With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Peg Staley is a psychotherapist from Saunderstown, Rhode Island who discovered last October that she has a tumor in her right breast.
In Issues 43 and 45 we published a collection of Peg’s letters describing her attempts to cure herself, and her involvement with a wide range of doctors, healers, churches, and therapists.
Peg writes these letters regularly to keep friends in touch with her progress, and her discoveries. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share them with a larger audience.
(The reference to Ben in this letter is to Ben Bentov, the scientist and mystic and author of Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness. He was killed in the crash of the DC-10 last May in Chicago.)
June 25, 1979
I ended my last letter swimming in heavy surf. I still am. And my images come from my childhood on Narragansett Beach. There was a raft anchored out beyond the breakers and a line, buoyed with cork floats, between it and the shore. On calm days we used to hold on to the line to rest as we swam out. When the surf got huge I got bashed and battered if I tried to hang on. The only thing to do was to swim free trusting my body and the water as I dove down under the turbulence of each breaking wave on my way out to deeper water. I remember a Sufi saying: “There are treasures beyond compare in the ocean. If you seek safety stay ashore.” I also remember that I did not like to use a surfboard. I much preferred to body surf with nothing between me and the direct experience of the wave of bubbling, foaming, rushing water until I landed in the sandy shallow of the beach.
There have been many waves since I last wrote; getting used to Ben’s death and letting him go. He told a friend on Thursday, before he took the plane Friday, that his work was done. A psychic friend who has made a connection with Ben since his death reports that Ben, who had extensive out-of-body experiences in his life, was out of his body before the crash. He helped the pilot guide the plane so loss of life would be minimal, and then he was able to help the confused, dazed souls of those killed to start on their journey to the Light. It sounds exactly like him. I heard these things and remembered that he had asked me if I could, as he said, “pop in on me” once or twice a week when we had our last appointment on that Thursday morning. So I began to image him present whenever I felt needy. Last week I saw how tightly I was holding on and using his memory, as I had used his presence as though he could save me. My mind understood that if his work was done that that meant with me as well, but my emotions wanted to hold and possess him. Now it’s time to trust the healing power of my own body, and the spirit of God and Light which illumines it.
I have also had a strong experience of that core of Light within myself when Ann Philips, the leader of a healing workshop I attended in Maine, led me into a past life regression. In this past life I saw myself as a woman priestess healer in a temple. An important man who was also a special friend of mine was ill. I was chosen to be the healer and I was also in a political struggle with other healers so my success would mean power and personal glory. Of course with these mixed up motives I was not able to save him and he died. The parallel to Ben whom I wanted to save and keep alive as well as the parallel to healing myself in this life is obvious. Ann asked me next to experience my own Light. I had an astonishing sense of a core of Light through my body which burst from my head like a crown and which moved me to tears and joy.
I also see very clearly the danger of my struggle with the medical establishment. I must let that go. Lou Leone said to me in the beginning that if I wanted to follow other methods he could not help me and that he would do the very best he could with the information and skill that he had. He has done this. To Lou and to each of you who are doctors who read this, I apologize. I have been quarreling with you, instead of realizing that my real quarrel has been with my fear. I have not dared to let go of the rope leading to the raft, of the ways that were healing in calmer weather and to trust my body and Self to find other ways.
Fear is often the enemy of love. And as Ben knew so well love is the strangest force in the universe. Fear constricts, limits, and bounds me. I fear the future and I buy insurance. I fear death and go to doctors for solutions. I fear pain and I take aspirin or tranquilizers. I fear hell and I go to church and follow the teachings without question. I fear loneliness so get married and have children whom I cannot release to their own lives. And over and over I see how often fear is used to motivate and control us. I am getting sensitive to those people who would first scare me in order to sell me their remedy for my panic. From halitosis to communism, from anti-nukes to pro-lifers, I see that whether I agree with the cause or not I distrust those who sell a cure by painting a picture of the horror of being without it.
Andrew, David and I did an Actualizations workshop together in Boston three weekends ago. I saw then that I have been “bravely facing cancer” with earnestness and determination. I woke up on Monday after the workshop realizing that I can also visualize cancer as the scariest ride in Disneyland! Disneyland is a marvelous metaphor for life. Each ride returns you back to the starting place from which you came. The scary ones can be very exciting and fun. The world is trustworthy and reliable. It will support me just as the ocean does and I am beginning to experience my life in this way. Fear need not be enemy, a means of control and manipulation, but rather an integral part of being human to be experienced and even enjoyed.
I have also been to visit Swami Muktananda at his ashram in the Catskills. And I know that I have literally met a saint. I did not recognize him when I was there. What I knew then is that I felt the joy, beauty and harmony of meditating early in the morning with hundreds of others, of chanting and singing, of meeting Baba in the afternoon session with over 500 other people, of a marvelous smoothly run organization open to all races, nationalities, backgrounds, occupations and ages and an invitation based on love with no trace of the pressure which comes from fear. Dito and I went together. He had spent time with Baba in California and was my bridge into this different world. Baba’s message is not new: “Seek, find and understand your Self. God dwells within you as you.” But when I came home I began to understand that I had met a human who had an awareness of God and an ability to kindle that awareness in me like no one I’ve ever experienced before. I will go back. I was somewhat concerned about how this would influence my participation in St. Peter’s Church. Yesterday I discovered it only deepened it. Love does indeed expand boundaries, not shrink them.
And I send mine to you.