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Homage to Suzanne Segal

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KKT: This is the New Afterword to the New Edition of

"Collision With The Infinite" in memory of Suzanne Segal.

 

KKT

 

=========================================

 

Afterword by Stephan Bodian

 

When this extraordinary autobiography was completed, in the

spring of 1996, Suzanne Segal had begun offering regular public

presentations and weekly dialogues and leading a biweekly

"training group" for therapists in which she demonstrated her

unique way of working with people. She was full of energy and

embodied a radiant, unconditional love that drew people to her

like a magnet. Yet she never considered herself a teacher,

insisting that we are "all in this together"—we are all the vastness

that she so immediately experienced and so articulately described.

Nevertheless, those of us who were close to her frequently found

that our own experience of the vastness became even deeper and

clearer in her presence.

 

In the late spring, Suzanne began having a series of powerful

energetic experiences in which, as she put it, "the vastness

became even vaster to itself." She laughingly called them

"bus hits" (referring to her original awakening at the bus stop).

Although they were rapturous at first, she seemed increasingly

to be disturbed by them and would often have to stop and rest

after a particularly powerful occurrence. At the same time she

found it more and more difficult to relate to the notion of "other"

at all—and so her therapists' group became another opportunity

to share our "descriptions" of the vastness together.

 

Soon the "bus hits" were happening frequently, and by the end of

the summer Suzanne realized that she was physically exhausted

and would have to withdrew from public life temporarily to recuperate.

The doctors she consulted concurred that her vital energy had been

depleted and prescribed hormones and other supplements to help

restore her. Around this same time, she also noticed that the fear,

which had disappeared several years before, had returned.

 

Suzanne precipitously ended all of her groups and public appearances,

except for the therapists' group, which she continued for an additional

month. To some in the group it seemed that she had lost touch with

the vastness, and that her presence had noticeably diminished. At

one point she got out of her chair and joined the others who sat on

the floor, symbolically abdicating her role as a guide and source of

insight. Where she had been easily accessible to her friends for

chats on the phone or walks on the beach, she cut off almost

everyone and withdrew into virtual seclusion.

 

Throughout the fall she spent most of her time at home, alone and

with her family, taking regular walks by the ocean and sitting on her

patio looking out at the Bolinas Lagoon in Stinson Beach, California,

where she lived. During this period she recovered memories of

childhood abuse, which seemed to explain some of the fear she

had experienced during her 10 lonely years of being no one before

realizing that she was everything. When I suggested that perhaps

the fear originated from a part of herself that was split off or

dissociated from conscious awareness, she immediately agreed.

 

At one point she excitedly called me to describe her recent discovery

that she did in fact exist—land insisted that all the spiritual teachers

who taught the non-existence of an abiding self were mistaken. I spent

an hour on the phone with her explaining the difference between having

no self and not existing.

 

During this period Suzanne seemed to drift in and out of experiencing

herself as the vastness. At times she talked about God, and once, during

a walk on the beach, she described seeing angels. At a certain point she

acknowledged that she had used the vastness as a defense to protect her

from her feelings and from the painful process of coming to terms with

her childhood.

 

In the first few months of 1997 Suzanne felt less and less connected

with the vastness—and more and more disoriented, apparently because

of all the new insights she was having. "This human life thing is really

something, isn't it?" she often mused, almost to herself. Those of us

who were close to her now looked forward to a prolonged integration

process, in which she gradually learned to be someone as well as no one.

But her health would not allow this to occur.

 

By late February Suzanne had difficulty holding a pen, remembering

familiar names, or standing on her own without feeling dizzy. At the

urging of her chiropractor, she entered the hospital on February 27,

and X rays revealed that she had a brain tumor. She elected to have it

removed but chose not to undergo radiation or chemotherapy. When the

surgeons operated on her one week later, they found that the tumor was

too widespread to eliminate completely. On March 8 she returned home,

and on March 10 she and her fianceé, Steve Kruszynski, were married at a

small ceremony at her home. Shortly thereafter they traveled to Oklahoma

to seek out alternative treatment. But when Suzanne relapsed, the trip

was cut short, and it became clear that she had come home to die.

 

Several days after returning from her trip, Suzanne lapsed into a coma.

