22 August 2014

Thinking It Matters

It's not yet noon and I have already learned something new about myself. Writing about it feels like a coming-out of sorts.

I believe in prayer. Sorta.

Not the talking-to-an-invisible-father-figure variety. Maybe "telepathic empathy" is a more accurate term.

My friend Y called last night to let me know he's having surgery today. (I am noticing the language around this:  having surgery...undergoing surgery...going into surgery...  It reminds me of "Estou com problemas" in Portuguese which translates literally to "I am (temporarily) with problems" but is understood as "I'm in trouble.")

He was actually in the hospital all last  week for a serious condition he'd already suffered for weeks before that. He didn't call. I didn't know.

He lives two states away so I can't sit in the waiting room and wait to hear how things turn out or stop by his hospital room this afternoon to check on him. What I can and did do is set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. so I could be awake and thinking of him through the hours of the procedure. And as I prepared my morning coffee, I remembered setting an alarm a few weeks ago to be awake and thinking of my father during his back surgery.

It would seem I believe in prayer. Sorta.

What I'm actually doing when I am "thinking of someone" in this way is swinging between mental states of something like meditation -- where I detach from formal thinking and just "follow my breath" as they say and let go, dissolving and merging into an ineffable, pervasive, univeral resonance that I sometimes call Life Force -- and a focused, intentional empathetic stream of thought, being with the person in thought to lend them all of whatever conscious and unconscious vitality I have.

The ah-ha moment, the moment when I blushed to realize that I sorta believe in prayer, came when I sent C a text, urging him to be thinking of Y today. C and I are housemates and I'd hoped to tell him in person last night but he got home after I'd gone to bed and left before I got up today. Texting seemed a possibly crass and inappropriate way to share such news but I could not ignore the urgency I felt to marshal all available energies on Y______'s behalf.

The urgency I felt is proof of my belief in the power of telepathic empathy.

It is perhaps an evolution of social consciousness borne of necessity. I do not live in proximity to the people I care about. Miles and hours and days lie between us. Distance prevents us from witnessing the majority of our life events. We are too far apart to offer in-flesh comfort, counsel, encouragement...

"I am thinking of you" 

and believing it matters.