, or ‘sinful’ – fear, anger, boredom, doubt, confusion, frustration, helplessness – they are all finally allowed here, to rest, to breathe, to come Home, to be themselves. They are not enemies, they are appearances of you. They cannot hurt you, even if they hurt. They are welcome in this unlimited room.The miracle of life is that this moment is already here – these thoughts, these sensations, these sounds have already arrived. This moment is already exactly as it is. The miracle is in this ‘already’. And, funnily enough, the ‘already’ is the last place the seeker would ever want to look for freedom, for peace, for rest. Because the seeker is time, and the seeker has no interest in the ‘already’, which is prior to the upsurge of time. The seeker sees the ‘already’ as death, plain and simple. The seeker needs a future to stay alive. This moment is the death of the seeker, and so it doesn’t interest the seeker very much. “As it is” is not particularly interesting for the seeker!We talk about people dying, about people losing their lives, but upon death, all that really happens is the falling away of anything that isn’t “already”, or at least the falling away of the illusion of anything that isn’t already. In other words, it’s the falling away of the illusion of time, the illusion of there being a separate seeker, someone looking for something else, someone separate from something. It’s a return to deep rest, a deep rest that was never actually absent.So we emerge out of this deep rest, the deep rest that we are, and we return to it. Did anything ever happen, actually? Everything begins with deep rest and ends with deep rest and in between there’s this amazing play of “trying to rest” and not quite knowing how! “Maybe one day I’ll rest”, the seeker hopes. But the only rest is here and now. The only true rest is this moment. Why wait?From deep rest to deep rest, and in the middle there’s this desperate and often exhausting seeking for something we can’t even name. Do we even know what we’re looking for? When will we find it? Were we ever separate from it? Do we really want what we think we want? Don’t we just long to rest, to rest from the exhausting search?So just sitting, alone and together, doing nothing in this way, actually there’s a lot that happens here. We say that meditation is “doing nothing” but really there’s a whole world appearing and dissolving here. Sitting quietly, doing nothing, there’s a whole world that emerges from you and dissolves back into you. Out of nowhere, out of the purest emptiness, here are feelings, sounds, thoughts, pictures, images, the story of a past, even the story of the creation of the universe. Yes, even the story of the creation of the universe is allowed in you! There’s always enough room here.What you are gives birth to thought, feelings, sadness, joy, excitement, bliss, confusion, despair – all of it. It’s infinitely creative, never exhausting itself. Maybe all of our suffering boils down to wanting some of life and not wanting the rest of it. We only want half of life, or less, and that is our misery. We only want some of the waves in the ocean – the happy waves, the nice waves, the positive waves, the good waves, the spiritual waves, the enlightened waves, the pure waves – whatever those would be. But the ocean is all of its waves, and who can block half of life out? Who would want to? Don’t you long for all of life? Why would you block out what you have always secretly longed for?**Life constantly throws itself out of itself in an act of unspeakable creativity. And it gently whispers, “See, I give you all of this. I offer you all of this. Can’t you see what I have given you? Can’t you see what I continue to give?”And we say, “But I don’t just want what is given. I don’t just want what is already here. I want more. I want all of this, and enlightenment, too.”And as life continues to offer everything, and we continue to ignore it in our pursuit of some future attainment or achievement or goal, it continues to whisper, very softly in the background, “But, dear seeker, this is the enlightenment you seek. It is already here. Why do you hold ‘enlightenment’ outside of yourself, in space and in time? Why do you look for it in states and experiences and all that is impermanent? Why do you only want part of me, when I offer you my all? Why do you reject my constant gift?”And we say, “Oh, but I am not worthy of it. Little old me, imperfect old me, I don’t deserve everything. I’m too limited. I’m too ignorant, I’m too young or too old, I’m too stupid, I’m too unenlightened, I’m too slow, I’m too weak, I’m too this or that.” We feel that we would not be able to hold all of life, if it was given. It would be too much for us. It would be totally undeserved.And on our deathbeds we still ask, “Where is enlightenment? Where is that which I long for the most?”And life replies, “Can’t you see that it’s been here all along? It was all of it. It was every breath you took. It was every sensation that surged through your body. It was every thought. It was every moment of doubt. It was there in the despair and in the bliss and even in the panic. It was not only hidden in one thing, it was there in everything. It was all the questions you asked and your hopes of an answer. It was there as you ran around the world looking for something you were never going to find – because you were it already. It was everyone you ever met. It was mother, it was father, it was your imperfect relationship with them. It was doing your best, and sometimes not doing your best. It was loving imperfectly. It was dreaming of enlightenment, and it was always feeling that you were distant from it.”And we ask, “But where was grace? How come I never received it? How come I was always waiting?” And life says, “But it was always grace, all of it, all