A small group of close friends visited daily to join her family in

sitting with her, breathing with her, and saying goodbye. Early on the

morning of Tuesday, April 1, Suzanne Segal died. Following a Tibetan

custom, the body was wrapped in a cloth, surrounded by flowers, and left

untouched for three days. On the third day we sat with her body as a

local rabbi performed a traditional Jewish ceremony at her mother's

request.

 

The following Saturday, nearly 100 people—Suzanne's many friends and

relatives—gathered to celebrate her life, appreciate her gifts to us,

and share our grief. At sunset, her husband, Steve, her

fourteen-year-old daughter, Arielle, and her brother Bob waded out into

the cold spring surf and scattered her ashes into the sky. Some people

say they saw the form of an angel materialize briefly and then

disintegrate into the sea.

 

Those of us who were close to Suzanne never doubted the depth or the

authenticity of her realization. Yet toward the end of her life we could

only watch as that realization slipped between her fingers like so much

sand, leaving her frustrated and confused. No doubt her brain tumor

helped precipitate this confusion. But other factors seemed to

contribute, especially the surfacing of abuse memories and the insights

that ensued.

 

Suzanne's example speaks to us of the importance of integration—of the

personal and the transpersonal, the psychological and the spiritual—and

raises questions about the relationship between dissociation—in which

parts of thtranspersonal, the psychological and the spiritual—and raises

questions about the relationship between dissociation—in which parts of

the psyche split off from one another—and genuine,

 

—Stephan Bodian

Fairfax, California April 1998

 

The author would like to thank Neil Lupa and John Prendergast for

contributing valuable information that helped to chronicle the events

depicted in this afterword and for reviewing the final draft for

accuracy.

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What a beautiful tribute to Suzanne, I'm sure she has found her way without

problems. Thank you for sharing, it is always helpful to have the light

sent to her at this time. Gloria

 

PhamDLuan wrote:

> PhamDLuan

>

> KKT: This is the New Afterword to the New Edition of

> "Collision With The Infinite" in memory of Suzanne Segal.

>

> KKT

>

> =========================================

>

> Afterword by Stephan Bodian

>

> When this extraordinary autobiography was completed, in the

> spring of 1996, Suzanne Segal had begun offering regular public

> presentations and weekly dialogues and leading a biweekly

> "training group" for therapists in which she demonstrated her

> unique way of working with people. She was full of energy and

> embodied a radiant, unconditional love that drew people to her

> like a magnet. Yet she never considered herself a teacher,

> insisting that we are "all in this together"—we are all the vastness

> that she so immediately experienced and so articulately described.

> Nevertheless, those of us who were close to her frequently found

> that our own experience of the vastness became even deeper and

> clearer in her presence.

>

> In the late spring, Suzanne began having a series of powerful

> energetic experiences in which, as she put it, "the vastness

> became even vaster to itself." She laughingly called them

> "bus hits" (referring to her original awakening at the bus stop).

> Although they were rapturous at first, she seemed increasingly

> to be disturbed by them and would often have to stop and rest

> after a particularly powerful occurrence. At the same time she

> found it more and more difficult to relate to the notion of "other"

> at all—and so her therapists' group became another opportunity

> to share our "descriptions" of the vastness together.

>

> Soon the "bus hits" were happening frequently, and by the end of

> the summer Suzanne realized that she was physically exhausted

> and would have to withdrew from public life temporarily to recuperate.

> The doctors she consulted concurred that her vital energy had been

> depleted and prescribed hormones and other supplements to help

> restore her. Around this same time, she also noticed that the fear,

> which had disappeared several years before, had returned.

>

> Suzanne precipitously ended all of her groups and public appearances,

> except for the therapists' group, which she continued for an additional

> month. To some in the group it seemed that she had lost touch with

> the vastness, and that her presence had noticeably diminished. At

> one point she got out of her chair and joined the others who sat on

> the floor, symbolically abdicating her role as a guide and source of

> insight. Where she had been easily accessible to her friends for

> chats on the phone or walks on the beach, she cut off almost

> everyone and withdrew into virtual seclusion.

