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Lions Roar : May 2015
can see that there are things worse than death. My beautiful life is gone. This life is horrible. It would have been better if we had died in the crash.” I understood how she felt although I never quite reached the point of wishing I had died. This was the most depressing, heartbreaking period of my life. There seemed to be no way out of the gloom. Perhaps that was the worst of it, the feeling that there was no way out. In the past, when there were difficult times, I was always able to find a solution. This was different. I had been seriously injured, and I was living with the consequences. I felt weak and broken. My vision, usually spacious and optimistic, had been narrowed and I could not see a broader picture. Susanna and I were living with physical pain and the suffering of witnessing each other’s pain. She was hurting and devastated, and during this time I rarely found a way to help either of us. Often, at the end of a day, the best I could offer was, “Well, we made it through another day.” It did not feel particularly positive, but in certain circumstances, survival is a triumph. Like all phenomena, feelings that arise fade away. Thankfully, for the sake of our equanimity, we could acknowledge that we were extraordinarily fortunate. It seemed odd to have been so unfortunate, yet, at the same time, so fortunate. It was miracu- lous that I was alive, and that Susanna could walk. A split sec- ond, or a centimeter one way or another, could have yielded a disastrous result. Our doctors told us that the possibility of recovery, though far off in the distance, was real, and that did make a monumental difference. SINCE THE ACCIDENT I have focused primarily, but not exclu- sively, on my recovery. One special exception was the morning of April 14, when I returned to teach at the Community Meditation Center, the spiritual home I had founded in 2008. At the sug- gestion of several CMC board members, I entered the building through a side door so that people would not “be all over me.” When I was introduced, I walked smoothly and briskly to the front of the room, leaped (with a prayer) up onto the platform, and was greeted by the huge crowd with a standing, cheering, and tearing ovation. The more they cheered, the more I teared. It was an indescribable moment. We admire survivors. We need survivors and those who have overcome the odds. The greater the odds they have overcome, the more we want to see them, to touch them, to hear their stories. We need to know it can be done. That is what I was that day and ever since. I had done it. I had survived. ♦ THROUGH THE FLAMES by Allan Lokos Tarcher/Penguin, 272 pp. $25.95 (cloth) Mindfulness has a home in Los Angeles InsightLA Speaker Series 2015 Phillip Moffitt, April 25th Tara Brach, May 9th George Mumford, May 30th & 31st Venerable Dr. Bhikkhuni Pannavati, June 13th & 14th Lama Surya Das, June 27th Jacques Verduin, July 11th Resting in Loving Awareness 4 Night Residential Retreat April 1st - 5th with Trudy Goodman, InsightLA Guiding Teacher & Beth Sternlieb, Director Buddha’s Path For over 12 years, InsightLA has been one of the premier centers for mindfulness meditation in Southern California. Visit www.insightla.org for more information. www.insightla.org SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 75