May was a difficult month. Sometimes that happens. It is a little easier when it is happening in May because there is so much beauty in the spring’s dance to summer, but uncomfortable feelings, difficult emotions, worries and fears have a way of making that only mild solace. And then of course when the moment’s awareness says, “just another thought!” and the flowers gain a little color until the next time my mind takes the bait.
Often, when I am having a difficult time I will put myself into puzzles or little things that help me feel like even though I might be the most deluded and ineffectual people in the world (<– that person took the bait!) at least I can bring order to this string of colors or numbers or game. Sometimes it helps. It is fleeting, like everything else. But my body is trained to enjoy “accomplishing something” or “finishing a task” or “being smart enough.” It’s an interesting technique. It’s helped me (see Candy Crush, CMFT entry last year). And I’m happy to have little wins when my mind seems tuned to “dreary FM”.
Reading Jack Kornfield’s “After the Ecstacy, the Laundry” and it is so refreshing because it basically talks about the fact that awakening is a process that has highs and lows. We hear a lot about the highs, and less about the lows – the bouts of depression before and/or after a period of enlightenment or integration. It’s part of the truth of life: ebbs and flows. In theory, the Realized Master is whole in both ebb and flow. Getting there – getting to wholeness much less the ability to maintain it in good times or bad – is a process. Spiritual lottery may hand out the occassional all-access pass to permanent divine awareness (really? permanence? we know better than that), but for the most part, that human is in there, too, gumming up the works. Making bad decisions. Responding poorly (because it’s not responding, it’s reacting). And compassion is hard to come by when there’s so much evidence we’re wrong. And that’s why compassion is so freaking important.
also in the book, the fact that the Dalai Lama had never heard of self-hatred and when he learned how many experienced it just in the room with him, he wept. What a horrible concept! And, like everything else, self-hatred is a spectrum, and there are plenty of acceptable forms of it culturally. There are acceptable forms of lots of very destructive things. And so we have to listen to a different call. The call of the heart. Of knowing how you lean, and in what you root. And rooting in compassion, for self and others, is obviously the right choice. but it’s more than a choice, it is a series of choices. one after the other, day after day. I have a lot of evidence that I didn’t act with compassion and I could have. But we all must forgive ourselves. It us our mind and these trains of thought that hold us hostage. Totally self-imposed.
Tai Chi was also, as usual, excellent today. I was a mess. but it was excellent.