Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Tired Less Wired

I had a few wonderful days last week.  My cold lingered, but it wasn’t getting me down.  I was sleeping long hours – usually 9 and sometimes 10 each night.  Walking around with a smile on my face, I took care of things in the house, went to the gym several times, and made my pilgrimage to Columbus for an i.v. and an acupuncture treatment.  I felt brave enough to try some DMPS in my i.v. once again.

It charged me up a little, but not enough to keep me from falling asleep, albeit later than normal.  It was in the wee hours of the morning that I felt its effects:  waking in a panic from a nightmare, drifting off again, waking later from another nightmare, repeating the experience one more time until I roused myself from bed, tired and stressed, wishing I knew this was the impact of mercury moving around and being released from my brain.

Two days later, determined to keep my resolve to do aerobic exercise daily and add 15 to 30 seconds each day, I schlepped over to the gym when I was still tired and pushed through my meager workout.   A few hours later, CRASH!

Cold, tired, and wired, I got through the evening, but in the morning, chest and sinus congestion took over once again!  O the folly of trying to keep resolutions with this illness!  I let myself give into sloth and lethargy and chocolate.  Mmmmmm...

As my mind began its downward spiral, I remembered another resolution I’d made last week: to surrender to the divine unfolding of my healing journey without attaching to the results.

This is the practice of yoga, as I understand it.

My understanding had been bolstered by some reading I was doing last week.  In Secret of the Siddhas by Swami Muktananda, there is an interesting story (#212, p. 55) about Arjuna.  He’s the valient hero of the Bhagavad Gita, the one to whom Lord Krishna (an incarnation of God in human form) reveals all the secrets of yoga.  But in this story, Arjuna is without Krishna. First he travels to find him, only to learn that Krishna had been killed.  Overcome by sorrow, he follows Krishna’s dying command to transport women, children, arms and wealth to another village.  On the way, his caravan is stopped by a young robber, and he is incapable of preventing the robbery.

I wanted to find the source of the story, so I read through the entire Bhavagad Gita (a feat I’d never had the discipline to undertake) but it wasn’t there.  I googled and. with the help of a knowledgeable friend, found the story in the sacred text known as the Bhagavatham, an epic of the life of Krishna.  Part of this detailed account resonated with me:
When Arjuna was stopped, the robber demanded: "Leave me the women, wealth and weapons and be on your way with the hags and children."
Arjuna was shocked and became angry.  He replied, "Let me introduce myself. I am Arjun, son of Pandu, who almost single-handedly defeated the Kaurava army in the Mahabharata war. Now get out of the way and let us proceed."
But the robber replied, "When I was a child, my mother told me about the war and recounted your exploits in it. Since then I have had a burning desire to test my skill against yours. God has given this opportunity to me. Lift your bow and defend yourself."
Arjuna tried to lift his bow, but it felt like lead.  He felt dizzy, and then fainted.  When he recovered consciousness he found that the robber had taken everything of value.  This loss spurred him to remember an event in the past when Krishna told him: "I am your strength Arjuna and your valour has brought fruit because I am by your side. By yourself you are nothing."
Muktananda explained the significance of this story:  
O my friend, Arjuna’s victories had never been due to his victories but to Krishna’s grace. Because of his wrong understanding of the Lord’s true nature, Arjuna lost all his strength and became weak.  Even a single though of Krishna would have been enough to give him strength, but now ordinary tribal boys defeated him.  He did not remember Krishna so he no longer had Krishna’s grace.
Remember that as long as Shri Guru’s grace and compassion are with Muktananda, he is fine.  Otherwise, he is worth only a penny. 
What humility!  How easy Baba makes it seem to give up our pride of being the doer! 

I could relate to Arjuna being weak, dizzy, and forgetful.  I even found it consoling that he forgot!  If Arjuna could, in a moment of crisis, forget everything about the presence of the Divine within, how could I not be gentle with myself when I forget? 

For years I have received great strength from my yoga practice.  Yet often, before I realize what I’m doing, I default to the old patterns.  Then as I muddle around, I eventually realize that I can choose a different response.

The day before reading Muktananda’s text on Arjuna, I had been able to step back from the drama of my ever-changing symptoms and become the witness-observer.   I saw that my own thoughts were my greatest torment.  I was judging one symptom as bad and another as good, ignoring Krishna’s advice (in the Bhagavad Gita) that “Delusion arises from the duality of aversion and attraction.”  My dualistic judgments had brought joy and hope on the one hand, anger and sadness on the other.   When I remembered how I had found strength in the spiritual practice of yoga, I resolved to turn my conscious desires toward knowing God.  I would make it a daily practice to surrender to the divine unfolding of my journey without attaching to the results. 

Swami Chidvilasananda {Gurumayi} wrote in Remembrance:. 
Permeating the earth, I sustain all Beings with my strength, said Lord Krishna.  He is telling us He is the strength.  Isn’t that a great discovery? You don’t have to work so hard anymore.  You just have to think of the Lord and you have all the strength you need. It’s true. You can experience it for yourself.

Krishna says to Arjuna (BG 18:65):  Fix your mind on me always, worship me, make every act an offering to me, and in this way, you shall truly come to me. 

I shared my story with friends and colleagues at a meditation center before we chanted and meditated together last week. 

When I noticed the downward spiral of my mind – before I made myself miserable – I remembered my share.  I remembered the words I had spoken (surrender to the divine unfolding of my journey without attaching to the results) and I pulled out of that spiral, back to a centered place of calm watchfulness.
Perhaps I will never give up wanting to get well, but I can give up the suffering that comes from resisting the obstacles and resenting the long journey. 

A few days later, the nightmares transformed into unmemorable dreams.  After two exercise-free days, I slept 10 ½ hours, breaking my previous record.  I am more tired, but less wired.  Whether this is good or bad, I do not know.  It is what it is.  And that is all there is presently.


  1. Janis I think this is a good sign! Do you remember cfs ppl cant sleep full 8 hrs they sleep 3 to 4 hrs wake up middle of nite and then few hrs of very light sleep waking up every hr? You used to have this but now if you can sleep full 7 or 8 or even 9 hrs without really waking up your system is working and repairing itself, I wish I was in that postion.

  2. Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?


  3. Well yes, it is a good sign to be sleeping. I have actually felt good (for about 5 minutes) after 10 hours of sleep. I'm not complaining about sleeping as I love to sleep. It was the daytime fatigue, and the depression and anxiety, that were feeding each other. I seem to have fewer physical symptoms these days and more neuro-emotional symptoms than ever before. On my way to becoming a crazy crone.


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