Mirror of Zen Blog

These Nights’ Sleep These Days

Yogi of Oslo is the master of our chanting recordings. Now we are cleaning up some excellent recordings of the temple bell at Zen Center Regensburg.

Yogi has peaked my interest in nasal- (versus mouth-)breathing. So, I’m now trying taking out the so-expensively constructed polymer mouthpiece that broke in one try. I’m going more low tech!

The NASA-grade polymer prosthesis (Schnarschiene, auf Deutsch) fellow and was made unusable. It had to be replaced. A new one is molded together. The new sharp stabbing pain makes it unusable, for all intents and purposes, until I can reshape it. It feels like fucking whale-bone corset of my sleeping mouth. Several years running, at least 1.5, 2 years now I’ve drifted into sleep with a polyethylene hair shirt on: in my mouth, from lights out, a plastic mouthpiece. I’m told I need to give this brain and heart more breathed-in oxygen and rhythmic release. Not these long unbrearging cliffhanger sleeping experience. My apnea is pretty severe, so it is very important to use this thing daily. But now, I’m going bareback, with low-tech packing tape on the maw. Try this for a few weeks.

Not taking apnea seriously merely makes much stronger the probability that I will need to confront something neurologically degenerate, over a period of years, that winds me down a gyre into senility. It runs in the family, you could say, on the German side. Some Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. I could be susceptible for it, though my parents both retained remarkably agile minds well into their final months and even hours of life.

Me declining from this is not such a problem. As I grow more useless and incommunicable, surely there will come the inevitable point where people can finally leave me alone. I will not be looked to for making meditation gatherings and events happen, and could meditate more without entanglements, just nursing at my own solitude.

I could let things go. That would be no problem. To be desired!

But without a family, the mental decline aspect of aging — in this hyper-connected digital age — places burdens necessarily on the shoulders of people around me, going forward, and they will feel obligated to add this aging burden (me) to the already looming pack of concerns that they carry on their backs just to survive in this hard-charging world.

I read something recently about more liberalized euthanasia practices in Switzerland. I noticed myself making a mental note to go back and look into these people. I will want to have that option already fully researched while I still have sanity. This is actually a project on my to do list.

I saw it with caring for the aging monks. Things reach a point where there is just this utterly helpless dependence on others. Some old monks and nuns even needed to have their own asses wiped sometimes by other people. I flipped poo-nuggets out of the trousers of one old monk, in a public bathroom at a restaurant where he had misjudged the sensation to “release gas“, depositing instead in his pants a solid package in place of something felt as gaseous. In the case of this monk, his senses and mental faculties were in such decline that he did not notice the massive plume of stink that was coming from his pants as we sat together in a coffee shop at a restaurant in Seoul. Several other monks and him, enjoying lunch. And him not even realizing that that fart he was releasing his instead a poo-packet, and it was evidently lodged against his leg in his pants. The smell covered several tables in our area of the restaurant. We had all noticed that this fart was lingering far, far, far long – – no parabola curve on that one. The old Mont had pooped his pants, we realized, and needed to scramble him to the public bathroom to rectify it with our bare hands. I have seen this, how old monks and nuns decline. There is a cascade of bad developments that become and incapacitating torrent. And you are at the mercy of who is around to help, since you gave up your family to pursue this path.

Actually, aging as a monk is a blessing. For these old Korean monks I was with in their decline, there was a very grateful temple community surrounding them which lavished all of the attention and care for them and their weirder and weirder bodily needs as they descended into mental detachment and eventually total entropy, systems failure. Remember, aging monks in a temple are people who have lived there perhaps since their childhood, at least since young adulthood. They are ingrained in the very fabric, the very sinews of the place. These nuns-and-monks-in-decline had a community to attend to them.

And attend they most certainly did. Shuttled back-and-forth to doctors visits, the support crew making sure that medicines were ready and taken on time, doctors brought in to them when they needed it, a real family effort!

But I am living alone, and could become a non-functional In an apartment somewhere without even a single legal family member committed to seeing that I am at least OK. That is the path that you choose as a monk.

So, being more mindful of reducing the apnea, to mitigate neurological decay/incapacitation, and having the reliable contact for a good Swiss euthanasia firm.

A new technique to try. Some clamp on this dirty mouth-trap spewing such ego-filled sewage instead of true Dharma. A muzzle on this barking snout. Like an attack dog that’s traveling on the UBahn or SBahn.

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