January 26, 2007

Precious Human Birth

It has been an interesting week. If the word ‘interesting’ means the same as in the Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times.’ On Sunday I twisted my neck. Many years ago I hurt my neck badly while fencing. I took a hit in the mask which snapped my head around. Now my neck is a little more prone to injury than the rest of me.

On Monday my neighbor, Paul, was very nice and took me to the University Health Center. The doctor blamed it on my laptop. Certainly it may have aggravated my neck, but I know it’s not the root cause. He proscribed some muscle relaxants, Relafen and Flexeril and told me to take a hot shower. Not such an easy thing to do in an bathroom with only a working toilet. (The shower will be installed February 9th.) The drugs eased the pain a bit, though they didn’t relieve it by any means. Mostly they allowed me to sleep, which I did for the next two days. I missed another day of work on Tuesday as a result.

On Wednesday I reentered the land of the living. The day went fairly well, but the media center was backed up, so I had to have my project for adjunct printed at Kinko’s, which cost $30 instead of $6. I walked home after 9:00 pm. I was half way down my block when I stopped and turned around. And turned around again, looking in all directions. My car was gone.

I didn’t panic. My car is too worthless to steel, but I was getting more annoyed by the minute. I called the police who confirmed it had been towed for violating the 24 hour parking limit. I know about the limit, but in the three years I’ve lived there (and left my car parked there for a week at a time), I’ve only ever received a single warning. They only enforce the law by complaint. Usually I look at my car as I go to school every morning to check for a warning on the windshield. As I hadn’t been out for two days, and that morning I had headed in the other direction to catch the bus since I didn’t feel up to walking or biking, I didn’t see my car.

Again, my neighbors, Ellen and Paul, came to my rescue. We tracked it down at the city impound lot, which is not easy to find, I tell you! We had to backtrack and I’m not used to being lost. I cost me $53 to get my car back and I have another $20 in tickets. I finally got home after ten o’clock at night.

I was frustrated and a little angry. I don’t like situations I can’t change. I don’t want to have to move my car every day to prevent it from being towed. I know none of the residents complained because there is more than enough parking for us. The people who work at the capitol fight for parking during the day. I felt like painting on my car “I live here so I DON’T have to drive every day! If you’re not smart enough to do the same, don’t complain!” That probably wouldn’t be the best solution.

I was cursing karma and feeling rather put upon. Then it was Thursday. I met Brad and Ray for dinner and then we all went to sangha. We are just starting a new class studying The Three Principles of the Path b Je Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelugpa Lineage. It is really interesting. I always have a good time and the discussions are really fun.

Steve asked me about taking Refuge and if that has changed my life at all. I would say that it has, but not in very concrete describable ways. Mostly I’m just happy that I made the right decision. Meeting Khen Rimpoche was a positive experience and I came away with a good impression of him, which encourages me.

Suddenly, driving home, I was having a good week. I am glad I have the opportunity to be alive in this place at this time and in such a way that I am able to learn the dharma.

I am thankful for my precious human birth.


greenfrog said...

I am enjoying your blog. I ran across it searching for information about retreats at Shambhala Mountain Center, but I got caught up in your narratives about family responses to your Buddhism. I look forward to hearing more.

Monica said...

Thank you, greenfrog. It is nice to be appreciated. I hope I do not dissappoint! :-) Namaste.