the time. The joy, the pain, the bliss, and the boredom. It was there in the certainty and in the doubt. It was all grace, far beyond all your second-hand ideas of grace.”And we say, “But I haven’t worked it all out yet! I don’t understand!” And life replies, in silence, “But you don’t need to work it all out, my child. I never asked that of you. You don’t need to understand. Just be here. That’s all that’s required of you. Just be here. Be with this. Be present in the midst of everything you see as being unresolved.”And we say, “But I don’t know how. I don’t know how to live, and I don’t know how to die.” And life replies, “Shhh. You don’t need to know how to die. I’ll take care of that for you. Just rest. Rest in me. Just trust, and rest, always.”What if we just rest in the place where we haven’t worked it all out? Maybe we never will work it all out, and maybe it doesn’t matter. Because maybe right here, in the midst of the unresolvedness, in the midst of the untied, loose ends of life, in the total lack of neatness, something has already totally resolved itself. Perhaps it had already resolved itself a long time ago, and we are just catching up.To the mind, meditation may be seen as “just sitting doing nothing”, but actually, that place is the place where everything resolves itself. Even if tomorrow never happens, and these questions and doubts never get resolved, and these dreams never come true, and these plans never manifest – and they may do and they may not – yes, even if tomorrow never comes, there’s still this. There’s being here. Do we need a future to be here, now?There’s always this. It’s your constant companion. It will never leave you or abandon you or deceive you. It cannot be destroyed, for it is here even in the midst of the experience of total destruction. The crucifixion can’t touch it. It’s here when you open your eyes in the morning and it’s here when you go to bed at night. It’s your dearest, oldest friend. It’s the parent you never had. It’s the lover you always dreamed of. It’s yourself.So forget about trying to love yourself; it’s hopeless. Forget about trying to accept yourself; it’s hopeless. Forget about trying to save yourself; it’s hopeless. In this place, there’s no need try to love yourself anymore. In a way that you’ll never be able to comprehend or put into words, you are already loved. Unconditionally loved. In the midst of your pain, your sadness, your doubt, your confusion, your lack of what you thought you needed, what you are is always here, embracing, allowing, holding it all. Yes, the seeker is loved even in their failure to find what they’re looking for, just as the wave is already the ocean, even its total failure to reach the ocean. The wave struggles and struggles to reach the ocean, and it’s bound to fail, for it is already what it seeks but doesn’t realise that yet.The ocean holds its beloved wave, as the wave struggles to understand.There’s something so beautiful about this failure of seeking. The wave is bound to fail to reach the ocean. It doesn’t need to, and it can’t anyway, because it’s already That. Even in your failure to find what you were looking for, to find what you thought you needed, what you seek is already holding you. It holds you even as you fail totally. That’s the kind of love that is unimaginable, unspeakable, beyond reason. It’s a kind of crazy love that cannot be understood. I like what Nisargadatta Maharaj says:“Wisdom tells me that I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.”Wisdom, or clarity, is the recognition that you are the ocean, the vast, open space of awareness, or consciousness (or whatever word you want to use, for words are not important in this place) prior to form, and that is a beautiful, profound realisation. But it doesn’t stop there. For there is always love – which is the recognition that this wide open space is actually inseparable from everything that appears, that emptiness is none other than form. Awareness is radically inseparable from everything that arises in awareness. It’s not awareness of thoughts – awareness is thoughts. It’s not awareness of pain, pain is saturated with awareness, it is made of awareness, it is awareness. Every wave is made of the ocean, and so in the end you can’t even speak about the waves and the ocean. You can’t even speak about awareness and “everything that appears in awareness”. But perhaps it’s a useful, temporary metaphor, to point to the deeper understanding that the recognition of wisdom, of clarity, is somehow totally incomplete without the recognition of love. Really they’re the same thing. Heart and mind, nonduality and duality, the human and the divine, the absolute and the relative – however you want to say it – it points to the inescapable fact that every thought, every sensation, every feeling, however uncomfortable, however intense, however unexpected, is welcome in you. You are the capacity for it all. You are the room for the unloved flies. You are the home for the homeless. It is this radical embrace which we have always sought, beyond all our ideas about awakening and enlightenment and trying to be free.The recognition of the ocean is somehow incomplete without deeply honouring the arising and the dissolving of the waves. Which means that spiritual awakening, rather than being an escape from the waves, or a disembodied transcendence of them, is actually a total love of them, an inseparability from them. It is a wild love affair with the human mess, with the loose ends of things. It is the discovery of unspeakable grace within the unresolved messiness of being human.So, in this place, our questions are left hanging, and there are no conclusions, and our plans may or may not come to fruition, and our never-ending story is totally unresolved, and still, and still, there is this very alive, very still, very dependable, very peaceful space of deep rest in the midst of it all, and it is our true Home, and it never needs to be understood.”- Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago  ·  

