As a 23 year old young man (old boy, felt truly), destiny took me to work in the home of the dying destitute. On the way to Thailand, we were in Calcutta, and, was really struck, by the way some volunteers described the work, so a month later, returned to volunteer.
Let Every Action Of Mine. Be Something Beautiful To God.Mother Teresa (from picture in hall)
After just days, all the fear was gone, and, yet more, though I couldn’t articulate it, and still can’t. In that hall I got the vaguest exposure to Samadhi.
This spirit was such. That joy was the feeling into Death, for many amongst them. Nothing like I had envisaged.
So, the main point, during this time, of no fear, no hope for them, no expectation of experience… lies the spirit of the godhead, though as a young man I was Atheist, still now have no bondage to Religion or thought school, but feel much differently after decades of reflection.
So, intoxicated by this unexpected elation, one day was free from duty, so offered Coconut Oil Massages, one lovely spirited man, very slim, was getting a nice shoulder and back rub, when the sister came over, ”No gloves, no gloves” in a hurried and stressed voice.
Again, she repeats, ”No gloves? This man has AIDS, is dying of AIDS, why are you not wearing gloves?” Very concerned.
Just shrugged. Was worried about the stress her tone was creating, nothing more.
Back then, had no travel or medical insurance, was alone in Calcutta, barely a man, no luggage as stolen 7months before, was free and almost completely fearless…
So, I am supposed to fear this Virus? This War? These Demons projecting louder and louder into everyones lives (Those bonded to media).
You are better than that? Society, you truly are.
Anyway, back to the story, one day, my bravery was challenged to the extreme….After a few weeks there, a sister comes to me and says ”you are a kind one, can you help?” Gushing at her praise, felt I could handle anything. ”Of course”, I confidently reply.
So, we walk around into the edge of the womens hall, as that day the mens was being disinfected, the sister says ”can you please hold his penis, while I clean around?”. This alone was shocking, the poor man had a Tumour and his testicle was Grapefruit sized, seeping and really difficult to see. So, I look at the man, show my kindest eyes, then take hold. The sister was quick and thorough, cleaning, applying banages, showing compassion by vocally supporting the man.
As we did this, sisters and female volunteers were passing, as it was right in the meeting point of the two halls, eyes being transfixed and trying not to look but unable to look away, or, hide shock.
Once complete, my Ego was massive, then the sister turned to me and said ”you have been great, thank you, tomorrow we are cutting it out, can you help?”.
Now, in a moment, the humbler ego was back, my internal dialogue went ”Oh shit, Rich, this is beyond you, they have no Surgeon, just a trainee Doctor from Japan, shit, shit, shit, you can’t say no, but, but”.
Then after a second, it came to me ”Oh, tomorrow is Thursday, that is Volunteers day off, so I won’t be here, sorry”.
The sister replied it was a shame, but she would find someone else to help her. My sense of readiness to face anything took a hit.
Left the Sister, a trembling wreck!
There was one man, who scream cried, his whole 2 days there, having brought him in, cleaned and showered him, his body was like he had collapsed in a pool, or had poured over him, acid, as his body had horrific wounds. This did not bring the ’fear’ like previously described, but, took a lot of reflection on whether it was OK to be relieved he died 45-48 hours later, as his cries filled the room with living despair, most had been graced with a gentle passage through, compared to this poor soul, he was literally tortured to death.
So, laced amongst the bravery, I was too much of a self centred wimp, to help cut a mans hugely overgrown testicle out! It was magical learning ground there, and, the care, those passing, beautiful.
It is only now, that it feels right to share some of these experiences.
Being immersed. But, still a bit of a wimp! (cutting a mans ball off, probably leading to his death, was a step beyond my capacity back then, tough moment, but such a growth experience, pardon the unintended pun).
Those sisters, the deepest blessings, forever.
Though the speech towards children, when doing a day as a Teaching assistant, to see what that was like, not good, way too harsh, didn’t return, was deeply upset, they were from such poverty, yet soo beautifully dressed, truly inspiring and a touching experience – Singing 5 Little Ducks made my heart gush with joy.
However, there was a harshness to the tone, that was beyond my limits, it was talked about, the Head Sister said ”This is a harsh world, they need to be ready for it”, my feeling was the opposite, that they should receive only kind, loving nurture, so that is what they mostly fill, bond, associate with from their very early schooling?
“The whole of Mother Teresa’s life and labor bore witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every human person, the value of little things done faithfully and with love, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God.” MotherTeresa.org
Another Job tried, but once, was being a Rickshaw runner, one evening, was wandering and came across 4 runners in a square just off Chowringhee, so thought I’d like to try that.
Gestured, could I pay him 4-5 Rupees to run him around the square, he seemed to understand, then turned to the other runners and chatted, each tittering at various stages if their little chat, the Runner turned back to me and dropped his head to the right, grinning.
So, moving to the Rickshaw, between the sticks, the runner steps aside, moves next to his friends. ”Naaaaa” pointing at him to get on. The runner again turns and chats, one looking out, looking me up and down, laughs, then he gets on.
Excited I pull off, like a tortoise! That is not light, and, difficult to get moving (guess normally you get shown!), so, yet again my Masculine Ego is momentarily shaken, but once moving, it was brilliant!
Walked to first turn, him grinning, his friends looking at me like I am both funny and insane! Then ran, this was hard, to control the handles over bumps, the balance, much respect to these people (who it seemed were treated like dirt, in the tone most took with them).
As I pulled his Rickshaw up, he got off, we shared a smile and I thanked him. His friends still smirking, at the event, my poor running, me! Lovely evening will never forget (maybe it was after Testicle day, to release my fear emotions!!!).
Such complex life lessons. Look what life has done? Sisters brave enough to offer kindness in the most challenging conditions, forced by their own fear, or, the projected media fear, to cover themselves in masks, visors, gloves… The open face of ”The Masters Of War” imposing it’s will over anybody it can.
Once you experience, the reality of your fears, like mine above (there was more, it was vicious, but full moon?), you realise, they were never worth troubling your inner calm over. The lovely guy who did this (many times) to me, was shown love, care, understanding and forgiveness, straight after he had calmed enough not to attack again!
Like Kalighat, being attacked you can be nowhere but the present.
On the day Vaccine Mandates became enforced, two colleagues were forced from their jobs, that day I resigned from a job and client I loved, in solidarity, as I could not work somewhere staff were forced to take ”Test” medicine they would otherwise not. Goodbye, masters of war.
This fearless spirit was whispered to me, from within Kalighat, Home Of The Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday). You all have this Spirit, know it these days.