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#1830 - Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - Editor: Jerry  

Featured are the writings/confessions of Jemille Hardy. The first piece, This Infinite Touch, has not appeared elsewhere. The other three writings have appeared on other websites.  

This Infinite Touch speaks of an experience that parallels that described by John Wren-Lewis at the following web page:  

About the author:  

I practiced Medicine in California for over 25 years and learned most of what I sense about healing from people who were not "good patients." I am also a mother and I'm learning (belatedly) that my challenge as a single parent was to know myself rather than to "raise" my daughter. (I think I will be a long time knowing myself. My daughter is amazing despite my efforts to raise her.)

Jemille Hardy, M.D.    


photo: Jemille Hardy

Exclusive to The Nondual Highlights  

Jemille Hardy  

This Infinite Touch  

Because I felt afraid of where I was headed I began to spend my time
either longing or grasping for life. I had a private medical
practice, a beautiful old home and I had married an intelligent man.
I felt I did not belong in my own life as if it all might disappear.
I did not relax and enjoy any of it. I worried about maintaining what
I had and yet what I had was never enough. I felt deprived and I
tried to control as much as possible but ultimately I felt out of
control. Practicing medicine felt burdensome, mechanical and boring.
My handsome new husband seemed distant, as if both of us viewed each
other from the safety of separate islands. I was in my mid thirties
and felt less sure of where I wanted to go and how I wanted to get
there than when I was 22 and just entering medical school.  

One thing I decided was that it was time to have a baby. All the
props were in place and I wanted pregnancy. While I was waiting for
my body to cooperate a dental visit was required. This visit seemed
strange from the start. I was more anxious than I had ever been in a
dental office. The anxiety became raw fear and finally a terror I
could barely contain. I felt perspiration on my brow and the
uncontrollable clenching of my hands on the arm rests. If I had not
been paralyzed by terror I would have bolted from that office.  

Something very unusual was going on. My dissatisfaction with life and
this terrible fear seemed related. As my jovial dentist began talking
me through his painful injections I found myself moving rapidly into
a boundless darkness full of vibration and stars. My transit was from
desperate fear to overwhelming joy. I searched for something to
explain this sudden intense presence, but there was nothing in my
mind that could come close. I felt as if great love pulsated in that
awesome darkness. I felt immersed in vibrating energy and joy. I felt
as if this state of being had all potential but was actually no
thing.   I gave up trying to understand. I could only marvel.  

I finally asked the darkness, "What am I here to do?" I don't know
why, but I felt there was some source of answers in that darkness.  

Answers pertaining to work or education were what I wanted or perhaps
some suggestions regarding a life philosophy, whether to get pregnant
or leave my spouse. The answer I received took me by surprise, "You
are here to learn that every body has a self like this."  

When I try to share my experience with other people the word awesome
comes up, but the word is a faint whisper compared to the actual
experience. Yet the experience seemed to be the reality behind all
apparent realities. It is just being. I wanted to know what to do
with this "infinite touch". What I decided is that it is important
for me to know that every patient, opponent, lover, critic, addict,
priest, murderer, infant, judge, soldier, saint - all bodies have a
self that is expansive beyond words. Despite my world of glaring
inequities, all are equal. None are unworthy. All selves are from a
source of love, power and dazzling joy. My life's challenge is to
live the knowledge of what we all are. I returned my medical
practice, my marriage, my eventual motherhood, and my life In time I
abandoned things I had once clung to..  

I longed to return to my vibrant self. Mainly I wanted to feel that
infinite joy and power again. I had more questions! I felt like a
minute extension of that self. Yet I also felt it is up to me to
answer the questions of how to live this "minute" life, given what I
know about the immense source self. I do not want to see only a
fearful self when I encounter my human self or when I meet another
person. The patient is playing a role, as am I. Yet the challenge for
me is to recall my joyful self. I can be less hard on my "extension"
self. In the grander scheme is not so important what I do, given the
self I am. That self is not about judging, punishing, or worrying and
it's state of being is an abundant reward.  

I know is possible to allow my self to express some of the joy,
energy and love that is the nature of that vibrant self. Why not
express love consistently in my life?? Every time I find an answer to
that why not, it is some thing I think is wrong with me. Every time I
feel the beliefs and emotions of "being wrong" I can see that as part
of the role I think I must play and recall my source self in the
boundless loving darkness.    

~ ~ ~    

It's All About Living  

When I was a young medical student I thought that by the 21st century
diseases like cancer and heart disease would be history. My faith in
science bordered on the religious. Like others in my class, I also
thought the primary mission of physicians was to sustain and prolong
life. What I did not begin to see until later was the part about
prolonging life at all costs. It seemed somehow comforting to focus
on the ills of the body and the many ways of addressing them. The
unspoken dogma was that ills of the mind and emotions were far too
hidden, too complex, and often too scary to be faced openly.  

