The Wheel Turns
At the hospital, there were a lot of people surrounding me, doctors and nurses and friends and relatives. They all had long faces and kept saying, “You poor guy, you’ve had a stroke!” And by absorbing their mindsets, I started to think of myself as a “poor guy,” another stroke victim…. None of them had much hope for me.
This sense came from almost everybody—except for the cleaning woman. Whenever she came into my room, she was totally present with me. She knew. She didn’t see me as a medical disaster. She saw me as a fellow soul….
In the following weeks, Ram Dass’s experience shifted:
Maharaj-ji’s giggle was the antidote for my depression, in that I was done thinking about the stroke…. Now my faith came back, and I could speak to Maharaj-ji. I had completely forgotten he had said, “If you want to find God, go to the hospital.”
I found myself in my soul, in soul land. I went from not feeling his presence at all to being in the place in myself where he lives. It was an almost instantaneous shift to another plane….
I looked at the effects of the stroke, and there were few that couldn’t also be seen as positive. My physical limitations made me dependent on others. I’d been such a helper—that was my thing!
I saw how the silence of my mind deepened into meditation, and how the intervals in my broken speech allowed others to become quiet too. My feelings of humiliation at my new dependency turned into humility in the face of the love I felt from my caregivers. My embarrassment at my helplessness became gratitude. —from Being Ram Dass