Feeling Better (Mentally)

Well, my body is still a ragged bag of bones, but my mind is clear(ish) again.

Despite the various insanities of last year, I kept it together—for the most part. Through an unrequited love, my dad’s heart attack, exhaustion from work, being isolated from friends, feeling sick all the time, and through the death of a family friend, I mostly kept it together. Even found some serenity.

But here’s the thing: I’m not a peaceful person. That’s not the lot I was given. I’m passionate, intense, emotional, and sometimes perhaps a little fierce. Paradoxically, it’s in that hard edge that I actually feel genuine peace.

So, of course, I eventually cracked and anxiety rushed in like backed up septic tank. Overwhelming anxiety. It took that resurgence of passion to alleviate it. That sneer of piss-and-vinegar indignation. Standing outside with my shirt open in cold air, smiled at the sky and denied my attention a resting place. Wherever it went, I removed its support until there was nowhere for it to turn.

If attention can’t grasp onto something, then the mind of the moment has nowhere to form. Fear requires a foundation. When there’s no mind, then there’s no fear.

With that, finally, fucking finally, I was able to crawl out of that damn hole feeling like I’d been buried alive. On solid ground again, I remembered. I’m not a quiet, moss-covered Buddha, no matter how much I’d like to be. I’m a storm, a forest fire. I’m red dirt and rattle snakes. Of course it’s not that simple either—there’s water in every desert. Yet acceptance is impossible if we can’t recognize our patterns, where it is we return after the chaos.

But damn it, I wanted to be tranquil, to rest. But a huge part of the Path is coming to accept who we are and where we are. We can’t even really begin to practice in earnest until we do that. Without that, we’re a dream-like version of ourselves doing a dream practice with equally dream-like results.

Besides, peace isn’t a feeling. Peace is our disposition toward feelings. The human mind is a bifurcated mess, sliced by meta-cognition. It’s that meta mind that meditation and mindfulness address. Our feelings about feelings, our thoughts about thoughts, our awareness of awareness. Because that’s where suffering comes from, so that’s where practice happens.

On another note, I hope you never buy into my bullshit without testing it yourself. I’m not a fucking wise old mountain sage, I’m just another person out here in the world trying to keep the pieces together and make sense of nonsense. And I don’t know you. We’re not face-to-face here, so I speak generally.

I do appreciate you though. And, for whatever reason you read these ramblings, I’m grateful and always wish you well.

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