I think it’s the uncertainty of pain that makes it so… painful. Or contributes to the suffering.
There’s a picture in my head that the illness i’ve been experiencing was the result of decades of frustration without the tools to process and transcend it. Every hurt got tucked away in a joint. and when i got myself well enough emotionally and had resources and tools to release all of it, it started coming out – and that’s not always pretty.
I do have a lot of tools, though, and continue to collect more. Tools for developing my life with ease, acceptance, love, wholeness, curiosity and agency. And these tools work! My mental chatter is a fraction of what it was for most of my life. I still have a ways to go to be out of the thought stream, but the fact that I can get quiet on demand and stay that way for a restorative amount of time – whether a breath or an hour (though i’ll typically have dozens of “HEY THINK ABOUT ME” moments in that hour – but I am succumbing to fewer and fewer) – this does a lot for my peace of mind.
I sortof feel I led a double life. For many (most) years, I had this very Zen coating with this very anxious and defensive interior. The Zen aspects of myself weren’t false, they just weren’t grounded. They made me have better thoughts than the thoughts available to me as an anxious person, but the teachings kept coming up against that black plastic paper I put in my garden so the weeds wouldn’t push through.
Well, I’m taking out that black plastic paper separating my garden from the fullness of the earth. Weeds are normal and I have lots of delicious techniques for releasing them. I’ve developed decades of “bask in the divine” strategies and they’ve finally gotten hold enough that the structure simply can’t abide with an anxious center. I NEVER imagined myself as anxious (I bought my own hype) until just after this diagnosis the first truly gifted therapist I visited sprung that on me in a receptive moment. I was floored. It was absolutely true, absolutely obvious and I was clear that I would have absolutely and eloquently denied it in any other circumstance. Bravo, Sue Rita. Well played. and very helpful.
That’s when meditation moved from being a groovy hobby that i participated in to some degree because enlightenment is the goal of life to becoming a tool to get into that anxiety, and make the space for it to unwind. This has been a completely different approach. Practical. Helpful. Gentle. As opposed to Efforting. Esoteric Goal I’m Having Trouble Reaching. and Yes, This Makes Me Spiritual.
Using the tools of meditation, nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement, and inspired activity I’ve made quite a dent in the anxious core. And it’s possible that this last flare up has gotten even deeper and begun (or ended) another layer of releasing….
I’m not looking for “complete” anymore, as in “i am done with this! I have mastered this!” I find it to be a moving target, and all of life shows me that everything is in cycle and as we gain mastery, we simply don’t have the frustration in dealing with things so much. we still have to deal with them to some degree. Yes, one of the things I am becoming more comfortable with is this idea of no beginning and no end. I mean it’s been spelled out for me in dozens of holy texts, I just never thought to apply it to practical everyday life. I had a friend talk today about her frustration in having a lesson she’s completed time and again still come up – and there’s this “if it’s come up, it obviously isn’t complete, and the way we make it complete is to not have it trigger us anymore. so what’s the trigger?” and then we get to the trigger and release that and that lesson may be back tomorrow but tomorrow it will be new. we’ll be better versed to meet it.
What is the Rumi poem about greeting every guest? (it’s worth looking up)