So I’m sick. So sick.
I feel like a moth when the lights go out-lost and disappointed. I feel like a chicken in a rainstorm with no cover-drenched to the hollow bone so that not even complaining about it will bring a small measure of relief.
Somehow I believed being powered by Zen would take this sort of thing out of play. Go ahead and laugh at me. In fact I’ll join you.
Before I started sitting Zen “stylee”, as my friend who spent time in South Africa would say, I was sick every damn season. I don’t mean a little bit of sniffles. I mean full on tubercular cough, pneumonia and stuck to my dizzy bed feeling nothing but sad for myself sometimes for days or weeks.
Then I started sitting and sailed through. Even my fellows from the cushion were succumbing to the drones of cold viruses and other unseen but surely felt winter spring sickness but I just walked on. I was bold. I had no extra vitamin stashed, no tissues in my pockets, nothing but me and confidence dressed in black ready to meditate the illness away.
I’m hit. I’m wounded. It’s a bad blow to the body and spirit. I’m not above it or below it but in it. Nasty cough and cold that won’t let me sleep or eat or breathe for that matter. I don’t deserve it. My Zen Master teachers would say something breezy like; ‘Of course you don’t deserve it. No one deserves anything but that’s not the point. This is reality. You’re here-now.’
I would agree, bow, go back to bed and say to myself-well I guess my plan for the day is sleeping. That’s easier in the hum of a monastery where I stayed for a few months a month back. It all gets done with or without you. But here in the alleged “Real World” (as we monks sometimes called it or other times Samsadic World based on the principal of Samsara or the cycle of life, death and suffering repeating) things don’t feel like they’ll get done with or without me.
I suppose I have a sense of grandiosity.
Those dishes will stack, my grand daughter will have Easter without me and it feels like it won’t be as good -that I’m missing out. But am I? I am getting plenty of coughing, sneezing and propping up on pillows for the night and day followed by night of this nose blowing, rib crushing coughing crap. I’m not missing that. I just don’t like it so it feels like losing rather than gaining ground.
In the end (that’s a funny one-as if there’s ever an end really) I won’t even note this is in my personal history books. I am also finally catching on that there are a ton of holidays and they come every year somewhat predictably. They actually aren’t that big of a deal.
The bigger deal for me might be when I feel better and walk barefoot outside in the sun and grab my grand daughter’s hand for no reason but everything.
The bigger deal might be to also recognize that despite improved health from “the practice” I still can and will get sick from time to time. When I don’t sit in regular meditation that time to time will be more often. I missed several days this week and could feel my strength and spirit sliding as a result.
“Do what the f**ck you do!” I wrote to others urging them to continue their best habits while I did not continue my own. Why don’t we do what we know is good for us? My guess is arrogance or ignorance or both. We think we have it down or don’t need it anymore. It’s also just a matter of grooving new habits which most of us struggle with.
Well I’m on the cushion, and the mattress and the stillness now. I can do nothing else. Note to the future–I will be taking rest one way or another. Which way do I want it?
Whole heartedly. That’s the only way to go about anything. If it feels happy–dive in. If it’s suffering-dive in. So I’m swimming in tissues and cough syrup and putting my back and heart into it knowing this is also impermanent. Thank God. (Buddha laughs).