Lloyd Schwartz

GOD HOUR (ERIC LUNDQUIST: IN MEMORIAM)
February 22, 2019 Schwartz Lloyd

GOD HOUR (ERIC LUNDQUIST: IN MEMORIAM)

 

Eric McNeil Lundquist, born on December 15, 1959, died at age 58 on August 14, 2018.
He attended Massachusetts College of Art and lived in Dorchester for 30 years. Despite a lifelong
struggle with bipolar disorder, Eric was a talented artist and spiritual person. He had many good
friends, loved seventies music, ran four Boston marathons, and was an avid collector of
Superman memorabilia. A memorial service is planned.

 

 

YES… I am still very diligently meditating on the TRANSCENDENTAL. I enter my “large closet” and sit in total darkness except for the illuminated screen of the iPad. Incense fills my nostrils. I have spent countless hours engaged in meditation on the TRANSCENDENTAL over the last 34 years. Nothing… nothing brings me greater joy. My spirit flies free. Do other people ever experience this exalted state? As I sit out my allotted time meditating in the closet I sit with folded hands and bow in reverence.

 

*

 

The Absolute

No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought.
The final end of Nature’s dance,
I am It whom I have sought.

A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both Knower and Known;
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone…

My spirit aware of all the heights,
I am mute in the core of the Sun.
I barter nothing with time and deeds;
My cosmic play is done.

—Sri Chinmoy

 

It took me a very long time to memorize this poem.

 

*

 

Everything I’m doing with regards to meditation is an earnest effort to prepare myself for the time of death. Decade after decade… Minute after minute… I have in the past and will proceed in the future to embark on the greatest of any journey imaginable.

 

*

 

The focus of my attention is “between the eyebrows and a little above.” As I gaze I say “I am throwing everything into the ever transcending beyond.” Then, one by one, I imagine myself throwing all the people in my life into a spiritual bath in which they are scrubbed clean of all impurities.

I feel I’m “drilling myself into a liberated soul.”

 

“Infinity itself” is a place of such comfort.

 

I’ve begun to live my life free of normal daily concerns. It’s as if nothing and no-one exists.

 

I don’t believe I will ever die.

 

*

 

I hold the speaker of my little tape player over my heart. I can feel my heart percolating. This practice means more to me now than ever before.  I know… I know… so many times in the past I’ve sworn I’d give it up. But every single time I do, I’m reminded of how important it has become.

 

*

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, ERIC MCNEIL LUNDQUIST IS CURRENTLY INDULGING IN THE ACTIVITY OF RITUALIZED MEDITATION ON THE TRANSCENDENTAL PHOTOGRAPH OF SRI CHINMOY. IT IS A POSITIVE HABIT THAT IS SO DEEPLY INGRAINED THAT HE COULDN’T KEEP FROM ENGAGING IN IT EVEN IF HE WANTED TO.

 

*

 

We live in the realm of the relative, unlike god who resides in the realm of the absolute. In the relative (the physical 3-dimensional world) things exist with their polar opposites (fat, thin—inside, outside—up, down—male, female…). Whereas in the realm of the absolute all of the differences have been reconciled. We all exist in the realm of the relative while living and then enter into the realm of the absolute when we “die.”  But we never “die”—only change from one form to another in an endless cycle from form to spirit and then back again, constantly making progress.

 

*

 

Okay!!…. Here we go…. (cup of “java” in hand)…. Today it is in the early morning hours on September 29th, 2012 and as I am comfortably situated within the coziness of the sacred-safe-haven, the magical melodies of the seventies are caressing my eardrums. “Can music save your mortal soul?” Even now as I write this g-mail, I find myself being hurled headlong into a realm of ecstatic bliss and harmony.

 

I’m so used to the vibrations of the subway that I’ve become totally oblivious.

 

I spend so much time listening to popular music because I very much believe that constantly exposing oneself to its upbeat messages will drive positivity deeply into the core of consciousness.

 

*

 

I AM CURRENTY RESIDING QUITE COMFORTABLY WITHIN THE SECLUDED CONFINES OF THE AMAZING, FABULOUS, TERRIFIC, EXTRA-ORDINARY, STUPENDOUS, SUPERB, FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL,  REMARKABLE, FANTASMAGORACAL… SACRED-SAFE-HAVEN… (FORMERLY THE “THE SANCTUARY-ECSTASY-ABODE” AND LATER “THE OASIS-EUPHORIA-REFUGE”)… GROOVIN’ TO THE MUSIC OF THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES… WHICH IS CATAPULTING MY INNER SPIRITUAL BEING HEAD OVER HEELS INTO THE FURTHEST FLUNG REGIONS OF ECSTATIC, ELATED, EXPANSIVE, ULTIMATE, FAR-REACHING AND VOLCANICALLY ERUPTIVE TRANSCENDENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS.

