Sunday, July 13, 2008

Apparently Blogger lost my last post, which probably just as well because it was full of anger and spite. Last week was a very difficult one for me that sucked the emotional well dry, leaving me anxious and painful in mind and body. While it may be of little interest to my readers I want to say a few things about my spiritual life.

I was brought up very happily as a Congregationalist. I did all that a child could be expected to do: Sunday school, singing in the choir every Sunday, youth group, retreats, summer camp, the lot. In my senior year of high school I lost my connection to that tradition. It was partly due to reading about other ways to be spiritually fulfilled, it was partly disgust at my father's hypocrisy at being a deacon and behaving in an unChristian manner, it was partly just that I no longer believed that I would be spiritually fulfilled or "saved" by performing certain rituals, saying certain words in certain places at certain times. I know my friend J who was brought up in the church nor my dear MIL who is still a Carmelite will not only disagree with me, but try to convince me that the ritual isn't what it's about. If it isn't, then I don't need the ritual. I have always felt most as ease in my connection to God?, the great spirit?, the universe of love? when I have been alone in the natural world. I do believe there is a higher plane but I don't believe in any of the mythology of any organized religion. In fact, the organization of religion is what lost me to the Church.

I have mentioned in the past my trying to live a Buddhist life. By that I simply mean the "be here now" part of it, not hours of meditation on the Tibetan scriptures or kneeling (sorry, no kneeling possible) in front of a golden statue. It is about meditation in removing your mind from the messy bits of daily life and calming your inner self. I am really bad at it and, if I ever manage to make to that calm place, I usually fall asleep since I am continually tired. Most of the fibromyalgia books suggest meditation as a relaxation tool, and I know it works at that but I'd like to get good enough at it that I can stay awake, alert, connected to the world but let the annoyances and pettiness of daily life wash past without arousing anger or anxiety which usually cause tense muscles. I've got quite a library of Buddhist/Zen books, the latest being Awake at Work and I've only read the introduction and know I need more training. My outward manner I know shows good humour, cheerfulness, flexibility and a desire to perform whatever job well. Inside, however I am often churning with resentment beginning with forgetting my lunch, through to the person who pulled out in front of me in traffic and continuing to be told to catalogue a book I think worthless. It extends to my poor typing ability, my frustration with my poor sight, the creakiness of my knees, the exhaustion at the end of the day, just the fact that I will never be pain free. Yes, I hear you, it would take the patience of a saint to live cheerfully with that, and I am not anywhere near a saint (if there are such things). Perhaps I just long to be more "saintly", to accept the life of pain without it dragging my conscious mind along, so I can really accept the pain and learn not to fight it. I do fight it so much and feel guilty when I don't do all the tasks life throws at me, whether it be work or housekeeping. The garden is the only place I really don't mind (except mowing the lawn) because it's where by some magic, my conscious mind goes away except for the low mutter of "need to prune that back, how can I keep the snails out of the silverbeet?, will I get good strawberries this year?" I beat myself up and feel guilty when I am forced to take a sick day which is silly. My life is full of "if only"s and "I ought to"s which are walls preventing me from experiencing the now.

Today's now tells me I moved furniture a bit too much in cleaning yesterday and I need a bit more sleep. I can't be in the now while I'm asleep which is maybe why I resent needing so much of it.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Falling asleep? Been there and done that. All too easy. I am a christian, but the following links are not meant as trying to push anything on you, but as possible aids.

My mind wanders in meditation/prayer. I have found the use of beads good. It's strange, but the physical sense of holding the beads actually helps the metaphysical/spiritual act of prayer and meditation. Somehow it helps me focus. But then, I do not see what to me is a false dichotomy between spiritual and physical. To me it's all connected.

I use anglican prayer beadsalthough I know many who use the eastern chotki. The difference between the beads and a rosary is that there are no set prayers assigned to each bead. The user says what seems appropriate to them and so the prayers, scriptures, sayings may well differ from day to day and may come from differing traditions. Holding the beads and moving one by one around the circle helps my mind concentrate on what I am doing and helps dispel otherwise valid but intrusive thoughts.

As I said, just a suggestion, nothing heavy about it. I hope you find a method which will bring peace for you.