House of Cards

So, I spent another morning on Facebook. I think it’s probably a distraction for me – a distraction from being with myself. I won’t say that I don’t like me; that’s just not the deal. What it is, is that I am afraid, maybe. Existence comes with so many reminders of imperfection and decay. My left hip is tingling right now, just to remind me that someday my walking will be even worse than it is now. Hey, maybe I will even be in a wheelchair someday! Nothing I can do about it now except move in spite of it. The doctors can’t find anything going on there besides a touch of arthritis. So, ya know, just take the pills every day. And the pills cause damage too, while still allowing me to work and live a bit longer. But who knows when it all falls apart?

I am afraid.

I was sitting at practice this morning, and I had this glimpse of vision that the sadhana is like a house of cards – tenuous, illusory, fragile. But maybe the wisdom in that is the realization that existence itself has that same quality. It all falls apart. That it was ever in one piece is the miracle, and maybe the sadhana is an attempt to see the deity that exists in the worn-down, falling-apart existence that we so often wish to denigrate – the decay that we avoid seeing.

Reality appears to me in the form of a deity – shining with white light and with a compassionate face. He says, look: it’s all falling apart. This is the way things are. The sun rises and sets, mountains rise and fall, planets spin in their decaying orbits, and humans are born to die. The only ones upset by this are those who try to avoid this fact or take refuge in some form of salvation. Feel your heart and open your eyes. There is something you will never possess nor understand; take refuge in that. It’s ok to be afraid; find me in the fear.

Find reality within the fear.

When I find myself spinning my wheels, it seems like a good time to stop for a moment and touch my heart. Bringing my awareness into my body, into my heart center, gives me the stability to be present with this decaying body, this messy apartment, this messy fucked-up life. It lets me be present with my emotions without repressing them or acting them out. In short, being present allows me to see the sacredness of this existence and give all beings the respect they deserve.

As a practical application, being present with myself gives me the ability to stop spinning my wheels avoiding the present reality and apply myself to a path of study and practice. It allows me to see my own sacredness within the decay and imperfection of existence.

Picture credit: P. Roelli, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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