Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Up and down

I woke up again feeling some despair about life, the world, the future, my future. Even though we have a new administration, we still have huge problems to work through.

The mornings are usually the toughest time for me, especially when I can't just make myself a cup of coffee or tea and meditate, and slowly wake up. The dogs have to be walked every morning and with Steve out of town, that becomes my job.

I read an article in the New York Times the other day that said caffeine is thought to be a deterrent to Alzheimers, so I'm back to drinking a little bit of coffee and tea and that helps my mood considerably.

This morning though, I had to get out of bed and actually make the coffee and I felt lethargic, so once again, I turned to Pema Chodron for some wisdom.

Once, I was changing jobs and houses at the same time. I felt insecure, uncertain and groundless. Hoping that he would say something that would help me work with these changes, I complained to Trungpa Rinpoche about having trouble with transition. He looked at me sort of blankly and he said, "We are always in transition." Then he said, “If you can just relax with that, you’ll have no problem."

We know that all is impermanence, we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration. We use our everyday activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation, expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermanence and death. We don’t like it that our bodies change shape. We don’t like it that we age. We are afraid of wrinkles and sagging skin. We use health products as if we actually believe that our skin, our hair, our eyes and teeth might somehow miraculously escape the truth of impermanence.

The Buddhist teachings aspire to set us free from this limited way of relating. They encourage us to relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change. Acknowledging this truth doesn’t mean that we are looking on the dark side. What it means that we begin to understand that we’re not the only one who can’t keep it all together. We no longer believe that there are people who have managed to avoid uncertainty.”

From "The Places That Scare You" by Pema Chodron.


anniemcq said...

a good reminder. It's funny, mornings are fine for me, it's when I'm tired at night that I struggle.

I'm sorry you're feeling under it right now. I hope you are able to get some good meditation time soon.

Robin Amos Kahn said...

I'm starting to think it could be low blood sugar or something. I think that someone should bring me french toast in bed, don't you?