Dear Friend,

First, some good news re my health... I finally had a PET scan done two weeks ago, the most accurate gauge of perfusion (rate of blood flow) throughout my brain, and then saw the neurosurgeon for the results.

He said that while there are several arteries that are totally occluded (shut down or blocked off, the internal carotid on the left being the main one), a whole network of collateral arteries has developed since my strokes six years ago, and they are providing sufficient flow to my brain.

So I do not need any kind of surgery at this time, he said, just keep on doing what I am doing. (What I am doing is taking medicine to control cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as a mild blood-thinner; following a predominantly vegan diet; visualization of the collaterals growing and flowing; and sensory-motor work, specifically the Feldenkrais method, to rehabilitate my right hand and stimulate neuroplasticity, or the growth of new nerves and blood vessels).

Needless to say, I am feeling significantly relieved! There were times, whenever I passed by a mortuary, I would find myself wondering: “Am I headed there soon?” Now, it feels like I have been given a reprieve, a new lease on life.

This leads me to another meditation on mortality, and especially the relationship between freedom and our physical body, or our “mortal coil,” as Shakespeare called it in Hamlet, an excellent production of which I saw recently at the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon.

The freer you are, the more you realize you are not your body, because the body comes and goes, and we are what is always present. Who and what we are in our essence, pure consciousness, was not born and does not die. The realization of this brings a cosmic sigh of relief: it is probably the most liberating realization about being free, because it frees you from the fear of death, of both “self” and body.

However, because freedom brings with it a sense of joy and celebration—when you are free you simply enjoy living more—you naturally want to honor, to pay homage to your body. After all, you want to continue being here. You want to stay as healthy as you can and be able to fulfill your purpose which, however it manifests, involves in some way serving the awakening of others. This is what motivates, or drives me. How about you?

Love and blessings,

Jim