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I’LL TRAVEL WITH YOU [I received this heartbreakingly beautiful, love-infused letter-poem from a friend. He sent it in response to my last newsletter. It moved me so deeply. He gave me his permission to share it with all of you. It speaks of the kind of love that never gives up, a love that is beyond words yet also willing to get its hands dirty, a spiritual love that is fully human, ready and willing to hold us exactly as we are, how we are, where we are. A Divine love that cannot be broken on the cross of life. Jeff.]“Dearest Jeff,That bad, huh? I'm sorry to hear.Let's do this pilgrimage together. Yes, I'll walk with you. Crawling up the mountain towards the cross on shredded hands and knees if need be. But you know that, don't you?We have been parasited upon. Invaded unknowingly by this uninvited little sucker that spread its stuff all around our vital systems. We were helpless, defenseless. We gave ourselves up to it without knowing, without giving it a thought. And that left us with nothing but pain, madness and despair.I'll be desperate with you. Kill myself if need be.But not today, friend, not today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Maybe in an hour or so, but not now. Not now.Thanks for the inspiration to carry this load with you. I wish I could say this burden was light, but it isn't. Not today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Maybe in an hour or so, but not now.Now, it is time to weep in my powerlessness.With love, in love, from love,Paul B.” ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago  ·  

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I felt so alone when I first got the diagnosis. Until literally thousands of you warriors started reaching out to me, sharing your courageous personal journeys with Lyme (and POTS, and CFS/ME, and so many other chronic, misunderstood, under-researched and pitifully under-funded conditions). It’s a terrifying disease, Lyme, especially when you know the squiggly bacteria is in your nervous system and brain now. And especially when friends and even family struggle to believe that you’re not making up or exaggerating your symptoms cos they do sound so extreme I must admit. When they call you crazy, say you must be making it up, say it’s all in your head or it’s all just psychological or caused by trauma, or “come on it’s not really that bad is it”, and what do they know. Ableism. The privelege of health. But I do feel less alone now. I do know I am not one alone but one of many. I did not choose this path. It chose me and what can I say. I am taking the steps, or they are letting themselves be taken. Or God is breathing me. I don’t know. Day by day is all I can handle. Moment by moment. Sometimes not even that. Sometimes standing at the heart of terror, staring death in the face. Living and dying closer than ever. Sometimes crying like a little baby, sometimes laughing like a Buddha, and maybe the baby is the Buddha. I really don’t know. What I do know… is that your loving support is helping to keep me afloat. I have tried in my own little way to support humanity over the years, and this reflection feels so beautiful now. And so tomorrow, brain foggy and exhausted, I will start getting hooked up to IV’s, and we will see. We will see. I love you my friends, even if we’ve never met… we have met, haven’t we? Maybe long ago.❤️- Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago  ·  

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WILL YOU REMIND ME OF MY OWN TEACHINGS?I have Lyme disease. Apparently I’ve had it for years. It’s entered my brain now.It’s causing - amongst other things - extreme brain fog, memory loss, an inability to think clearly, or even reach a basic sense of rationality sometimes. At its worst it’s like being lost in thick black smoke and fog, unable to speak, unable to access linear time in any way, unable to contact the outside world, unable to remember where I am, or how I got here, or what time of day it is, or if anything’s real at all. A state of total confusion, detachment, a kind of limbo and dementia-like hell. Like drowning.Like what happened to my father only a few short years ago. It’s fucking scary. And I’ve experienced many terrifying states in my life. But this takes the cake, as they say.I will admit it, I’ve been on the edge of suicide many times in the last 9 months because of these horrific symptoms.This disease has pushed me to the cliff edge.Physically, psychologically. Taken me to the boundary of my capacities.Shown me my limits, shattered my hubris.Taken me by surprise.Brought me to my damn knees.Opened my heart in total compassion for anyone on the planet struggling with chronic illness.Anyone who has been disbelieved, gaslit, told it’s all in their heads. Anyone who’s suffering at all. I thought I was strong. I have been through so much in my life and I always found the strength to keep going.