Today I had a bit of fright. I went out to our shed to get some water and for a moment I thought I saw a snake in the dark corner. It was only after opening the second door to shed some light on this, when I realized it was a rope coiled up on the floor. Temporary blindness is much different than sightlessness. In not seeing well I misconstrue things, not just in todays heart accelerating, frozen moment, but on a regular basis.
Might a similar confusion colour my experiences of life as a whole; a confusion that not only blinds me to what is happening, but even seems unreal at times? There are many times where I have a strange sense of inhabiting a reality of how things really are, not because I fail to see them but because I let myself imagine the worst case scenario. There have been countless times where I misconstrue a word or two or an action from my beautiful partner. Then, and usually after being pointed out, do I rightfully conclude that my reaction was based on a past experience, and in my selfishness I wrongly attempt to adjust the scenario or situation so it fits my desire to have everything “just right”.
A few weeks ago I was constructing a wooden box to fill with soil and plant vegetables. After the first 20 errors of cutting and assembling four sides to make the rectangle I started to get frustrated, angry and close to giving up and buying a pre-assembled box from the local Home Depot. I silently raged at my less-than-perfect carpentry skills. With a change in my thinking I became more adept at assembling and functioning that I created a reasonable beautiful functional “thing”.
I likewise am becoming adept at configuring myself at “building” the “box” of my existence. But if only the endeavor were not disfigured by confusion, frustration and turmoil. I also silently rage at a world I perceive that fails to appreciate me. I get angry and try to fix other people when their world is perceived to me as being off kilter. Then when I realize I can’t “change/fix” it/them I just want to be left alone in peace to work on it or figure it out. Many times there is a deep desire just to be loved and accepted as we all do, but for some reason the world either ignores me or dismisses me. Becoming angry, maudlin and self-pitying only makes things worse, but I can’t help it.
So I set out on the ridiculous task of remaking and reordering the world to fit me. I try to create the perfect situation, not just for me but also for my loved ones. I have everything I want and nothing I honestly need. Yet I dream of a life in which all imperfections are removed. The roof doesn’t leak and the furnace always works. I want to lose weight, feel healthy, and have peace on earth with a healthy and happy family and friends.
Realizing after some mindful practice, there is a moment of clarity. The eureka if you will. I need to stop this foolishness of trying to use my temporary blindness to give me a version of shapes and colours that fits me! Shedding light on the coiled rope was akin to the moment in my meditation that I experienced my error. My self and my selfishness wants to colour my and your world to stop the heart accelerating, frozen anxiety filled moments. How foolish of me.
Making sense of the world with a new awakening is a beginning to my enlightenment. The mere fact that life is open to possibilities enables me to have a sense of purpose and direction. As I sat in a few moments of meditation, I noticed what I do when I attend to details in the present moment by recollecting the past and thinking about the future. The anxieties that come when I think about the future and the remorse and bitterness of past experience that causes the depression, stress and anxiety. Then I meditated on the two days in my life I have no control: Yesterday and tomorrow.
I cannot allow these two eternities to give me sightlessness. I accept the blindness as temporary. There was no snake in the shed today, but my thoughts that arose were based on past experience. This is not to give me a false sense of security, but to live in the moment. Living my life in the moment and not based on past experience or what “might” happen, is the same darkness that I experienced with the coiled rope. Using the past and dreading the future was not and is not the answer.
The sun will rise tomorrow either behind a mask a mask of clouds, or in its magnificent orange spendor. But it will rise. Until then (tomorrow) I have no stake in it as it is yet unborn
Let us therefore live but one day at at time.