Saturday, August 29, 2009
To Fear, like Dandelions
Peak flow: 650
Breakfast: oat meal
one 12 oz glass of ice water
The rest of the day is up for grabs. I know JW wants to make soup tonight. Im so sick of neo food. I can't tell you.
My stomach is constantly upset. Like in the bad old days.
Well I screwed up this morning's post so I get the priviledge of writing it again.
Isn't impermanence fun???
This morning's practice was awesome. Not only was it a blessedly cool morning, virtually no one was out today. So there was no eyes on my back, no frankly disapproving stares, nothing. It was just me, the dog snoozing on her lead, the sound of crows cawing in the distance and mourning doves cooing on the highlines behind me. A hummingbird paid a visit to my yellow cannas, delicately sampling nectar as I practiced.
What is this?
There's nothing quite as disturbing as waking at 2:00 am with what my father used to call 'the midlife horrors.' That sick sinking sensation of knowing that now that I'm 51, I might, just might, get 50 more years out of this body, but more likely it'll be 30 or maybe just 20. Either way, looking back i wonder how I managed to piss off so much precious time?
But then again there's no guarantee I'll live long enough to finish this blog. And in all honesty if my mother hadn't found me blue and unresponsive in my crib at the tender age of six months, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
So lately Ive been having some pretty intense anxieties over this. And worse. What if I do live to be a hundred, then what? What if I outlived everyone I knew and loved, including my husband and my teacher? Then what? What if I become ill, senile, homeless etc? What if I am forced into a nursing home and die without anyone to care about me?
And there lies the crux of the problem. The what if monster. We've all met it. It comes sneaking up behind you, settles into your subconscious and lodges there. Sometimes he brings along kinfolk, like his twin brother, Who cares? Who cares if I don't get up in the morning, life aint worth a confederate damn anyway. Who cares if the bills don't get paid, who cares if I (fill in the blank.)
The trouble with the what if monster and his brother who cares (also known as depression) is that if feeds itself fat on the concept of an I. Why should I get out of bed in the morning. Everything bad happens to ME. What happens if I should become senile? What happens if I should become homeless What happens if...
See the pattern?
And trying to suppress this only makes it worse. It just digs in deeper and feeds more fully on our neurotic behaviors. Trying to snuff out these feelings is like trying to extinguish a gag birthday candle. You know the kind, the ones that relight after you blow them out? It's the same principle. The only thing, is that the gag is still on you.
The key to getting rid of the what if, and the who cares monsters are simple.
Lama Jigme gave me the key when I first started studying with him. But like a stupid monkey I played around with it and didn't use it. Not really. Not until yesteray, when I put it into the lock of my practice and everything opened up in a startling way.
Yesterday I decided to try a little experiment.
I sat outside in the warm late summer sunshine with my three cauldrons' practice text. Took several deep cleansing breaths and just let go.
I stopped trying to suppress the feelings anxiety (which is just another clever way of saying fear) And opened my mind to the questions..
what does this fear look like?
what does it feel like?
I explored these questions, What if I am the only one left alive?
A terrifying prospect. No husband? No family? N No Friends No teacher???? It was almost too horrifying to contemplate, but I did.
I sat back and watched, the way one would watch a movie, exploring the possibility of life all alone. I saw myself in many forms, homeless, living in a beat up old trailer without food or electricity, seeing myself old and senile and in a nursing home. . .All the possibities spread out before me like a great plain from the darkest hell realm. Each fear, each worry, each anxious neurotic feeling I examined, experienced as fully as I could, sometimes with tears streaming down my face, and then I let each and every one of them go.
The key to this was that despite how 'real' and how 'frightening' all of these images, thoughts and feelings were, none of them were real. Once I let each one of them go, they simply vanished, like clouds raining themselves out, or like dandelion seeds being blown away by the wind.
In reality, nothing at all had happened, both internally and externally. Once the emotions spun themselves out, I realized too that they weren't real either. Just a manifestation of horrors brought on by the belief in an I.
And in that instant, I got it.
And that too, didn't last. The veil of obscuring emotions fell and once again I was in ingnorace.
It was truly a remarkable experience. There was no reality, no fear, no anxiety, no loss and no gain. There was nothing but a vast sense of peaceful awareness.
And even though I wanted to stay that way forever just experiencing emptiness, I let that go too.
And then I felt sad.
But that feeling too, was empty.
Am I enlightened? Oh my no, not even a little bit. Do I still have these feelings? of course! I've just learned how to deal with them, and would have learned it sooner if I had been applying Lama's teachings more effectively.
I did gain something remarkable tho. A glimpse of insight that was rare and marvelous to behold. And that too, blew away, like chaff on winter wheat.
End of line.