(Maybe I am strong).I’ve very nearly ended my life a few times in the last 9 months. I have to state the truth.I must state the facts.Very nearly left the body and returned to source.I can admit it now.Yes I can admit it publicly now.There’s no shame in crying out to your God when you’re on the fucking cross.There’s no shame in longing for heaven when you’re in a living hell not of your own making or choosing.When life shatters all you knew.Hell, I’m still here. I am not playing the victim.I’m not ashamed of this journey I’m on.It is the human journey, every second of it.I shall talk about it openly. I will shout it all from the rooftops.I’m not ashamed to be sick.And I don’t know if I will make it. I am not embarrassed by the not knowing.I am not God, I am not all-seeing.I am a beginner.A newborn.I can only step one step at a time.I can only live life moment by moment.I don’t know how this movie ends.I hope it ends well. I do not want to die. I love life so much.So much. But in the midst of the hell of these symptoms, death feels like a dear friend.A release. Intimate, warm, beckoning, so close I can touch it, taste it, smell it.Like a warm bath on an icy December morning.Like shedding clothes that no longer fit. Like being called home by my divine mother.But I want to live! I am clinging to the hope that the treatments will work. I am inspired by all your stories of healing and remission. I am holding to the promise that relief is on the way. Antibiotics. Ozone therapy. Bee venom. Plant medicine. Medical Medium. Bio magnetic resonance something. Hyperbaric chambers. Neural retraining. Paleo. Keto. Raw. Kambo. Water fasting. Scalar waves. Coffee enemas. Hyperthermia.Fuck it, I’ll try it all. As I try to embrace where I am as much as I can.As I try to be present with today’s body as much as I can.As I try to be here now.As much as I possibly can.Yet sometimes, I just want to die. The “Fuck it” becomes stronger than the “Namaste”. Yes, Jeff Foster - “spiritual teacher”, author of books on Presence, leader of workshops on healing shame, on embracing the joy and the pain of life, on dismantling stories, exposing core wounds, inquiring into beliefs that drive suffering and sorrow - he just wants to die sometimes.In the midst of the Lyme dementia, all my wisdom goes to shit.Lymey shit.No. Wait. I don’t want to die. I want to live.I have everything to live for.Everything. I have friends who love me, projects that need to be completed, works to do in the world, so many adventures I want to have.But this disease just makes me want to leave sometimes.Fuck. Maybe that’s spiritual too.To want to leave. To long for relief.And to tell the fucking truth about it!The raw, unpleasant, inconvenient, liberating truth.Yes, maybe that’s spiritual too. Maybe it’s spiritual, to be a broken mess on life’s altar, to embrace Thanatos and the wild untameable darkness and the Lymey shit of it all. Some people have told me this “disease” isn’t real and is all in my head. (Oh, I see their pain, their projection, their own fear. I forgive them now. A chaotic, “unfair” world is the greatest terror to the answer-seeking mind.)Some people have told me this is all just my childhood trauma emerging, my abandonment wound rupturing, all just repressed emotion that I never dealt with. (How can they know for sure, I ask them? How can we ever speak for another? Do infected ticks only sniff out bodies with repressed emotion? Do viruses only select those with suppressed grief and issues of self-worth?)And they say, ah, you must be frightened of the darkness you'll find if you dare to look, and I say to them, wow, you don’t know me at all my friend, you don’t know me at all. Some people have told me I’m making up my symptoms, exaggerating my struggle, seeking attention. Are they not exaggerating theirs, bless them, in that moment, seeking attention, making things up? I’ve seen conscious and unconscious reactions to this illness. I’ve been at the receiving end of disbelief, gaslighting, downright abuse and the most insane spiritual bypassing. But mostly I’ve received such love and compassion, understanding and validation. So many unexpected gifts. So many words of inspiration, friends who have held me, unexpected support that has arisen, bonds that have been strengthened, relationships that have healed.(Yes, healing is possible, even when we are sick!).But I won’t lie.This is traumatic for sure. Being in a body and brain battered by bothersome bacteria.It is terrifying at times.Nothing like I’ve ever experienced.Sometimes I cry for that which I have lost. Sometimes I rage to the heavens, longing for the life - and abilities - I used to have. Why me? Why now? Why this? I’ve been a good person, I think, I hope. Why this terrible suffering?Why this disease, of all diseases?And why now, in the prime of my life?When I was so happy and healthy?Why this disease, and why now, and... what the fuck?!?It makes no sense. Maybe it’s not meant to. I know, I am not the only one suffering, asking these questions, raging to the heavens, sitting in the rubble of an old life.Millions are suffering as much as me on this planet. Many far more than me.They are all my kin.They can all sit with me at this table.No, I am not “wallowing” in my pain.I am not playing the “victim”. I am not asking for “attention” when I ask for help.I am not “overidentified” with the bodymind when I weep over it.I am human and to be human is divine and this I know more clearly than I know my own breath and I will die for this truth. Yes, I will die for these truths:There is no shame in being broken, and brokenness is not shameful. And there is no shame in our shame.And our vulnerability is as powerful as our power. And our femininity is equal to our masculinity and perhaps greater than it for we all emerge from softness.And suffering is not a punishment.Sadness is not a tantrum.Anger is not unspiritual. Fear is nothing less than a beloved child of the universe.And we are not weak when we ask for help. And we are always doing our best.I am a human being, who has been dealt a difficult hand, for unknown reasons, and that’s it. Some people say this “trial” will make me stronger.Some say I am ascending.Some say I will break through into a new dimension.Some say if I can surrender completely to the process, it will all heal.Fuck. I don’t know.It’s Lyme disease. It’s a mystery all of its own. From a little infected tick bite, the utter devastation of a life.The body