Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

April 15, 1997 – Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

My wife and I met Sylvia Boorstein at the Good Earth at 9:00 in the morning. We had such a delightful time speaking with her about everything from dharma to family drama. She is obviously a wonderful and caring person who is enjoying a happy life between Buddhism and Judaism. We talked about our favorite prayers in the synagogue and it turns out that the service for replacing the torah is both of our favorites. It talks about the torah being, “a tree of life and everyone that upholds it is happy!”

I spoke to her about my practice and she thought that it was wonderful to have “healing… free” as a meta-program throughout my breathing. I wanted to speak more to her about my practice, but the time seemed to fly by. At one point, she said, “We must learn to cultivate boundless love rather than just adhere to a structure.” We were talking about the practices of the orthodox who seem to follow the structure more than their hearts. Later, she said, “It’s not in the liturgy, it’s in the heart!” She told me about Elat Chayyim in upstate New York, which is supposed to be like a Jewish Eselan. It’s funny, but I don’t have any desire to go there. I’m sure I’ll see her again quite soon.

My massage was cancelled, so I worked in Leslie Davenport’s office until our appointment at 1:00. We worked on the financial issues in my life, which was very appropriate for what had been happening over the week end. I had images of my grandfather on my mother’s side, who seemed to be the most generous person in the family. After all, he was in his eighties and well taken care of by my mother and my uncle, Sam Sandmel, the Reformed Rabbi and publisher of many books on Jews and Jesus. But my money problems seem to go deeper into my childhood and relate to matters about feeling unworthy and rejected. There is still a lot of work to do about this area, and I plan to continue until it is resolved. One thing that Leslie said at the end of the session was that I should really focus on things that I can change in my life and let go of things that I have no control over. I thought this was appropriate advice at the time, and I’ve heard it many times before.

The most significant thing that happened in the session was just before the end. I could feel the waves of sadness starting to overcome me, even though I was still focused on my breathing, doing, “healing… free”. The feelings came, got very intense, and then started to melt away, all under the eyes of mindfulness. I experienced the impermanence of the rise and fall of the sad feelings in a way that had never touched me so deeply before. This is, according to my understanding, the text book practice of vipassana meditation.

My session with Gail Teehan was wonderful once again. We worked on my back and pelvis, and I could feel the energy shifting, as she would go through the various steps of the lesson. We are developing a wonderful connection of mutual love and support as we continue to work together. Since she’s so fond of dance and art, I invited her to Anna’s class on April 28 to come as one of my support persons.

I came home thoroughly and totally exhausted, so I headed straight for a “mind story.” This time I settled into my breathing and was able put my worries out of my mind to get a clear picture of my bladder’s “healthy cells growing all by themselves!” I felt rested and much, much better at the end of the “mind story!”

At night, we went to a dinner party at S. and C.’s just two houses away. Ten of our best neighbors were gathered together for a very nice time.


Copyright © 2004-2018, Jerome Freedman, Ph. D.