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Thread: Getting Swept Away

  1. #1

    Getting Swept Away

    I am inspired by Onka's most recent post about how she encountered a potentially contentious situation and handled it in a manner more graceful than she would have at other points in her life, and I thought it might be helpful for me to share something.

    I struggle quite a bit with keeping my composure as well. I have suffered for most of my life with chronic muscle tension and this brings me frequent, long-lasting headaches which can take a toll on my emotions. It is alarming and distressing to be in pain all the time, to rely on larger doses of painkillers than the bottles recommend, and to see doctor after doctor who refuses to acknowledge that I am in pain.

    Into this situation I introduced attempts to read the words of the Patriarchs and I find the way things are worded to be unclear and, as I think I unfairly describe them, obtuse. My own shortcomings in this end, coupled with the pain I'm in and my undesirable over-reliance on painkillers (Tylenol and Advil mostly) have seen me get caught up in my own emotions and stories and swept away. Intellectually I know the stories aren't real, they cannot hurt me; this pain and the emotional distress connected to it are neither good nor bad, desirable nor undesirable. Even so, knowing that in my head doesn't mean I know that in my heart. I don't know how to get my heart to understand, but sometimes I catch glimpses of understanding.

    I woke up in the early morning and in that half-sleeping state caught a glimpse of understanding and, suddenly, everything was okay. Then I went back to sleep and I told myself a story about how I had "lost" that understanding, as though it's something that could be lost.

    Getting swept away by these stories and these feelings is something I've done my entire life, and it's likely something I'll continue to do for the rest of my life, but I think there's a new element: I know even the getting swept away is a story, even the "me" who thinks he gets swept away is a story. So maybe I don't mind getting swept away anymore, maybe it's just part of what this is, and I can learn to be fine with that. After all, life would probably be pretty boring if everything was nice and pleasant and good all the time.

    To all my Dharma Siblings who struggle every day, every other day, or once in a while: Thank you for being with me even though we may be separated by illusions of time and space and mind.

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  2. #2
    Thank you very much for sharing this with us. Many of us have something with which we struggled everyday. I myself have to learn from your exemple.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat/LAH

  3. #3


    Try not to be swept away, and sometimes just let oneself drift. What is hard today is easy tomorrow (then maybe hard again the next day). What is cloudy becomes clear, white waters will either take you or you will pass through. Calm waters are sure to follow.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    thank you jundo; I always appreciate your optimism

    we are all here and we all struggle, but its nice to share that together

    gassho

    risho
    -st

  5. #5
    Thank you for sharing your struggle, Kyosen. Practicing Zazen helps us remember how to come back when we've gone out with the tide, so we are less apt to drown, I think! But the tide of thoughts never ends, so what great advice from Jundo to sometimes just allow the drift, knowing the solid ground is still there.

    Metta to you, may you be healthy and at ease in all your ills.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  6. #6
    Hey Kyosen,

    If you are interested you should PM me about the pain I struggled with severe, chronic pain (body wide include very bad headaches) for years and have since fully healed. I'd like to help you.

    Gassho,

    Ippo

    SatToday

  7. #7
    Thank you to everyone for your wonderful thoughts and sentiments! I am very grateful!

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

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