trying to survive, doing all it can to keep me going now.The heart struggling to pump blood up to the brain. The immune and nervous systems under constant assault.The exhaustion, the brain fog, the tremors, the memory loss, the breathlessness.And here I am, witnessing it all, trying to process it all, in the midst of it all, feeling it all, trying to make sense of something that makes no sense, trying to anchor to glimmers of light in the night and fog.Trying to stay alive, trying to hold on, trying to find some beauty in the pain.The longing to live, the longing to die.The will to survive, and the exhaustion that wants to sleep forever and be free from suffering. Here I am, in the midst of life.Do I have any clever spiritual teachings today?Any evocative poetry to bring hope to the world? Any channelled, enlightened words about bliss and joy and the pure Awareness that never suffers?Anything remotely uplifting or positive at all? Not today. Nope, not today.Today, I suffer.Today, I beg for mercy.Today, I contemplate the end.Fuck it. Let me be raw and authentic with the whole world now.There is nothing to lose, there never was.If you are struggling, friend, if you suffer, if you feel broken today and long for relief.You are not a failure, not worthless.Not playing the victim.Not “unevolved” or “unenlightened” (you are the light, and that is that). Not over-identified with your suffering.You didn’t manifest this.The Law of Attraction would never punish you.You have not sinned. You are as beautiful as you ever were.Maybe even more so in your transparency, your authenticity, with your raw messy aching heart on full display, and your longing is dear to me, my friend, and I wish to spend more time with you. And so. And so.Here I am.Here we are. Will you sit with me awhile and hold my hand? Will you remind me to keep breathing, keep holding on, keep remembering that there is treatment, and healing is possible, and many people go into remission, and I only have to live a moment of this anyway?Will you remind me of my own teachings?Will you hold out hope when I forget hope?Will you drive me to a doctor’s appointment? Make me food when I’m too weak to get out of bed? Have patience when I can’t get the right words out? Be an advocate for me? Fight for me, as I have fought for you? Break down doors for me, when I’m so confused that I can’t speak for myself, or even know which door to open? Will you put your own views to one side, lay down the terrible load of dogma, and listen?Will you understand my experience without projecting your own?Will you love me as I have loved you, friend?Will you meet me here, in the devastation of the old world?- Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago  ·  

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CLOSE TO THE EDGESometimes you find yourself close to the edge. The old existence, the one that yesterday seemed so solid, so fixed like a billion year-old stellar constellation, has shattered. No way of getting back to the way things were, it seems. No way of rewinding the movie and you ache to rewind. A terrible nostalgia for “back then” and its happy obliviousness to each tomorrow. A painful sense of regret in your belly and chest. And because the past has disintegrated the future has too. No way of knowing “what’s next” anymore. Everything feels out of sync, out of your hands, out of balance and out of control. Your plans have collapsed into the sounds of morning traffic. Your hopes and dreams have reduced to the raindrops pitter-pattering on your window. All you have left… is the present moment. And even that doesn’t feel a safe place to be anymore. The body does not understand life in the abstract. You are in time but out of it, on solid ground but it feels so groundless now. Like you are living in someone else’s dream. Like you cannot recognize yourself here. Like you are being asked to begin again but you don’t know where everything ended. Like your life is over, but it carries on. And the visitors come. Age-old reverberations of helplessness. A deep and dreadful anxiety that doesn’t feel like it’s yours. A terrible grief that would destroy or save the entire world if it could. A lostness, a sense of abandonment, like a child without protection, like light without its star. A heart that beats in unfamiliar ways. Breathing that feels more constricted, tense. A discomfort throughout the body. You don’t feel at home in your own home. (“Come to me”, the Universe cries.)What do you do, here, close to the edge of things?Well, you breathe, as well as you can. You prepare some tea. You speak with a friend, or join with them in a silence that understands. You do the next thing, or it does you, or you sit for a while, despairing under an unfamiliar sky. Homeless, scared, intimate with a painful truth - Yes, sometimes, close to the edge, you find yourself. - Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago  ·  

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My sweet sisters and brothers... Is anyone else out there living with chronic neurological Lyme disease? I would love to hear from you, how you’re managing your symptoms - especially the brain fog, memory loss and other cognitive impairments this condition brings - and what’s helping you deal/heal, if anything? PM me or comment below. 😥❤️🙏🏻 ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago  ·  

