Sunday Sermon (February 8, 2009)

¡Hola! Everybody…
It’s winter in America

* * *

-=[ Time and Healing ]=-

“What I’m talkin’ about is a game… A game that can’t be won only played… ”

The Legend of Bagger Vance


These days I am reminded that even in the worst of times, there are lessons to be learned. There’s a saying in prisons that goes something like, “You can do the time or let the time do you,” meaning that one presumably always has options — even in the worst of times.

We’re all doing time. Actually, some of us are doing time, while others are letting time do them.

I know I’m losing some people right about now. LOL! Just bear with me, all this might make sense later.

With respect to time, have you ever noticed how it seems to pass differently under different situations? For example, I am fortunate that my work involves my passion. I’m able to focus all my talents — my intellect, my passion, my creativity — into my work. There are times when I’m so deeply immersed in my work that time seems to stand still. I get into a “flow” and it’s as if I’m on an extended downstroke of a delicious fuck. Or sometimes when I’m writing, I can enter a creative state in which time and space meld and it’s as if something else is writing through me. I become a vehicle for this creative flow that results in this writing. My best writing comes from those moments. Sometimes, I look back at things I have written and I’m amazed! I swear that I’m reading the output of a different person! LOL

Maybe this is a better analogy: have you ever been in love? When you’re in love, you love every beat of your heart. In fact, “falling” in love is the healthiest thing you can do. Not only is your physical heart strengthened, but also your entire physiology — all the glands, organs, immune system, etc. — is sparked on to peak performance. Life takes on a deeper meaning. In other words, you’re living for something beyond yourself. In this state, time and space morph into a healing force that we’re only beginning to understand.

If, on the other hand, you’re allowing time to do you, life becomes a series of flight or fight episodes. In fact, much of the way conservatives rule is by activating this fight or flight syndrome. Sociologists call it the “Culture of Fear.” But I digress…

If you’re letting time do you, you probably wake up each morning to an alarm — with a start. The first thing you might notice is that you have too many things to do in too little highly segmented blocks of minutes and hours. The true irony of modern life is that despite all the time-saving technology at our disposal, not only are we more anxious and worried, it’s as if we’ve placed our brains into a pressure cooker heated by powerful social forces. Our socially-induced exhaustion, combined with time pressure and noise, warps our perception of time, which drowns our spirit in a sea of despair. All of this creates a tremendous amount of hardship for our nervous system to handle.

Erectile Dysfunction! Frigidity! Shaking Leg Syndrome! Memory Loss! Dating! Debt! Stimulus Package!

We live in a zero-sum society that conditions us to perceive life as a contest in which something or someone is to be won or conquered and it’s all a very elaborate and illusory game. I was reading recently that our brains are bombarded daily with over 5,000 instances of logos, advertisements, and commercials. The brain’s reticular activating system simply shuts them from our consciousness as a defense against neural burnout. The bad thing is that it leaves our nervous system frayed. Long-term exposure to high stress levels will not only age you, it will weaken the body systems you depend on to stay alive. If I define stress as “the feeling that your ability to perform is exceeded by the demands you must meet,” then it follows that stress kills — literally.

The first thing you notice when you try to sit still even for a moment is the wild, undisciplined nature of our thought-stream. Becoming more conscious of what is garbage — hand-me-down religious beliefs, for example — and what is our own, is an enlightening and healing process. Thoughts have a physiological component. To put it simply, thoughts are chemicals. These chemicals can poison you and confuse you, or they heal and bless you.

While time presumably passes the same for everyone, not everyone is affected in the same way. If time is doing you, then so do high levels of stress hormones, which inhibit the brains ability to use blood sugar in the brain’s memory center. Not only is your memory adversely affected, so are your brain cells. Cortisol breaks down the function of your brain’s neurotransmitters, resulting in a state very similar to a dysfunctional national electricity grid — the power lines come down. Your biocomputer breaks down during emotional storms.

If you want to do time rather than have time do you (in), there are a few things you can do. This is especially true when times are difficult. For one, set aside to meditate daily, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes. Meditation drops your oxygen requirements by up to 20 percent — that’s twelve percent better than a good night’s sleep — helping counteract the oxygen-depriving effects of high stress levels. It also decreases blood lactate levels responsible for anxiety.

Also, some physical activity (preferably real exercise), even if it’s something as simple as walking, will help counteract the suppression of the immune system.

Finally, remember falling in love? Well, you can attain that level of inner physical well-being right now. You don’t have to wait until you fall in love. That potential to heal, to nurture, to make whole is your birthright. That healing force of love is the Divine within you — what or who are you waiting for to bathe in all that glorious light?

Love,

Eddie

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