Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Ebenezer - From Lani

So my dear friend Lani--I love her--but sometimes she is a stinker and won't take a drink of water even though she may be dying of thirst in the desert. Luckily she came to her senses and wrote this to share with you all.

Here she is on the left super blissed out at the Cedar City retreat.

Eben-Ezer (Hebrew: אבן העזר‎, stone of help)

For nearly two months I’ve been resisting. Going with Felice to White Tantric back in February was brutally intense. It was like an ultra-marathon for yogis, and holy cow I hadn’t done nearly enough training for that endurance feat. I came away from the experience thinking: I don’t want to meditate… ever… again.

For the most part, I haven’t. For almost two months.

And, for the past couple of weeks, life has been pummelling me with one thing after another. Before one fire was even put out, another was starting a few feet away. One. thing. after. another. I’ve been exhausted, irritable, drained of energy, sick, in physical pain, struggling to breathe, and often in despair. Worst of all, I have been angry at God, bitter that it felt like He was intentionally torturing me.

Last night I cried myself to sleep. This morning, I was awakened to the phlegmy coughing of my three-year-old, this coming after a long succession of illnesses among the rest of the family. It was the last straw. The darkness and bitterness snapped what little was left of any joy in my heart.

I was finally desperate enough for relief that I thought, “Meditation couldn’t possibly make me feel any worse than I feel right now, and it might help me feel better.” Before I could change my mind, I went into my room and closed the door. (My husband, home sick, was downstairs with the kids.) I grabbed my meditation cushion and my music. I put my hands into prayer pose and began...

“Ong namo…”

Boom. Whoosh.

A catapult released.

I soared up, up, up and out of my pit of despair.

Floodgates. I could hardly utter a sound through the tears.

After all the anger and bitterness I had been feeling toward God, there I was calling out, “I bow to you, Divine Teacher.” I sobbed as each repetition, each bow, drained all the pride and anger from my body and reconciled me with the One who could make me feel whole again.

I sobbed as I arched and breathed through “cat-cow,” finally laying my upper body prostrate on the ground, arms stretched above me. I bow to You. I surrender my bitterness. And the tears kept flowing as “ego eradicator” did its work.

Next, “Aap Sahaee Hoa” reminded me that God was not torturing me, God was my refuge and support in times of trial. I wept tears of gratitude for the grace I had been too blinded by bitterness to recognize.

Finally, I felt impressed to turn on “Come Thou Fount.” I tried to sing along but lost my voice to emotion. It was in this song-poem that I realized just where that catapult had sent me after I soared up and out of the pit of despair:

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
            Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
            Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
            Call for songs of loudest praise.
            Teach me some melodious sonnet,
            Sung by flaming tongues above.
            Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
            Mount of thy redeeming love.

Praise the mount! Redeeming love! With my feet upon that mount, I could breathe again. With my feet planted in love, I could see again.

As I tuned out and finished with three long Sat Nams, I remembered who I was. I am Truth. I do not belong to the darkness. I belong to the Longtime Sun/Son.

The burdens that had felt like a giant boulder weighing on my back only an hour before suddenly seemed light as a feather. I took that giant, weightless boulder off my back.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
            Hither by thy help I'm come;
            And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
            Safely to arrive at home.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
            Prone to leave the God I love;
            Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
            Seal it for thy courts above.

“After a long period of sadness and trouble, a consequence of Israel’s disobedience, Israel repented . . . . God restored their political security, and the people, for their part, recommitted their hearts and minds to their Lord. Samuel placed a large stone at the place where this restoration began. He publicly dedicated it [Eben-Ezer] as a monument to God’s help, God’s faithfulness, God’s eternal covenant. And as the people got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration” (Source, 1 Samuel 7:12).

Frolicking on the beach. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Lani! "Come Thou Fount" is the mantra I continually chant. It is the thing that always comes to my voice when I open my mouth to sing something to God. I feel a fresh, new start every time I sing it, which is often 10 or 20 times a day.

    But, I have been so immersed in sick kids and a messed up menstrual cycle that my meditation and chanting throughout my day has dwindled. I don't think I sang my song once today.

    I better change that! Thanks for the beautifully written reminder.