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STAY TRUE TO YOURSELFJeff Foster's Health Update & Newsletter14th May 2021 "Survival in grief,even eventually building a new life alongside grief,comes with the willingness to bear witness,both to yourself and to the others who find themselvesinside this life they didn’t see coming."- Megan Devine Dear Friends,Once again, I’m writing to thank you from the very bottom of my heart for the quite literally thousands of letters and social media messages and posts of love and support you’ve been sending me. I've been utterly overwhelmed by your loving notes since I sent my 'confession' message out in my previous newsletter. Thank you thank you thank you to those of you who have shared your journeys and stories with me, details of your heroic battles with chronic and mysterious illnesses, plus details of your protocols and the things that have helped you heal, and helpful links to doctors and clinics and healers who might be able help me too…Although I can’t reply to you all personally of course, especially now due to my limited energy and capacities, please know that I am so very grateful, and you have all been so helpful. And once again, to those of you who have sent donations, I am beyond grateful, beyond touched...Since I sent out my last newsletter, I have tested positive for Chronic Lyme Disease. Results indicate that I was bitten by an infected tick in the USA… most likely some years ago during travels for a retreat. As some of you know, Lyme is a known trigger for POTS/dysautonomia and would further explain the neuro-cognitive issues, extreme fatigue, short term memory loss, and debilitating dementia-like 'brain fog' that I've been experiencing nearly every day now for over 8 months. Now that I know more clearly what’s happening physically in my body, I can hopefully hone in on the right treatment(s). We have found a clinic in the UK that specializes in the treatment of Lyme and its related conditions and I hope to be able to attend this clinic very soon.As I shared with you in my last newsletter, I am pretty desperate for real help at this point. I’ve been so debilitated by this condition. But I’m trying to stay as present, as patient and as hopeful as I possibly can. And it’s not easy…I will update you on my situation as and when I am able.I thank you once again from the bottom of my heart for all your love and support. It’s touching to know that there are so many of you out there, holding me in love as I face the biggest challenge of my life.And my goodness, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who are struggling with illness – emotional and/or physical - right now. You are all so courageous and I am holding you in my heart. *I wanted to share with you a Facebook article I wrote last month. It seems to have touched so many people around the world, so I’m sharing it with all of you here.In this article, I speak of the importance of being believed when we are in emotional or physical pain or distress. And how being vulnerable and needing support is not the same as being weak or ‘playing the victim’ or ‘being in fear’. And that “You’re not really sick, it’s all just in your head and you need to toughen up!” is one of the most violent, cruel and deeply unconscious things we could ever say to each other.Because how could we ever truly know someone else’s deepest internal experience, or the contents of their heart and soul? Deep understanding is at the very basis of all healing....And we need to learn to listen to each other, now more than ever.Because deep listening IS love.With all my love,Jeff xxx*STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF:THE DANGERS OF SPIRITUAL, MEDICAL AND THERAPEUTIC GASLIGHTING(AND THE RELIEF OF BEING BELIEVED)by Jeff Foster "Let me be crystal clear: if you’ve faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person… you have every right to remove them from your life.Grief is brutally painful. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When opportunities are shattered, you grieve. When dreams die, you grieve. When illnesses wreck you, you grieve.So I’m going to repeat a few words I’ve uttered countless times; words so powerful and honest they tear at the hubris of every jack*ss who participates in the debasing of the grieving:'Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.'"- Tim Lawrence (from “Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason”)*I love these wise words from Tim Lawrence, and the beautiful quote from Megan Devine at the end:"Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried."I want to say a little about what it means to be supported through tragedy.When we are sick, injured, in pain, experiencing a shattering of the old life, we can feel very vulnerable, powerless.... and we can long for answers, solutions. In our desperation, we can be drawn to confident, self-assured people – doctors, masters, healers, therapists, gurus - who seem like they have the cures, answers, fixes, solutions, remedies and magic potions. It can feel like a matter of life and death for us sometimes, this search for relief, for a way to get through the day… or even for just for a moment’s respite from bodily agony.In such a weakened, defenceless, groundless, frightened state, we can become easy targets for others trying to push their beliefs, theories and dogmas onto us.“Gaslighting”, simply put, is when a person, or a cult-like group of people, manipulates you into deeply doubting your own reality, questioning your own first-hand perceptions and experiences and memories and feelings, distrusting the things you know in your very gut.In the presence of such manipulation, you understandably become confused about your own deepest values and beliefs, and begin to doubt your own inner compass, even your own memories. You feel dizzy, dazed, groundless, lost and alone. Gaslighters do this – consciously or not - in order to destabilise you and have control over you, and ultimately make you dependent on them. They play the guru to your disciple, the powerful “One Who Knows” to your ignorant child, the Wizard of Oz to your Dorothy.They do this in order to run from their own pain, fear, shame… and lack of answers.Family members may not believe us when we tell them that we have pains and aches in the body, or uncomfortable or frightening sensations, or that we are feeling fatigued or unwell. They may try to convince us that we are just lazy, or looking for attention, or being manipulative or self-centred.