After my father, an old-fashioned GP who made house calls, died of
cancer I felt like my soul had shattered. All confidence in my
medical training was shaken. His suffering from radiation and
chemotherapy, his facial mutilation and loss of speech from repeated
surgeries, and his depression and mental confusion broke my heart. A
rage welled up inside me, as if I had been violated and betrayed.
Medicine would never feel the same to me again.  

Other relatives died of cancer. I watched them suffer with numbed
emotion because my expectations had been rudely lowered by my
father's ordeal. Science was no longer my religion, and out of that
change, a great longing was born in me. Where was I going to put my
faith? In what doctrine was I going to believe? Despite the faith of
patients, I inwardly abdicated my role as priestess or mentor of
health. I tried to settle for the small victories medicine could
provide, but that longing in my heart grew over time.  

Medicine kept me busy. There were always new studies, treatments, and
procedures.. I tried to stay focused on the tasks of the practice.
Yet the more I pondered the dictum "to prolong life" at all costs I
realized how terrified most people are of dying. I certainly was. The
faithful demanded hope whether medicine could provide them or not.  

In the midst of my activities I began to notice an unusual person
every now and then. There were attitudes and emotional qualities in
these people that grabbed my attention like no medical book or
lecture ever had. I tried to sense what made these people stand out,
and I came up with words like courage, peace, and inner strength. Yet
that was not all.  

I began to notice that some people accepted death calmly because they
lived life fully and believed that life does not end with bodily
death. These were not necessarily people who had visions of a heaven
in the hereafter as a reward for having been good on earth. These
people seemed to have an immunity to the directives of society about
what not to eat, what pills to take, how much money to make, what to
buy, where to live, how to look, and how to live. My guess was that
they listened to some inner directions that had nothing to do with my
advice. Though at first my ego was hurt, I loved it!! I watched some
people die with ease and grace, without pills, shots, or tubing of
any sort, because they demanded that right.  

I found new faith. I became a devout people watcher. I observed
people living with joy though they were not the richest, the
slimmest, the prettiest or the most educated. It revolutionized my
mind and opened my heart to see that ordinary people could be happy
simply because their lungs were breathing, their hearts were beating
and they felt intensely alive. My warnings and prescriptions made no
sense to such self-affirming people because, after all, what did my
directions really have to do with living right now, in the richness
of life.  

Technology and science have continued to make strides, although not
always in the optimum direction. Medical science has developed
innovations that allow longer and more productive lives for many
people. Yet modern medicine does not offer a prescription for human
freedom and happiness. It can even be a contributor to human fear and
despair. If our technology and science can be used lovingly and
respectfully, I believe a new era of faith in life and health will
dawn on planet earth. The good news is that this is possible, and
that there are people who can help us understand love more deeply.
They are here living life with full hearts right now.
~ ~ ~    

Physician Heal Thyself  

Living with inner contradictions is a high maintenance relationship
with the self. I lived thinking I must practice medicine as my mind
was taught. I was supposed to examine, instruct, warn and prescribe.
For the faithful who placed more trust in my words than in their
religions or intuition, I was to act the role of high priestess of
health. Yet I felt like a walking catalogue of disease. Trying to
talk like a proper doctor, I walked a shaky path, feeling the tug of
my heart and queasiness in my gut because I knew it didn't have to be
this way. Yet who would listen to me if I deviated from my officially
sanctioned role? I simply could not imagine. I wanted to speak my
heart to those who only came for pills. I wanted it so badly, I woke
up one fine day to recall one of my father's favorite sayings,
"Physician, heal thyself."  

Twenty years ago my life was in turmoil and I did not have time for a
thyroid tumor, but I had asked who would listen and I got my answer.
It's funny how my conditioning took over and right away I was seeing
the ENT surgeon. Yet after one visit, my heart would not let me
follow the beaten path. My heart demanded a voice and that voice took
me and my young daughter on a journey that felt like a tornado swept
through my life. Somewhere along the path of that storm, one sunny
morning in San Francisco, I decided to let the tumor go away rather
than have it resected. I had proven to myself that the human being is
naturally endowed with creative powers which may be used for the
process known as healing. The physical healing happened way ahead of
the emotional healing that I needed. The disappearance of my friend
the tumor was another beginning in the journey of my life.    

~ ~ ~    

Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
August 1998, Issue 1  

Cancer as a Turning Point: From Surviving to Thriving
by Jemille Hardy

What I wanted to learn before and after I grew the lump in my neck was spoken well by Walt Whitman:

"Re-examine all you've been told
Dismiss all that insults your soul"

A tumor grew in my neck and I wanted to know what for. Was it because I felt I was living in my head but longing to live in my heart, biting my tongue, feeling a lump in my throat when I didn't speak freely?  I have given a number of talks about my "unusual" life choices following the appearance of my tumor, mostly at Cancer as a Turning Point Conferences, a series of events for women with cancer and concerned others. In that setting I have also felt somewhat restrained because the last thing a lot of the women in attendance want to hear is, well, I knew I create my own reality.  So even in my capacity as speaker, a long cherished dream, I did not speak out as much of my heart as I wanted because I did not want to upset women who were facing a life or death challenge.

