I feel like I’d be happy if I could get rid of the things that bother me.
My right shoulder hurts. It’s been bugging me for a year or so now. I’ve tried two different types of physical therapy recently, and if anything it’s gotten worse. I figure my pain-free range of motion is down by about half.
So, I’m about half pissed off.
There are other things that bother me. I’d have to turn the lights out and go down to the basement, get on my belly and do a low crawl underneath all the other crap I keep down there in order to come eye-to-eye with some of that shit.
I’d be happy if none of this was on my mind. But it keeps coming up – my shoulder gives me a stab; somebody reads something on my face or in my voice and says, What aren’t you saying? and I don’t want to talk about it.
- don’t want to think about it
- don’t want anyone else to think about it
- doesn’t fit with what I want to think of myself
- doesn’t fit with what I want you to think of me
Something in my…
that I don’t like
that I don’t want to claim as mine
But I know enough to know I want some movement on this. So it gets me thinking about what wholeness means, and healing.
There’s that bible story about the guy who cashes in his inheritance and leaves home. He walks away from all his responsibility and goes on an extended binge. One morning he wakes up at the bottom of a pig pen hungover and broke, sleeping with the hogs, and says to himself, Whoa. I might have messed up. So he goes back to the farm, because he’s got nowhere else to go. His brother sees him coming up the driveway and thinks, Man, the old man is going to tear him a new one. Instead, the old man throws him a party.
One of me is sleeping it off in a pig pen somewhere.
I don’t want you to know who he is.
A few weeks ago I posted about a recent experience at Kripalu (Hit Me With A Brick).
At first I thought it was a bad experience.
Then I thought it was a good experience.
Now I just think it was intense.
I’m still receiving lessons from all of that. And one of those is that there is always something going on that isn’t about the circumstances.
We can walk around in pieces, embarrassed or hurt or angered by this or that aspect of ourselves, postponing contentment until that elusive day when all is resolved – no more bad habits, no regrets, no more achy shoulders. I’m trying to work a different way. I’m trying to stop calling parts of myself bad – or good. When I sum something up that way, the summing up itself changes the experience of the thing. It starts expectations developing that cloud my view. Once I call something bad, it gets hard to see anything but bad in it. Same with calling something good.
More important is to bring it all home. This calls for nirodhah – cessation. I want to cease discontent.
I’m thinking right now that this bit of consciousness that I am has been given the great gift of existence. I have body, mind and spirit – life in this beautiful world – and it seems a bit arrogant to say that some part of it doesn’t meet my expectations. The straight-arrow brother in the bible story had some entitlement issues. (His father led him to light on that, so no worries.) Maybe that’s my problem. Doesn’t matter. I can put that problem together with all the others and say, Welcome home.
This is not to say there aren’t things to work on. But I want to work on them without prejudice. My basement is full. I need to start bringing things upstairs. There’s a Rumi line – Joseph looked ugly to his brothers/ and most handsome to his father. I want to be the wise father who sees the beauty in all of his children.
And from there… to see the beauty in all and everything.