“You're not really in that much pain. Come on, you’re exaggerating!”“You're so selfish! Why don’t you think about my pain for once in your life!”“Why don’t you see a shrink? It’s clearly all in your head!”Spiritual teachers may tell us that we have “created” our own sickness, manifested our own cancer, brought our own heart or lung or kidney condition, infection, sickness into being through our unconsciousness. They may proclaim that our pain or misfortune isn’t real, it’s just our fearful ego looking for validation, it’s just our closed heart and our resistance to life manifesting in the body, it’s just an illusion, and we are just playing the victim. And if we can just surrender, if we can just “kill the ego” or “rest as Pure Awareness”, or meditate deeply enough, or “let go” of the mind or body enough, we will surely be well again.“Fully awakened beings never get sick!”“You are just playing the victim card!”“You are totally in your fear and in your ego!”Others – healers, therapists, friends, family, often well-meaning and well-intentioned, although not always - may tell us that we are sick simply because we are emotionally repressed, or that our “illness”, which isn’t really an “illness”, is a good thing, a wonderful thing, destined to happen, and anyway, it’s all just a manifestation of our unprocessed trauma, and when we get in touch with our buried childhood or pre-childhood feelings, and finally face our core issues, all our symptoms will magically disappear.“You’re sick because of your unresolved childhood trauma. It’s your toxic relationship with your mother… you need to get in touch with your rage towards her right now!”“Your illness is a test from the Universe! Embrace it! It’s a wonderful part of your healing journey! You should be so excited!”Such simplistic ideas are utterly compelling.(And... I don’t doubt that getting in touch with and expressing repressed emotions and finding the meaning in our suffering and inquiring deeply into our trauma and softening into our pain – at the right time, with the right support, and with our full consent - can be a huge part of the healing process for some people, sometimes, with some conditions.)Religious people might tell us that our illness is some kind of punishment from God, or that we are experiencing the effects of karma, or that we have sinned in a previous life, and so we “deserve” this tragedy in our lives somehow. Medical doctors, too, might diagnose us with certain diseases, physical or psychological conditions, and give us their prognosis, and tell us that that their view is the objective, unquestionable, unshakeable truth. (And I am not against Western medicine at all).The point is, what is YOUR truth?Whose path do YOU follow?Who has the answers for YOU?There are so many lenses through which to view the body and its aches and pains and imbalances and limitations. There are so many people offering so many perspectives, especially these days. The mind-body connection is truly mysterious, no doubt. But the truth is… nobody really knows the truth! At least, for you. Nobody really knows your deepest truth. So, be careful when you give someone "advice". You may see a top doctor in London or New York, and they may diagnose you with a certain “disease”… and they may end up being wrong. You may see a trauma specialist who is utterly convinced that your cancer or fatigue or depression or chronic pain has trauma or repressed emotion as its absolute root cause… but they may end up being misguided, wrong, off the mark, reductive in their certainty. You may see a spiritual teacher who just “knows” that your disease is a wonderful gift from the universe, or a “sign” that your body is ready for the next level of enlightenment or the next stage of spiritual evolution… and that may end up being completely, utterly false. The point is, everyone you speak to is going to have a different perspective on what’s happening in YOUR body and mind.The honest ones will own their own perspective, humbly offer what’s been helpful to them, but admit that ultimately they do not know for sure what the right path is for you. They will own their own projections. They will give you your authority and sovereignty and freedom, yet acknowledge that you are in a vulnerable state, frightened and seeking answers. They will not take advantage of you in that tender place. They will honour your ache and your path. They will not speak for you. They will listen, deeply, to you. They will hold you in Presence. They will grieve with you, weep with you, rage to the heavens with you. They will not invalidate your yearning, and not gaslight you around your symptoms, your pain, your struggle. You will feel loved, and believed, and understood, and safe, and your nervous system will sense this safety, it is programmed to do this.The unconscious ones, unfortunately, will force their perspective on you, will claim to know the absolute truth, and will make you feel bad or wrong or bad or at least deeply naive for not believing, not signing up to their cult, not seeing them as the authority, “The One who Sees Clearly”. By denying your reality, contradicting you and even themselves at times, throwing in false and half-true information, and minimising or downright ignoring your feelings and perspectives and memories and “symptoms”, they’ll gradually make you question and doubt your emotional, spiritual and physical reality and truth and even your sanity… until you are utterly reliant on them, under their spell, a disciple to their guru, a powerless “patient”, willing to do and be