I have never been fond of the practice of finishing someone else’s sentences. Memory reminds I am guilty of it but less so in later years. Of course, it depends on who’s having the conversation and the nature of their relationship.
Certainly, some topics lend themselves to a cooperative effort in constructing a conversation, sentence by sentence. Consider the combined effort of Pema Chödrön and Oprah Winfrey regarding suffering and impermanence:
Chödrön: “If you’re invested in security and certainty—
Winfrey: “Then you’re on the wrong planet.”*
For me, in this sentence of combined effort is the essence of suffering. We invest in what is no longer possible, seeking a security in what once was. Pain, physical or emotional, comes, goes and will come again only to leave once more.
That we all know pain in our lives is part of the human experience but whether or not we suffer is up to us. In suffering, we hang onto a discontent, staying with a storyline because it is what we know, a trusted buffer.
Such buffers may just as easily blind rather than reveal. In these last two months, I have removed many blinders and buffers, once trusted tools, as I perceive physical pain with a perspective more consistent with the planet on which I live.
The needles of acupuncture, intent in balancing my Qi (energy), present my physical pain to me. Like the crescendo of a wave, the pain intensifies only to even out on the shore that awaits all waves.
These past eight weeks my physical pain has been high as my body awakens, attempting to return to a balance it has not known in decades. The pain does not stay and it does return but each time the pain is its own new wave, and I, its waiting shore.
It is no longer a battle as I allow my body to do what it does best, repair itself. In fighting my pain I was fighting my body, trapped in the drama of battle, masking my pain as suffering.
More and more, I am convinced that all physical pain has an emotional component. It is not that the pain is emotionally created but emotion becomes the storyline of physical pain. Humans tend to respond to stories. We suffer if we stay with them rather than feel the pain.
It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I don’t know where it will lead. I can tell you where I am right now–living a kind of health that I thought no longer possible. Some days feel like a setback but that is an old storyline of a moment past.
Whatever else, traditional Chinese medicine is affording me an opportunity, challenging as it is. It is not a panacea but hard work. This medicine–herbs, acupuncture and whole food—is helping me remove the ring of fear that surrounds my pain. I just do not suffer as I once did.
It feels as if I am completely rebalancing my life, emotionally and physically. Well, I am, at 62 after nearly four decades of disease. It is balance by moment. I am definitely on the right planet.
Note: My dear readers, posts may continue to be a bit irregular for a while. To my fellow bloggers, I am quite behind in my reading but I am beginning to catch up. Thanks, everyone.
*Conversation on Super Soul Sunday, aired October 19, 2014.