January 30, 2009

Sad? Read Pema Chodron and see me in the morning.

Morning Mourning

Drugs aren’t always the answer. Depression isn’t always a disease—for many, including myself, it’s a part of being human, and occasional heavy cloud full of portent, magic, heavy meaning.

And something about mornings can bring out the stillness in the pause between busy-nesses. Something about occasional mornings can awaken the contemplative mournfulness for the past and exhaustion for our present habitual patterns. That’s not a bad thing. It’s something to be listened to. What are we rushing around for? Do we need to keep repeating our past mistakes?

Here’s a lovely offering regarding morning sadness—via Buddhist teacher, nun and author Pema Chodron.

Intro via Shambhala Publications:

I woke up again feeling some despair about life, the world, the future, my future. Even though we have a new administration, we still have huge problems to work through.

The mornings are usually the toughest time for me, especially when I can’t just make myself a cup of coffee or tea and meditate, and slowly wake up. The dogs have to be walked every morning and with Steve out of town, that becomes my job.

I read an article in the New York Times the other day that said caffeine is thought to be a deterrent to Alzheimers, so I’m back to drinking a little bit of coffee and tea and that helps my mood considerably.

This morning though, I had to get out of bed and actually make the coffee and I felt lethargic, so once again, I turned to Pema Chodron for some wisdom.

Once, I was changing jobs and houses at the same time. I felt insecure, uncertain and groundless. Hoping that he would say something that would help me work with these changes, I complained to Trungpa Rinpoche about having trouble with transition. He looked at me sort of blankly and he said, “We are always in transition.” Then he said, “If you can just relax with that, you’ll have no problem.”

We know that all is impermanence, we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration. We use our everyday activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation, expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermanence and death. We don’t like it that our bodies change shape. We don’t like it that we age. We are afraid of wrinkles and sagging skin. We use health products as if we actually believe that our skin, our hair, our eyes and teeth might somehow miraculously escape…

…For the rest, click here, or visit Shambhala Publications’ site devoted to Pema Chodron.

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