and believe anything they say, repressing your own grief and rage and truth. In your total innocence, you have given your power away.Medical doctors can be cult leaders. Spiritual teachers can be cult leaders. Psychotherapists, trauma specialists, healers, life coaches, friends and family members can be cult leaders, without ever realising it.When it comes to the mysteries of the bodymind, nobody really knows what’s best… for YOU.As Nietzche said, no matter how “right” we think we are, we are all imperfect, and “human, all too human…”When you’re being gaslit, you’ll most likely feel like you’re going crazy. You’ll feel unsafe, unstable, groundless, dizzy, like you don’t know what to believe anymore, like your whole life was a lie, like you can’t trust your own deepest intuition or senses anymore. You’ll wonder if anything you saw or felt or heard or thought or perceived was real.But you aren’t crazy. You’ve just silenced the roar in your guts, the part that knows, and let someone else’s projections become your reality.(Part of you wants to believe that someone else has the truth. Of course! You want to get better. You want to heal. You want to stay safe. You are so innocent. No blame here. Bless our innocent hearts!)I’m not telling you to distrust everyone, or suggesting that everyone is out to manipulate you or drive you crazy. I’m not saying that some people don’t have answers for you, or at least, helpful teachings, therapies, medications, treatments, insights, and so on. I’m not saying there is no hope for you, and I’m not telling you not to pursue every modality of healing that you’re called to pursue.I’m not saying that miracles don’t happen every single day.I’m not even saying that one day, with time and integration, you won’t begin to find your own deep meaning, and even perspective and purpose, in your current tragedy.I’m just reminding you to stay true to yourself now. Trust your own deepest experience, even if it’s painful. I’m reminding you to listen to your guts, every step of the way, even if you are weak, tired, full of grief and exhausted from the journey. To listen… as if your life depended on it, because it does.Even if you are made to feel wrong or naïve or crazy for doing so.Even if they laugh at you and mock you when you follow your own path.Even if you have to step away from false hopes and promises of Utopia and perfect health, and plunge more deeply into the Dark and Wild Unknown. Even if they say you're "playing the victim" or "lost in your ego". Illness is not weakness.Suffering is not shameful or a sign of failure.You are not “playing the victim” if you are vulnerable, scared, in pain, and asking for help and support. You are not "weak" or "too sensitive" if you're scared and lonely and don't know what the next step is. As the great Greek playwrights knew, tragedy and misfortune, sickness and pain, can befall anyone, at any time.None of us are immune, none of us are protected from “the will of the gods”, and our hubris will be crushed in the end.The ego has no hope of controlling the chaos of relative existence.Sometimes there are no easy answers. None.Sometimes nothing makes sense anymore.Sometimes we just have to grieve.And rage at the heavens.And face the future,bravely, without answers.Trust your gut, your intuition, your knowing, your deep heart, my friends – These are the Inner Lights that cannot die. With love,Jeff xxx ************* THE ETERNAL RETURN Mother. Father. I forgive you.I no longer wait for forgiveness for I no longer wait for myself. I stand here, whole.Frightened, trembling, but whole in fear, complete in my trembling.I am bigger than any of us imagined. Great and ancient terrors well up inside of me, yes, mother, but I am willing to give them a home now.A searing loneliness surges up from the underworld, yes, father, but I have learned to stand inside it and not reach to you for a salvation that could never come.I have lost God but found God in the absence of God.In the infinite blackness, I have found hope. Mother. Father. Do your work as I have done mine. Meet your darkness as I have met my own.Your neglect was your own self-neglect projected.Your abuse was your own self-abuse thrown blindly into this world.What you did to me, you did to yourself first. Your own inner children are crying out. Do your work. Face your pain.Or do not, and face its eternal return. Mother. Father. I forgive you.I have no time to waste on blame any longer.I am stepping into my wildness now. My raging truth.Walking my authentic path towards that glorious horizon(which I sense is my own deepest self).I give everything to my own heart now, all that was denied.I shall no longer postpone a full participation in the glory.I forgive everything that was not given and I give everything for this forgiveness.I step bravely into the Unknown. I step bravely into myself.Mother. Father.As you birthed me, I birth my own body and uniqueness now.I died, yes, but I shall be new and you shall not recognise me.I find nothing left to forgive, only the dream of how it was “supposed to be”.I raged at the old dream, I incinerated the old dream with my rage and in the ashes of the old dream I found clarity and brand new purpose.I grieved the old dream, I wept out the old dream, I drowned it with my tears and at the bottom of the well of my abandoned self, I found peace, and a strange willingness to keep walking.And I began to dream anew.My own new dream.And that is whyI can forgive you now.Mother. Father. - Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less

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wonderofbeing @wonderofbeing
Hi Everyone. As you may know, our dear friend Jeff Foster is seriously ill with chronic neurological Lyme disease a… https://t.co/GcE9KU6CPh
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