 

WHEW! I AM WORN OUT!!

 

*

 

The “GOD-HOUR” is between 3:00am and 4:00am. This morning (since I got a good night’s sleep) I was able to rise at the god-hour and enter very effortlessly into meditation.

 

*

 

I have eight albums by Akasha. They are: SKY WINGS… LIFE SONG… DELIGHT… NEW DAWN… IN THE COSMIC FLOW… IN THE VERY DEPTHS OF MY ASPIRATION HEART… BLUE HORIZON… FOUNTAIN OF JOY and one more that I have yet to get called DREAM GLOW. I totally, completely and thoroughly love every one of the songs on all of these albums.

 

The instrument I’m most fond of is called “the esraj.”

 

*

 

At the start of each weekly meditation meeting we’d do a silent meditation and then very soulfully sing the invocation.  It only took a short time to learn all the words and then I sang right along with all the others.

 

Unfortunately I was unable to continue with the group. For the next ten years I was in and out of mental hospitals. It made continuing with meditation impossible. It wasn’t until several years later that I branched out on my own path (alone without the group). Those were difficult years but all the way along I continued with my meditational practices.

 

*

 

Never in a million years did I imagine I’d continue to meditate for so long. Who would have guessed I’d get such a big kick out of sitting motionless for endless hours listening to a Swedish women’s singing group and gaping at the photograph of a man whom I consider to be my “spiritual master.” When I was a teenager the word meditation wasn’t even in my vocabulary. Whoda-thunk-it?

 

*

 

I’m definitely back into the great feelings of elation that I’ve become so accustomed to experiencing. NEVER!!…..NEVER!!……NEVER!!  again will I speak ill of Sri Chinmoy.  It is directly due to him that I so delightfully live the spiritual life every day. My ritual has turned into a healthy obsession that continues to give me the conviction that GOD EXISTS in my life. I WILL do it until the day I die.

 

*

 

I know I’ve said it before but I’m going to state it again: The reason I spend such an enormous amount of time in deep meditation is because I’m preparing my soul for “swift passage at the time of death.” My most closely held beliefs are the ones that will follow me at the time of “crossing over.” I aspire to realize God in this life-time so that I won’t have to reincarnate and live another life. But I’m having a tremendous load of fun this time around, if I have to come back, I’d love to do it all over again.

 

*

 

You probably think I’m nuts the way I carry on about spirituality and meditation.  I can’t help it…. even after all these years I’m more jazzed than ever.

 

*

 

Here are details about the meeting yesterday with the oncologist. Eric asked a few questions, but the doctor tended to use medical terminology and I think his ability to get what she was saying was limited. She was thorough though, and I was pleased with her expertise. Mary, Jane, and I are working on putting the points below in words that are clearer to Eric.

 

  1. The diagnosis is either pancreatic cancer or cholangicarcinoma which is cancer of the bile ducts. Neither is curable.

 

  1. With either one the prognosis is poor.

 

  1. He will get the cyber knife treatment next week. It is a single focused dose of radiation to the one lesion in the brain to prevent neurologic complications—limb paralysis, seizure, speech difficulty, altered level of consciousness. I am glad Eric is willing to go ahead with it. Side effects should be minimal to none.

 

  1. There is no surgical option.

 

  1. Chemotherapy might prolong his life 3 to 6 months. Eric is currently opposed to it. Neither I nor the doctor tried to persuade him to reconsider. He indicates that his wish is to have quality of life rather than quantity of life. We and the doctors have all made sure that he understands that the choices regarding treatment are up to him. To him quality means closeness of family and friends. Also the ability to maintain his meditation practice.

 

  1. He repeats that he does not fear death, but having had significant pain recently, he does want adequate pain control. I will send a separate e-mail regarding adequate pain management.

 

  1. He is in good spirits, but may be in denial.

 

I will try to answer any questions you may have — call, text, email.

 

*

 

“I live so much in the moment,” he told me, “I can’t imagine dying.”

 

*

 

“I know my family and my friends are going to have to deal with my loss. But I
don’t have to.”

 

*

 

“I’m so happy I’ll be seeing my mother before anyone else. And even if that’s
not true I can believe it if I want to.”

 

*

 

“No Price Is Too Great To Pay For Inner Peace.”

Lloyd Schwartz is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English and teaches in the MFA Program at UMass Boston. The author of four books of poetry and a chapbook, his poems have been selected for The Pushcart Prize, The Best American Poetry, and The Best of the Best American Poetry. His publications include the Library of America edition of Elizabeth Bishop, the centennial edition of Bishop’s Prose (FSG), and Music In—and On—the Air, a collection of his music reviews for NPR’s Fresh Air. He was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. He has just been appointed poet laureate of Somerville, MA.