January 23, 2010

Everything Ends

Our bodies bring us joy and pain in equal measure. The aching back gives way to a heat that almost burns, pain and pleasure together, and muscles strain to lower a tired body carefully into a warm bath. Slowly relaxation seeps in with the heat until the most joyful sensation is a single cool drop of water falling from one eyebrow, dripping onto a cheek just beginning to sweat.

John Mayer follows Train follows The Fray follows Nina Simone follows Micheal Bublé and the smell of juniper and grapefruit follows the smell of whiskey. Long limbs glow golden in soft candlelight and pale moonlight and every sense is satisfied, even the mind for these short minutes. All the stresses, cares, fears, insecurities, and pains of the day are washed away.

But don’t be deceived. This is samsara. Everything changes. This pleasure is as transitory as the pain that preceded it and it preceded, in the endless turning of the wheel. Tomorrow I’ll wake up slow and sluggish, by midday my back will ache whether I will it to or no, and by night’s end I’ll long only for the comfort of the hot bath I left twenty-four hours ago. Want followed by want.

Savor these pleasures while you have them, but savor the suffering, too. For without the suffering no will toward renunciation exists. We will never be free from samsara were it not for the will to end suffering and the knowledge that suffering can end and the way set forth and followed.

Follow the way. Read the Dharma. Practice! And remember that eventually all things change and everything ends.

It is our choice whether we allow it to begin again or awake to freedom.


Samantha said...

Oh Monica, wonderful and so true! This was perfect. Spot on!

And to awaken in the morning less slow and sluggish, have more energy all day, and be less achy at days end, mix on tablespoon into half a cup of warm water before bed. Right before bed. I've been doing it now for several weeks and the difference is simply amazing. It balances blood sugar while you sleep and speed the metabolism just enough to allow the body more and better rest and repair while sleeping.

Thank you!

Monica said...

One tablespoon of what? I think my trouble lies in the fact that 1) I like to sleep, so I never want to get up and 2) I spend too much time at a desk and not enough exercising to strengthen the muscles in my back. But simple remedies are welcome.

Samantha said...

Oh dear, I feel very much the fool! Sorry about that Monica. It's a tablespoon of natural honey into the warm water.

When I'm not having horrific nightmares, I love to sleep too, but even then, getting up can be hard because I'm slow getting out of bed and it takes time for my body to "spin up" to waking energy. This makes a huge difference for me, and it's so simple. Hope it works well for you too.

Monica said...

Not a fool, Sam, just thinking and typing at two different speeds. As an editor I can tell you that's common. I do it and a lot of my columnists do it.

I ready the other day that high sugar foods right before bed can actually prevent you from going to sleep because the sugar spikes in your blood, whereas complex carbs take longer to break down and so provide a more level blood sugar. I don't know which is true, but I'll ask my diabetic friend. She'll know for certain.

Samantha said...

Yeah, I often think faster than my fingers can type, and I type pretty fast. Thanks!

The interesting thing about honey, is that it's a very complex carb with a high protein curve, so it stabilizes the insulin levels and speeds the metabolism as it works to break it down which is exactly why it works. In fact it's one of the reasons diabetics (my late husband was one) don't use honey to bring up their blood sugar when it's low. Takes to long for it to bring it up, and because it speeds the metabolism it uses as much energy to burn as it imparts.

That's why when having a crash, diabetics use something with easy to absorb and break down sugar. Lot's of diabetics in my past, so I've become a bit of an expert on dealing with it, and sugar.

Monica said...

Ah, that makes sense. What about agave honey? Does that work the same way?

Ama said...

Perfect reading for a monring which I woke tired and discouraged.
Your last words flowed into me, brought comfort and lifted the veil from my day. Thank you.

Love your writing Monica and I just found your and blog and happy I did. :o)

Your description under your blog title is precious and probably describes the mis-fitness of so many of us in Buddhism.

With Metta,

Monica said...

Nothing to fit, nothing to be fit. Welcome, Ama!