Tuesday, April 5

The Pain of Awareness

Off Kilter

Layers of Perception


“And must I then, indeed, Pain, live with you
all through my life?-sharing my fire, my bed,
Sharing-oh, worst of all things!-the same head?-
And, when I feed myself, feeding you too?”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mine the Harvest

Oh, that empty, chewed-up feeling has seeped in with the Covid-19 fear and loathing.  People are tired of the tasteless residue of our deep-fried existence over the past few years. The numbness is wearing off along with our Trumpian outrage and disgust while our familiar friend, pain, has parked herself right in our zero-gravity living room recliner. She's moved in permanently.

For me, this transition out of the doldrums costs a lot. I've become a slug, ponderously dragging myself toward basic survival, not particularly caring about good health, connection, enlightenment, joy. Everything seems to be bare minimum, basic, enough-to-get-by, and hardly worth this small effort. I try to keep connected with family and friends but wind up feeling the dry scratch of awkwardness.

One beautiful loved one seems especially vulnerable right now. He's isolated in an impermanent and exhausting place. No matter how often I reach out my sticky tentacles to connect, reassure, nourish and support, he tells me that bedtime is more necessary and blows me off. I accept this pain caused by the awareness that I've become an ineffectual irritant like that grit in your shoe or the eyelash inside your eyelid. One thing about pain: you know you're alive. If you're not too far along the road to despair, she brings you warnings and maybe even a crash barrier or two if she's feeling protective. As the numbness needed to live in this thuggish world ebbs and flows, awareness of the space I inhabit, its brightness, and its shadows become sharper, critical.

My nightmares are filled with scenes of untethered moments when down seems up and what I know is authentic slips out from under me. I must meditate more.

May all beings know love, peace, and balance.