Life or death.  The funny thing is...I did not fear my own death during the time I had the tumor.  Maybe that is why I was able to easily choose the route I did.  Quality of life was the issue for me...not longevity.  Quality of life was at the core of my "creation" of  my friend and messenger, the tumor. My family and the doctors thought a strong family history of cancer and childhood neck irradiation were probable causes of my malady...I knew they were looking at the chain of probable effects as I was searching for the cause.

When I found out I had a "cold" thyroid nodule,  soon after my much younger sister had had her thyroid gland removed because her cold nodule turned out to be follicular carcinoma which had spread-I felt a stillness inside.  I  even wondered, "Should I panic?" Why am I not afraid??? Aha! Was this an extreme case of denial and numbness...this detached, fearless kind of feeling?   I wondered about choices as if it were someone else who would make them.  "What if I have to go through surgery now to keep living?"  I mused.  And my heart spoke more loudly than it had in years, "Living for what?" it asked. I had to fess up. It was time for a reality check.  It was all about this head versus heart trip.  It was about value fulfillment in my life.  I did a brief life review..feeling my current life was in shambles even without a tumor... to see what I could salvage, what I wanted, and what I did not want.  It kept coming back to the idea that I was suffocating from living in my head.

With my head I looked for beauty with wary eyes and searched for love with a guarded heart.  I tried to avoid pain more than I ventured to embrace joy.  Childhood memories of meeting life with a sweet reckless abandon dimmed day by day...but  small whispers tugged at my mind...there is a thing called freedom...there is a thing called love!  For awhile,  I had devoted little time to heed the whispers.  I was busy seeking safety, running from fear failure and chasing some heartless and unreachable images of success. I would neither speak my own truth nor open to the truth of others.  My life felt  tight - hemmed in by facts, rules, techniques, and procedures - all functioning in a  fearful semblance of clockwork  under the constant threat of punishment for errors.  I couldn't kid myself,  my truth was that trying to be responsible for the lives and well being of others felt   heavy on my weary  shoulders...and I tried to not let myself feel how much I  feared I wasn't up to the job.  If you haven't guessed by now...I was working as a doctor.

When I was a medical student at UCSF I felt privileged, excited to be in the ranks of future doctors, and I thought modern medicine was  powerful stuff.  I had not seen much sickness or death and I couldn't wait for the day I would bring all this cool knowledge back into the black community.  I thought  white people mostly died of old age or accidents, whereas blacks got diseases because blacks were "underserved".  When I found out my father had a very malignant cancer of his mouth I went into overdrive,  hounding his oncologists and radiologists and surgeons to do more, more, more to keep my Daddy alive.  Every waking moment, the horror of losing my father was on my mind.

Seeing the best that medicine had to offer..demanding the best that medicine had to offer led me to go into a shell to protect my heart from the destruction that I witnessed  in the name of love..I quickly learned  that medicine wasn't hardly  perfect.  Sometimes people got disfigured.(he was a robust,  oh my god - gorgeous man before surgeons cut away most of his face, jawbone and tongue.... afterward I could not bear to look at him without tears running down my face...and seeing how couldn't eat  or speak with what was called his reconstructed mouth tore my heart in two). And sometimes radiation and chemotherapy left people anorexic and weak.(he went from 215 pounds to a bedridden 88 pounds in about 2 months).  And sometimes they had pain.(he had severe radiation burns, had to have a tracheotomy, frequently choked on his secretions..and he was addicted to pain killers that made him hallucinate and try to jump out of windows)  Finally his oncologist asked me why I was so desperate to keep him alive...I felt outraged but the question shocked me into realizing I didn't know why.  I couldn't bear the thought of Daddy not living.  My heart yelled at me, "Living for what??!"

Like dominoes falling,  my mother, her siblings, her mother and my father's siblings all succumbed to cancer in a faily short interval of time.  My siblings called it the family curse. About this time I lost my beloved husband to suicide, left Oakland awash in grief and guilt, and ended up at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in LA where  I found a small blue paper with the message on it that no book was needed to learn the purpose of life...but for those who insist try reading "The Nature of Personal Reality."  At the time I had been a doctor for just a year or so and considered myself an agnostic, having  uneasily given up my childhood religion of Catholicism.  I got the book and read it, moved to San Diego, re-married and set up another  practice.  The book riveted me like nothing I had ever read.  It felt right at a very deep level.  I was glad I found it, and I slowly recovered from my grief but I did not even try to apply the wisdom I had found on those pages.  I did not try to examine the contents of my mind that were creating my reality...I was just trying to get by.