>

> Throughout the fall she spent most of her time at home, alone and

> with her family, taking regular walks by the ocean and sitting on her

> patio looking out at the Bolinas Lagoon in Stinson Beach, California,

> where she lived. During this period she recovered memories of

> childhood abuse, which seemed to explain some of the fear she

> had experienced during her 10 lonely years of being no one before

> realizing that she was everything. When I suggested that perhaps

> the fear originated from a part of herself that was split off or

> dissociated from conscious awareness, she immediately agreed.

>

> At one point she excitedly called me to describe her recent discovery

> that she did in fact exist—land insisted that all the spiritual teachers

> who taught the non-existence of an abiding self were mistaken. I spent

> an hour on the phone with her explaining the difference between having

> no self and not existing.

>

> During this period Suzanne seemed to drift in and out of experiencing

> herself as the vastness. At times she talked about God, and once, during

> a walk on the beach, she described seeing angels. At a certain point she

> acknowledged that she had used the vastness as a defense to protect her

> from her feelings and from the painful process of coming to terms with

> her childhood.

>

> In the first few months of 1997 Suzanne felt less and less connected

> with the vastness—and more and more disoriented, apparently because

> of all the new insights she was having. "This human life thing is really

> something, isn't it?" she often mused, almost to herself. Those of us

> who were close to her now looked forward to a prolonged integration

> process, in which she gradually learned to be someone as well as no one.

> But her health would not allow this to occur.

>

> By late February Suzanne had difficulty holding a pen, remembering

> familiar names, or standing on her own without feeling dizzy. At the

> urging of her chiropractor, she entered the hospital on February 27,

> and X rays revealed that she had a brain tumor. She elected to have it

> removed but chose not to undergo radiation or chemotherapy. When the

> surgeons operated on her one week later, they found that the tumor was

> too widespread to eliminate completely. On March 8 she returned home,

> and on March 10 she and her fianceé, Steve Kruszynski, were married at a

> small ceremony at her home. Shortly thereafter they traveled to Oklahoma

> to seek out alternative treatment. But when Suzanne relapsed, the trip

> was cut short, and it became clear that she had come home to die.

>

> Several days after returning from her trip, Suzanne lapsed into a coma.

> A small group of close friends visited daily to join her family in

> sitting with her, breathing with her, and saying goodbye. Early on the

> morning of Tuesday, April 1, Suzanne Segal died. Following a Tibetan

> custom, the body was wrapped in a cloth, surrounded by flowers, and left

> untouched for three days. On the third day we sat with her body as a

> local rabbi performed a traditional Jewish ceremony at her mother's

> request.

>

> The following Saturday, nearly 100 people—Suzanne's many friends and

> relatives—gathered to celebrate her life, appreciate her gifts to us,

> and share our grief. At sunset, her husband, Steve, her

> fourteen-year-old daughter, Arielle, and her brother Bob waded out into

> the cold spring surf and scattered her ashes into the sky. Some people

> say they saw the form of an angel materialize briefly and then

> disintegrate into the sea.

>

> Those of us who were close to Suzanne never doubted the depth or the

> authenticity of her realization. Yet toward the end of her life we could

> only watch as that realization slipped between her fingers like so much

> sand, leaving her frustrated and confused. No doubt her brain tumor

> helped precipitate this confusion. But other factors seemed to

> contribute, especially the surfacing of abuse memories and the insights

> that ensued.

>

> Suzanne's example speaks to us of the importance of integration—of the

> personal and the transpersonal, the psychological and the spiritual—and

> raises questions about the relationship between dissociation—in which

> parts of thtranspersonal, the psychological and the spiritual—and raises

> questions about the relationship between dissociation—in which parts of

> the psyche split off from one another—and genuine,

>

> —Stephan Bodian

> Fairfax, California April 1998

>

> The author would like to thank Neil Lupa and John Prendergast for

> contributing valuable information that helped to chronicle the events

> depicted in this afterword and for reviewing the final draft for

> accuracy.

>

> ------

> Last chance to earn $5000 for your charity of choice!

>

> Deadline for "GROW TO GIVE" is June 19. See homepage for details.

 

--

Enter The Silence to know God...and...accept life as the teacher.

 

Gloria Joy Greco

e-mail me at:lodpress visit my homepage & internet retreat

at:

http://users.intercomm.com/larryn/

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