Healing moments, the like of which can never be provided by any medical practitioner, of any school; moments that were profoundly healing.
Yesterday was a Bad Day. I was nasty fatigued. I spent a bit of time at a music-technology store, the fellow I worked with there was very nice, it was very easy to get to and around in. On the way home, I stopped off at a hardware store to look for a something-or-other that had broken. When I got home, I was in bad shape. Bad shape. Not just fatigued, but wicked nasty fatigued. My wife took us out to tea at one of our favorite Taiwanese tea places, and the tea there usually at least partially rejuvenates me; but this time. it barely did. I must confess to being not at all fun to be around until the tea arrived; fortunately I got more sociable with a little sugared tea, but I still felt nasty fatigued.
A friend of mine came by later, took me off to dinner at a favorite Pasadena sushi bar. I was so badly fatigued I nearly called him and told him not to bother, but since nowadays he's horribly hard to schedule, I was afraid this would turn out to be my only chance to see him all summer.
Dinner with him was probably the best thing I could have done for myself.
We had a wonderful time. We talked about some acting/drama stuff I've been working on for my friends in the magic community, we raised our glasses to toast some friends no longer with us (as JMS wrote in Babylon 5, "Here's to absent friends... in memory burning bright."), he was very kind to put up with a couple of soul-unburdening moments (which, I hasten to add, I took great care to insure for both our sakes were soul-unburdening moments), and we laughed as we reminisced over past knocked-it-out-of-the-park dramatic triumphs, where he had been the director and I had been the scenic/lighting/sound designer.
I got home later than I usually do, the few times that I leave the house at night nowadays, and I felt not tired, but great. Great!
And I realized that this, my friends, this is what we need, not just as the M.S. community, but as humans... it's not just "healthy," it's soul-restoring:
Tibetan Buddhists begin many of their rituals by saying "I take refuge in the Buddha; I take refuge in the dharma; I take refuge in the sangha." The sangha is the spiritual community; we Westerners might be quick to call it the "community of the faithful," a very "kind-of" analog is the "communion of saints" of the Christian creeds; but since the Buddhists don't really have "faith" in things as the Westerners would see it, that's the wrong translation. There are many discussions about what precisely comprises the Buddhist sangha, but at the bottom line, it's the community of your spiritual fellows, who are with you on The Path.
When I am physically in communion with my sangha, my soul simply resonates. It is, in a word, bliss. It is Where I'm Supposed To Be, with the People I'm Supposed To Be With. When I'm in the presence of my sangha, it is Ram Dass's "be here now" brought to its fullest.
So, that's my prescription for me: Do whatever I can to find, and be fully present with, my sangha.
And that's my prescription for you, my fellow travelers on the M.S. Highway: Find your sangha, and take refuge with, and in, them.
You'll know immediately when you've found them. Because when you do, you'll find healing. Myelin, they may not be able to help with. But your soul?
As Walter Raleigh is thought to have said, "What matter which way the head lies, if the heart be right?"