Then my beautiful young sister called to tell me  she had thyroid cancer and asked my medical opinion regarding her treatment.  I wanted to say, "Hey there is this book called "The Nature of Personal Reality"  Read it and decide."  But who was I to recommend a primeron creating one's own reality...when I was not using it myself??  What I did say was "Just do what your doctors say. They know your case better than I do." feeling that old difficulty swallowing my impulses. Old black ladies came to mind.  The obese ones who wouldn't give up soulfood no matter how long I lectured them  The ones who went through terrible grief and illness and somehow got better despite their refusal to follow my medical prescriptions.  The ones who managed to create their own lives with a deep wisdom and grace and soul that did not come from any book.

I felt like I didn't know what to do with the Seth stuff I read  but I felt it was very important.  I was a busy doctor married to a kind of rocket scientist type.  We were trying hard to be a  "buppie" couple (black upwardly mobile and all that)...the house, cars, money and careers were all in place.  We argued behind closed doors, we were growing further apart and I blamed him a hundred times a day for screwing up my reality.  I decided what we needed was a glue baby to hold our marriage together.  More than that I wanted to have a baby...somebody to love!!  I saw the doctors and  was told I was infertile but eventually decided that had to be wrong was finally going to have a baby!  I discovered something else was growing in my body besides my little "bun in the oven" guessed neck had company.

I went to the doctors about my thyroid mass for a little while,  but sitting in a waiting room one morning I felt the mother of all lumps in my throat from not speaking up for myself and I had a kind of reverse panic attack.  Maybe for me it was a heart attack of a very gentle kind.  I felt (rather than thought) that surgery was not right for me...that I was sitting with the only person I could heal, and the person only I could heal...myself!    I just knew that whatever adventure I was about to embark upon, it did not involve getting cut, nuked or poisoned.  Been there, seen way...I am not the one!   I was out of there and never looked back

I had my baby but the marriage glue wasn't holding very well.  I went back to work but I kept wanting to say inappropriate, unhelpful things to some patients.  Things like, "You tell me what's wrong with you...better yet...tell me what is right with you."  Things that could easily be mistaken by the casual observer as grounds for a malpractice suit.  I realized that I was a partially crazy black woman with a gorgeous baby  girl, a "great catch" man I could not open to, doing "status" work that felt so not-me I couldn't stand it... and to top it off I had this thing growing in my neck.   Something had to give.

One day I packed some stuff and took off for San Francisco.  I had closed my practice and tried to "make it work" with my spouse for a little while, but I still felt like a  wounded caged I took off hoping to see - by the process of elimination? - what it was that was forming the bars of my cell.  I felt a deep pain welling up inside me and I grieved not for the career and the man I left but for the ideals of work and love that I had not let myself experience in my life.

A friend from my med school days put me and my daughter up while I tried to sort out my feelings and decide what to do next.  I wanted to be free...I did not remember how to be free   Then it hit me that I was creating my prisoner status with my beliefs...not just with my choice of work or mate....those circumstances were the way they seemed because of my beliefs.  I felt utterly devastated.

I couldn't deal with facing how I was hurting myself so much so I decided to do something loving for see if I see if there was love for me in my heart.  I had read and heard that the way to remove an aspect of one's reality is to stop giving it pull the plug...starve it.  Sounded too simple...but what did I have to lose?  I felt totally shipwrecked in a strange land.  I began by just driving all around good old glorious San Francisco with my toddler in her beloved car seat.  It was our little adventure and we were totally free to see  amazing vistas and pig out on Chinese food and play follow the leader all day if we wanted to.  We went to Muir Woods.  Ah!! My child was the world's best leader at the age of 22 months...She was a never ending source of different dance steps as we boogied down the trails beneath towering talking trees.  We felt very very young!! After about six weeks of following my little leader, cleaning up her little puddles and getting my hill climbing legs back,  I remembered my forgotten tumor. It felt kind of like remembering a dream.

It came as no surprise...and  really no big deal...when I found out the tumor had vanished. I had far more important things on my mind. Like starting to believe that love is not the prize in a beauty contest or the currency for good works done and dutifully measured. Like knowing love is a powerful force available to everyone, all the time, no questions asked.  Like beginning to know that I could learn as much of whatever I wanted through the sensuous joy of living as through the contraction I called suffering. Like starting to trust that my unplanned days and unmapped course would somehow be filled with moments of magic,  days of  ldelight.  Like starting to feel the wonder of who I am inside..the heart of me.  Like rekindling the will to be open to feel the answer to the question..."Live for what?"

1998, Jemille Hardy. Printed in the August 1998 Issue of the Conscious Creation Journal. (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use - please include this copyright notice.) 

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