September/October, 2023

Musings about Life and Death (and God)

Nothing like another hospital stay to force a consideration of mortality.

I had pretty much decided to die. Not a consideration done in any moribund state, or in depression, but with a knowing that I had done what I was supposed to do. I had been thinking about checking out for some time. I wasn’t sad or ecstatic. There was just a knowing.

So, on October 12, I turned 73. A few days later I was in the E.R. after being told I was seriously ill. My brain was swelling, and I was shutting down. I was admitted to Huntington Hospital with some serious lab results. I didn’t have enough electrolyte minerals to continue the brain’s activity: like thinking and living. My sodium levels were perilously dropping.

SHIT! thought! This isn’t happening this way. I WILL NOT go out drooling and muttering and being insanely dizzy. I have things to say before I say goodbye.


I was accomplished: Broadway, T.V., publishing a book. Then the work of my lifetime in helping others in a very unorthodox psychotherapy practice.

With that being a period at the end of a life sentence (!), I was only willing to consider my fate my way. And it did not include an inability to speak and move.

I couldn’t walk straight, talk straight, and I needed help.

After 4 days and IV’s in both arms, lowering and increasing my sodium and potassium levels (If they went too fast my brain would seriously swell, causing death.) Then there were the issues with my heart.

I knew the kidneys and heart were directly linked. So, I slept and waited to get better. Or worse. I just wasn’t all that attached to the result.

Then, the second night, at 2:00 a.m., a timid male nurse came to wake me because my daughter was calling and calling. Since I had been asleep for about 30 hours – they wouldn’t let me have coffee! - my phone was off. I wouldn’t have heard it anyway.

Despite being a human pin cushion, being poked to draw blood every three hours, I slept.

When I heard Chrissy’s voice, I realized how selfish I was being. My God, she had lost her dad 7 years before. She is an only child. She has no cousins or aunts or uncles who stay in touch.

So, I felt things rally in my being and I knew I was going to make it. I had to live – for her.

And this was the most joyous realization! I knew I loved my daughter more than anything in the world. She was my one true thing, that beautiful “thing” I had always wanted. I have always been ecstatic knowing my beautiful daughter – my high strung and high-maintenance daughter - was alive and thriving in San Diego.

I was discharged on Sunday, October 21. I was wobbly for the first few days at home. In fact, I was frightened I wouldn’t get my brain back. Because of the foggy brain event which accompanied the plummeting of the electrolytes, my brain was being restored to clarity. And it was amazing to feel a return to clarity.

But the first two days at home I remained nauseous and dizzy. I couldn’t get it together.

So, I just stayed in my nightgown. And wrote, slept, and mostly what I do in the quiet:

Thoughts About God

Anything one says after “God is…” must surely be an uninvestigated thought. It is a thought hardened into a belief and velcro’ed to the being like a cheap button.

I always just knew God. I always was certain there was no character in a storybook outside of the mind which lived in faraway realms and ruled by choosing “this, not that!” asindiscriminately as a depressive chewing Prozac and spewing judgments.

This God insisted on being worshipped and adored because this God had an ego.

What I understand is that God is only good. Because God is reality, and reality is always- but only always - kind.

I heard a minister say that the gospel meant “good news.” I think Jesus saw God as a devoted Father, someone who provided no matter what. And I think Jesus had a clear mind who experienced God as pure generosity, the definition of good parenting.

I can always trust God’s will. Because I know that there is no other will, only God’s. And since it is always good, there is nothing that can be deemed “bad” or a mistake.

There are no mistakes of any kind in this world. Because everything that happens is according to the benevolence of God’s will, which I recognize as my own.

So, as I lay in Huntington Hospital contemplating my so-called next move, things did as they always did - they moved and changed and rearranged despite any thought it might be otherwise. And as I let go of any questions or resistance, I noticed the body slept, peed, complained, called people, slept, peed, wept, and did its thing with no effort or resistance on my part.

This understanding has been with me since I was a little girl. I knew we were not the doer but the done. I was born with a joyful mirth and understanding of the play of consciousness that Baba Muktananda taught.

It takes great effort to be unhappy. It takes courage for a mind to investigate its own thoughts and actions, yet the effort is small, compared to the effort when one attaches to a story of misery.

So, here I am again. Alive and kicking and thinking and watching stuff go down with awe, dismay, irritation, and wonder.

And ain’t that life?

And ain’t that death?

Love, Gopita

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