All these discrepancies in life,
jagged rocks in my way
when I'd rather walk a clear path.
May I trust this moment to teach me,
to thaw this frozen self,
completely melting into a river
flowing over and through
the unwanted parts of you and me
till there is nothing left
but a natural scene of beauty--
river embracing rocks over centuries
and sometimes dissolving them.
The car that cuts you off. The dead-end relationship when you’re too tired to look for a detour. The prediction of rain when you crave a dry and sunny day. The body screaming for attention when you just don’t have the time to listen.
All these discrepancies in life are like jagged rocks in your way when you’d rather walk a clear path. The usual tendency is to avoid the problem or try and manipulate it like playdough. How much of your time is spent trying to bulldoze through those jagged rocks, cover them up, or search for an easier path? How much energy does this consume? Might this energy be conserved or used in healthier ways?
When I meet a patient with a chief complaint of fatigue, we discuss his/her sugar intake, sleep pattern, activity level, caffeine, alcohol, and substance use, life stresses, and possible underlying medical conditions, medications that might contribute to the fatigue. What I am discovering in their stories and my own in enlightening. So much of our energy, our wellbeing is depleted when we are fighting life rather than flowing with it. Our poor bodies are stressed and strained by all the bulldozing, covering up, and frantic searching.
Sogyal Rinpoche writes, “If everything dies and changes, then what is really true? Is there something behind the appearances, something boundless and infinitely spacious, something in which the dance of change and impermanence takes place? Is there something in fact we can depend on, that does survive what we call death?”
So many of our fears stem from a mistrust in the path directly ahead of us, especially if we are anticipating discomfort from difficulty. What if we can engage in practices that prepare our hearts for anything? This doesn’t mean we should like what is happening, or that we shouldn’t take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and create healthy boundaries when needed. It does mean we can learn to trust this moment to teach us, to thaw this frozen self, completely melting into a river flowing over and through the unwanted parts of ourselves and others. It does mean that we can try and release stories of a small, separate, and fearful self into the lap of Loving Presence.
As you read this, you might be wondering, “These concepts sound wonderful and liberating, but where do I begin?” I began this journey ten years ago by walking into Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA for a beginner’s class on mindfulness meditation. Since then, it has been one incredible journey allowing my prayers to be “the bridge between longing and belonging.” (John O’Donohue)
Wherever you choose to begin, please offer up your prayers on wings of fireflies into the darkness of uncertainty, trusting that the Universe will answer with luminous love. May all these discrepancies in life, jagged rocks in your way become the way. May you flow like a river embracing these rocks over centuries, and sometimes dissolve them in the lap of your own Loving Presence.