Sunday, February 3, 2013

matters of concern

The pressing concerns -- I imagine everyone's got some and they swirl and nip and nag and bear down.

Today, mine are ...

-- An achy body, maybe a kidney stone.
-- A note sent to a young woman apologizing that this morning was not a good time for us to get together and practice zazen ... I have never in the past turned someone away in this fashion.
-- The fact that my younger son will depart for Army National Guard training this evening.
-- The fact that my wife and older son will depart for New Jersey and the funeral of my mother-in-law ... and the attendant, almost-ineffable, tendrils of sadness that that death imposes.
-- The fact that the rent/mortgage needs paying and where the money will come from, I'm not sure.

And up against all these swirling, stinging concerns is a child-like sense of "I don't want to!" Foot-stamping, imperious, outraged, wishful, prayerful... I want it to disappear, to be kissed better, to be dealt with by someone other than me, fixed good as new.

In the long-ago, I would go to sesshins or Zen Buddhist retreats. In a large room, a lot of people would sit straight and still and silent. And there were moments when it would drive me nuts: How could they sit there so apparently at ease when my knees were on ... fucking... fire?! How could everything be OK with them when my mind reeled with one ache or another?!

But of course the same others whom I mentally accused of having life easy were not having life easy at all. What things looked like was not at all how things actually were. They too were straining and sweating and cursing and weeping ... but I was so full of myself that that fact didn't interest me at all. It was my mind and my knees and ... it's so UNFAIR!

Does writing all this down ameliorate anything? Probably not, but it's on my mind. One thing that offers some succor is the fact that I have whined in the past and lived to tell the tale so ... go ahead and whine; enjoy it while it lasts.

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