Since returning home after surgery, I have been using the living room space as the
headquarters for my program of recovery. It is there that I meet with friends and family and practice the daily rituals of prayer and meditation. Thoughts are introduced and processed here, some forever lost, while others hit me so profoundly, that they become prescriptions scribbled on pads of electrons.
I am surrounded by two icons. On the Northern wall is an icon of the Resurrection of Christ and on the Southern side, against the window is a depiction of the Medicine Buddha. My dear friend Gregory Beylerian is the artist who created these images. By sitting between them, I am literally between North and South and spiritually between East & West. (I use these terms in the broad sense; for me, it’s a question of being between East and further East.)
Positioning myself here is part of my personal journey of healing. The Medicine Buddha, sometimes referred to as the Healing Buddha, is the granter of perfect health, and in that perfect health we understand body and soul, for the Medicine Buddha light is one that leads to enlightenment. The image is painted in a dark deep blue. In Buddhism, the indigo color is associated with the brow chakra (this is one of the centers of spiritual power in the body) – where we find discernment, clarity, vision and seeing beyond illusion.
So where are we today? Are we at the midpoint of our journey where East meets West? I sit between North and South, I find a fusion of East and West. You’ll find that our Road to Healing has been one of discernment, to find clarity, vision and focus beyond the illusion. Because beyond our ills, problems, addictions, incompatibilities, misunderstandings and failures, there is the pure self that has the potential of complete healing.
Yesterday we met the Medicine Buddha when we heard the question, “Which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven? Or to say rise and walk?” Is this not the hand off between the physical and the spiritual? Jesus, in the Parable of the Dishonest Steward, reminds us that the children of this existence are, in this generation, wiser than the children of light. Today is not only a meeting of East and West, it’s the meeting of Heaven and Earth. Today we find that we are beings of physical and spiritual certainty and the completeness of our life is enjoyed only in the harmony between the two. Heaven and Earth meet as a prototype of our body and soul meeting, leading us to complete renewal and peace.
I am surrounded by two icons. On one side of me the Medicine Buddha, extends his arm and hand toward the holy Earth while on my other side the Christ extends his hand upward heaven, I realize my place between them is unique. I have an opportunity as no other in time, to open myself to the healing that envelopes me, coming from all sides, from above and below, from within and without.
We pray a simple prayer of St. Nersess Shnorhali:
I plead to you, loving Lord, heal me.
Be life in my death.
Be light in my darkness
Take away my pain. Amen.
This is Fr. Vazken looking forward to meeting with you again tomorrow as we continue on this Road to Healing.