Friday, November 12, 2004

Sick and Well

Yesterday I started to catch a cold. My mind was very cloudy indeed, and I felt like I was floating in a cloud. It was really hard to focus on anything and retain that focus as I tended to drift off into blankness. Mentally, it was real hard to apply myself to work, and thoughts of 'unwell' kept coming up, with a sense of how things might be ... with looking after children, work, and so on.

This morning, my cold is well and truly here. My nose is running, my throat is sore, and I'm sneezing. And yet, my mind is clear now! Physically I'm much worse, but my mental states have clarified. It's really struck me how these two aspects of mind and body are not in synch, at least not in the sense of as one gets 'worse', then the other gets 'worse' too. Indeed, I don't really know what 'worse' means in this sense. Though I feel a lot of painful bodily sensations, there's still a sense of bliss within, which permeates my mind whenever I recollect its presence. I'm sick, and yet, I'm very well!

Where is the sickness? Is there such a thing as a cold? I search for it, for this thing called 'cold', yet it is nowhere to be found. There are physical aches to be sure, but mentally I'm fine ... indeed, more than fine. Where are the aches? I look at my 'aching back' ... and it melts away before my minds gaze. A shimmering mass of sensation, vibrant, dark, yet wherever awareness goes, it evaporates away like mist in the morning sun. No aches, no cold .... so how am I ill?

Thoughts have arisen overnight about 'I'm getting ill ... how will that be' ... yet now no illness is to be found. There's a flavour to my experience this morning, and if I choose to string all the elements of that flavour together in a particular way, and emphasising particular things, then I end up with a label for my experience which says 'I am ill'. And yet, if I don't carry that through to the conclusion of a label, or buy into the thoughts which say 'it's like this ... I'm ill' .... then actually, there's just flavours to experience, and they are a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant ... and they are just what they are. And there's always flavours there, shimmering and changing ... morphing and moving .... today is no different. They just vary in hue, and vary in style. None of them are what I am, and none of them last.

Watching a movie on a screen, of a movie on a screen, of a movie on a screen ..... where is the ground?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment post on my blog. Hope you will feel better in no time!

Tyson Williams
www.tysonwilliams.com

Chodpa said...

Hi ... thanks for the good wishes!

Al said...

Nice - what a great example impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self.

"Where is the sickness? Is there such a thing as a cold? I search for it, for this thing called 'cold', yet it is nowhere to be found"
To me this is classic not-self. This is no entity out there called "a cold" there are just processes firing off based in a set of conditions. No ones fault. No one to have it happen to. I understand this mentally but have yet to really experience it on the visceral level.

" A shimmering mass of sensation, vibrant, dark, yet wherever awareness goes, it evaporates away like mist"
Impermanence. Here today gone tomorrow or the next moment. Classic

"Mentally, it was real hard to apply myself to work"
...and yet there is always dukkha, suffering, unsatisfactoriness - wanting it to be other than it is.
Could it be that you accepted the idea that you "have a cold" and that allowed or conditioned mind to be able to get clearer?

Rest this weekend - hope you feel better.....Al

Anonymous said...

Chodpa,

Under the heading wouldn't it be nice if we could practice like Lord Gotsangpa. Gotsangpa was a Buddhist Saint that traveled around all his life never returning to a place he had already visited. He is famous for his teaching of how to bring illness to the path, as he was quite ill much of his life. Thought if your hanging out sniffling you might give this article a read.
This is a more advanced teaching some people might misunderstand it but I think you can appreciate it.

Lama Gyatso

excerpt from http://www.shenpen-osel.org/issue13.pdf

Eight Cases of Basic Goodness Not to Be Shunned
by Lord Götsangpa

The first thing that we do not need to try to
get rid of or to shun, because it is basically good,is illness.
Götsangpa sings:
The illness and its painfulness have neither base
nor root.
Relax into it, fresh and uncontrived,
Revealing dharmakaya way beyond all speech
and thought.
Don’t shun them, pain and illness are basically
good.
Illness appears to bring with it suffering that
can be intense, very sharp, and painful, but when
we examine it, we find that we cannot see any
illness that is really one thing, nor can we find
any illness that is many things. The nature of
illness is beyond one and many, and since it is
not one and it is not many, it does not really exist. It has no base, it has no roots in true
existence, it is not real. So then what should we
do? Well, just relax into it fresh and uncontrived.
Uncontrived means do not try to do anything. Do
not try to alter anything or create
any situation other than just the
natural one, the nature of the
illness as it is. Fresh means that
the nature of this illness is nothing
other than the fresh, the new
experience of mind. Every moment
it is completely fresh and
new; that is its quality. Since that
is the case, then all we need to do
is to relax. Do not be tight; do not
try to struggle with it, but just
relax into its fresh nature without any fabrication.
When we do that, then the essence of the
illness shines as the dharmakaya, whose nature
is inexpressible and inconceivable, way beyond
all speech and thoughts.

:-)

Chodpa said...

Hi Al, many thanks for your comment .....

"Could it be that you accepted the idea that you "have a cold" and that allowed or conditioned mind to be able to get clearer?"

.... it's a funny thing, in a way I didn't accept it - I really blasted it with vitamin c, but more importantly I refused to buy into the label 'ill', and just opened to the myriad sensations at the time (so you could say I didn't).

"Rest this weekend - hope you feel better.....Al"

.... many thanks for your kind wishes .... hope you had a good weekend with your family :-)

Chodpa said...

Lama-la, I feel so very fortunate to have been given this teaching. Many thanks for that. Prior to this, I hadn't heard of Lord Gotsangpa. I did a Google search, and found out he was a Drukpa Kagyu master. Then, I found out that there is a connection with my teacher, Shangpa Rinpoche, and to my surprise, to myself. Rinpoche had recently had created and blessed some sacred Tara Pendants, which were consecrated with many sacred relics, including the meditation belt of Lord Gotsangpa. From his great compassion and kindness, Rinpoche had sent me a Tara Pendant, so I now have this Dharma link with Lord Gotsangpa. How wonderful
Tara Pendant.... and now I've received a precious teaching with Lord Gotsangpa's precious words.

I was particularly struck by the teaching on the 'fresh' nature of experience, and how to respond to that through relaxing, rather than struggling or fabricating. There is a line in the Dorje Chang Thung prayer which reminds me of this .... 'whatever arises is fresh, the nature of thought/realisation'.

This 'fresh' aspect of mind feels like an areas ripe to reflect with .....

Many thanks for a new node of focus ... :-)




"Well, just relax into it fresh and uncontrived.
Uncontrived means do not try to do anything. Do
not try to alter anything or create
any situation other than just the
natural one, the nature of the
illness as it is. Fresh means that
the nature of this illness is nothing
other than the fresh, the new
experience of mind. Every moment
it is completely fresh and
new; that is its quality. Since that
is the case, then all we need to do
is to relax. Do not be tight; do not
try to struggle with it, but just
relax into its fresh nature without any fabrication.
When we do that, then the essence of the
illness shines as the dharmakaya, whose nature
is inexpressible and inconceivable, way beyond
all speech and thoughts."