Sunday, October 24, 2010

A place with no preferences

 Tricycle Magazine is a Buddhist magazine with an excellent, interactive website.  In their book club section they are currently hosting a discussion of Toni Bernhard's book 'How to be Sick'.  Pop on over to read excerpts from Toni's book and participate in a very interesting discussion with her.

Yesterday Toni asked, 'Do others think it's possible to come to a place where it's "okay" to be sick -- where we would have "no preferences" (to quote the third Zen patriarch) as to whether we were sick or healthy?'

An interesting question! 

I'm not sure about whether I could come to a place where it's OK to be sick (or, to be more specific, a place with no preferences). I think it's possible, but it's not what I've experienced yet.

What I'm investigating at the moment is whether I can come to a place where I don't have a preference about whether I feel it's OK or not OK to be sick.

Here's what I'm exploring...

If I have a day when I feel miserable, bitter, and very ungrateful about being sick...should I feel a preference that this day not be that way? Should I feel a preference that I feel at ease and peaceful being sick? Or should I have no preferences ?

For me, this exploration is very rich. I'm suddenly allowing all these really difficult feelings to flow through my body - boredom, frustration, anxiety about the future, terror, emptiness, and despair. I know this all sounds really miserable, and not like 'good news' at all, but I have this strong feeling that allowing these feelings to flow is really my path.

At the moment I'm feelings in the depths of despair becuase I am just sitting in the 'soup of my suffering' and experiencing a great helplessness. I'm experiencing what it's like to stop the fight and just allow whatever is happening to happen. This is why I haven't posted on this blog for a while, because I've been feeling an almost crushing sense of despair and depression.

Whilst this feels terrible at the moment somewhere deep inside I know that I just have to keep going. Although my mind tells me that acceptance will lead to an eternal, never-ending despair, I have read enough Buddhist books to have at least an intellectual understanding that I really just have to keep going.

So today, I think my practice will be to lie in bed and not have a preference that I feel one way over another way.

Metta to all on this very difficult journey (called life).

Gili Air - a tiny island just off the coast of Lombok.

1 comment:

  1. Great food for thought, Emma. It is good to hear from you.



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