Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Practice

I am jumping slightly ahead with my exploration of Dhammapada, but i feel its important.    

   I woke up this morning at 1:37am. My heart pounding, my head filled with painful, jealous, hurtful images from a dream i just had, where love is taken away from me. I keep fighting for him, for his affections, for his heart, but he is slipping away to another. Powerless, restless, angry, scared i open my eyes wide. The ever full moon shining in the window. It seems like it has been hanging over the city for 3 days now, watching.  I cannot stop the anger. Angry at myself, angry at the other woman, the images, angry at this dream, angry at the moon. I start to breath and close my eyes trying desperately to slow down my heart rate, not working. I get up. Grab Dhammapada and open on the chapter of anger. The first line reads:

"Let a man leave anger, let him forsake pride, let him overcome all bondage! No suffering befall the man who is not attached to name and form, and who calls nothing his own."  - Dhammapada 221

How applicable. He is not mine to keep, to have, no one is. No one can or should be. By a virtue of being completely 100% human i have a real problem with abandoning attachment. It will take me potentially never to learn that lesson. A person is free to do whatever they please, the rule is that one should be not only mindful of themselves, but mindful of all her/his surroundings. This brings me to a passage of thoughtlessness. I only know what i know and therefore i speak for myself, but another rule that has never failed to be true in my life is that every thoughtless action brings pain. I am not talking about getting last minute concert tickets for twice the price because all my friends are going and I MUST make it. Although that hole in my wallet will speak to me later. I imply the thoughtlessness that comes from selfish motives. If and when i have exchanged a deeper look at the situation for what i thought was a "light hearten", careless, approach to living, the result was that i pained or made someone pain instead. The former is worst, because it inevitably, charges on the topic of guilt...But THAT is a chapter in itself.

"Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth." - Dhammapada 223

Back to anger and my early morning.
As i kept on reading slowly through the pages, my practice has begun. The yoga has begun. Since i no longer could focus on sleep i focused on the the words in front of me. They spoke to my restlessness. The text in front found a way to relieve this consuming anger inside and i started to melt back into the calm of the sheets. I decided to substitute every negative jealous thought i had with a feeling of suffering of another person, or people in my dream. I know that as i want happiness,  and as i think i deserve it, so does EVERYONE else. We are all united by the same search. Any action that is wrong or right is  directed towards attaining that "Happiness" however we may imagine it. (These are actually not my thoughts only. I am also paraphrasing from "The Art of Happiness", Howard. C Cutler, MD. A compilation of essays and conversations between him, a western psychiatrist and the 14th Dalai Lama). This may sound strangely simple, but i was angry no more. It is FAIR that everyone is trying their hardest to be happy, no matter what the means are.It is NOT always the RIGHT means. I am not of Machiavellian school of thought. I use the word "fair" because everyone deserves happiness, so it IS fair for everyone to try to be.This topic needs expansion, but i will wait on it.
With this last thought i decided that my immediate solution for "happiness" is to do a head stand, so i proceeded with that.  15 deep slow breaths brought my heart rate even lover, my eyelids got heavy and after coming down i crawled back into bed and drifted off to sleep.

I consider last night to be the first step of my life long practice of self control. Not because i have never exercised  restraining my restless thoughts before, but because this was a very conscious effort aided by the tools i discovered and knew would help. It sure felt like the first step though, because in the battle with my  at times overactive, imaginative, compulsive, scattered, untamed mind, i felt rusty. The good news is that i can only get better.

No comments:

Post a Comment