Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thank you, Pema

I suspect Pema Chodron is the second best-known Buddhist in America, for good reason - she is such a good teacher.  I have all her books, and used to listen to her on tapes.  Somewhere she told about her experience going through the long formal ceremony to become a Buddhist nun.  Afterward, she said, she was hot and tired, and had never been happier in her whole life. That struck me.  Really? I thought.

Today, Tom and I are both very tired - haven't caught up from the sleep lost Tuesday night when he was in the ER, though we've both had two good nights' sleep.  For me, fatigue from driving and walking those long halls.  Then there's the remaining uncertainty - was that fall caused by a seizure?  Is that possibility why the discharge instructions tell him not to drive until his followup with a neurologist? 

Wun used to have some mental structures around this kind of thing, believing, for instance, you won't be happy until you're well-rested.  I see in other people, too, that we tend to believe that maintaining a state of anxiety will protect us and maybe prevent the feared event, the next fall, the possible seizure.  I clearly remember my mother sitting by my brother's hospital bed when his back had blown out, staring at him fixedly for hours, frowning.  Magical thinking. 

Prayer can help, I know, though I believe the rules of the material world generally hold sway.  But I doubt that worrying and ruminating are of any help. And anxiety is not the same as caution, and may interfere with reasonable precautions.

Anyway, my take on it is that you don't have to have a perfectly desirable situation to be happy.  That's what Pema says, and I like it.
image:  Edge of our back yard last week, looking over the ravine.

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