About a week ago, after a long meditation, I started feeling as if I had the flu, a gentle, weird kind of flu, reminiscent of the giardia I experienced my first winter at the zen center. I went to the library for DVDs and found myself face-to-face with a poster about Lyme disease. And then I remembered the tiny tick bite a few weeks back.
The last ten days have been full of research. And cascading emotions: frustration at the bureaucracy involved in finding a doctor and the politicized disagreement on Lyme diagnosis and treatment, anxiety about making the “right” decisions amid many unknowns, and simple fear.
A friend joked about “working my zen magic” and I admitted that zen seemed to have flown out the window this week. Which reminded me of a teacher’s comment: “I want a practice that will see me through blindness, cancer, death, through anything.” That always made sense to me — that spiritual practice (which is essentially an expression of love) has to be unconditional to be meaningful.
For me practice means how we live our lives day to day, a way of being in the world that we can embody no matter what’s happening. That’s the theory. How to make it real in every moment, including the scared, sick, uncertain ones?
Illness IS scary, frustrating, anxiety-producing. Feeling the feelings fully when they’re there, isnt that part of the practice too?
Yes, my beloved sister, I think that could be considered the essence of the practice: feeling fully and accepting one’s feelings fully and yet not getting unhinged by them. Easier said than done, like so many worthy things! As a plan B, if tech stops working out for you, you might consider a career as a zen master (mistress?). Not sure about the benefits, though 🙂
I’m so sorry if you got Lyme disease, but the best thing is recognizing it early! It can be completely wiped out with antibiotics if you catch it early. If you don’t want to take antibiotics, I know of a woman who has a bad case of Lyme and has it treated with Chinese medicine — by an excellent Chinese practitioner.
Thanks for the info, Vicki. I’m trying antibiotics first but may come back to you. Fingers crossed.
Well, that’s certainly the challenge, ‘a way of being in the world no matter’s what’s happening’. When there are not big challenges, just little daily ones it seems (relatively) easy to practice.
This summer, while on our dear old sailboat, we encountered scary hard rains and screeching winds. As we tossed and turned like a corkscrew, we wondered if the mooring would hold through the ebony black nite. The next day I said to sailing friends, ‘Thank goodness last nite for the practice…if only it was working!’
Great story, Jaylene! And it begs an interesting question: what does it mean for a practice to be “working”? Does it mean we stay calm, feel no fear, etc.? Or does it mean something else?