25 December 2010

Stunning quote by Hazrat Inayat Khan:

“God keeps breaking your heart again and again and again until it stays open."

Is this not true? A dozen deaths and each one breaks your heart, until one day you realize your heart is always open. You do not matter. Others do because their continued presence is so fragile.

I talked to my mother today in the rehab facility she is in in Sun City Arizona. She is scared and depressed about where she is. She fears not coming out alive saying her care is terrible. I go to her tomorrow with two dear friends to see how she is and what changes can happen. Old people (she is 93) without relatives guarding over them, are often mistreated in institutions.

To hear my mom call to me so desperately to come and help her was again a heart opening for me. A chilly fear for her passed through my heart, leaving me feeling like a little frightened kid again.

It is difficult for me to travel because I have become an old and crotchety fart with far too many cats who depend on me. 

Jimmy is now feeding about 35 cats a night. Marie, another colony caretaker, cares for over 90 cats in 17 colonies. I give Jimmy 300 cans of cat food a month and 4-5 bags of hard food, and Marie a similar amount.

Jimmy was out feeding cats all eight days it rained, riding in the constant rain on a bicycle over a 4-5 mile circuit. Jimmy is happy again, taking care of his cats, and Marie appreciates the help she gets from me.

But it is like this all over are city and the world: Old people and children who need help, as well as over a million street cats just in Los Angeles, many abandoned by owners because they move and can't take the cats (or dogs) with them, or cannot afford skyrocketing veterinarian costs. They lack heart, but many don't and feel their suffering deeply.


  1. Dearest Edji
    Sharing your child - like vulnerability means a lot. A vulnerablity rooted in compassion for suffering of others, despite the knowlege that their suffering is not real, but treating it with respect all the same - because for them it is real. That is compassion of the highest order. Thanks for letting us have a peep into heart of a Buddha

  2. Thank you Sir,

    All of your post resonating stirring memories here...My journey with my mom. Mom's journey with her sister years ago. Mom's hands were to an extent tied by her work and my aunt's financial limitations. In her late sixties, she made the nine hour drive from Houston to the nursing home in Jackson as often as she could to be with her sister (my aunt: a life with polio, struck with an aneurysm near the end, *uncommunicative* but still there). Clearly touched, Mom would describe arriving to find Robbie often wet/soiled, Robbie's Walkman with her beloved operas put away in the bedside drawer. Mom said my aunt would visibly soften when mom would place the headset over her sister's ears and press play. My mom's great fear - which became mine (for her) - that she too would wind up in such a place was realized a couple of times during the few years of her life and finally in the closing few months. Thank God my sisters and myself were able to be there with our mom those last couple of months...to touch her, brush her hair, give drink and food, sit with her, and to insure she was receiving proper care from the staff while we were there. The fact that mom had been able to save money was a huge blessing. My family was very fortunate; many, very many are not. Thank you very much for sharing with us in this way. May your mom's journey be eased with your visit and perhaps her last stretch gentled. She is blessed to have you as her son.

    Pranams Edji,


  3. The comment above is The Truth!

  4. Beautiful post..A mother is a very special relation in this unreal world..The person who gave us this human body and mind..a tool for awakening to reality.I'm also reminded of the great saint Adi Shankara for he always revered the mother so much.He even performed her last rites though he had taken up sanyasam (renunciation)..And Edji, the master in the same great Advaita tradition, you are great, for you show us the way, in how showing love to animals and also people around you (family members) is also important..Thank you.