As regular readers will recall, I recently went through three weeks of immense pain. Something to do with bulging disks and nerves inflamed and muscles shortened. Since then, pain has gradually been receding and for the last two days I’ve been able to walk without a cane. Then, as I woke up this morning, PAIN again. Merde!
Each moment’s pain (or for that matter pleasure, sadness, anger, or joy) is new. It occurs in this moment. It may resemble the experience of the past but it isn’t that experience. This moment is this and this breath this. Seems such fundamental science but the whining mind habitually goes back to the way things were: Geez, I felt much better yesterday; I thought I was done with this; I don’t like this!!
Sitting quietly, I explore this pain’s dimensions, where it begins and where it fades away. In the quirky ways of Zen practice, I remind myself to welcome everything for what it is. Not mind-made, not fear-driven, but what it is right now, from one moment to the next.
The best way to look at suffering is with gratitude, that it is happening in order to teach us some very important lesson. It is useless to want suffering to go away. It is impermanence, it will go away anyway, but if we don’t learn the lesson that it is trying to teach us, it will come back in exactly the same manner.
source: Ayya Khema. (2000). When the iron eagle flies: Buddhism for the West. In: (2001). Daily wisdom: 365 Buddhist inspirations. (J. Bartok, ed.). Boston: Wisdom Press. image: peteribruegger.com.