The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
LET IT DEVOUR YOU
When I was running today I thought about this: According to Buddhist belief, the reason people suffer is because all things change. We all live in a fleeting, transitory world but we all stubbornly refuse to admit it. We cling to what is impermanent - the greatest evidence of this is our fear of death. Suffering would stop if we could achieve indifference to pain and loss. If we would not desire, then we would be free. Unfortunately the price of this is to be indifferent to the joys of life as well, by treating both the same.
The Buddha's doctrine is notable for its simplicity. It was the first true atheistic religion. The Buddha felt that life, despite pleasure, was primarily about recurring loss and separation. But are we to withstand life's suffering by not allowing life to touch us? Isn't this like the words in Pink Floyd's song, becoming "comfortably numb?"
When Kristy first died it was as if time stood still. The pain was so deep and constant it was in fact like an amputation. Our experience of time is based upon movement, things changing. When nothing matters - nothing moves or changes, when everything turns off, there is no more time. This is death. This is not being alive, this is the absence of life.
The opposite of not allowing circumstances to alter your state of mind, is to let it devour you. The "rapture of being alive" - the full-bodied experience. Kristy once wrote: "My life is passing quickly. I do not expect to be made happy at every turn. Neither do I expect my heart to plod along safely, nor do I want it to. My only expectation is that I feel deeply. Pain, pleasure, grief, euphoria, loneliness, fulfillment and onward. I would be silly and ungrateful to resent the fact that it didn't last longer. I don't care anymore about keeping my heart safe."
Is this what "let it be" really means?
Today's workout: This was my last run at the lake before the race on Sunday. It's hard to believe I have come so far. As I started up the path I met my friend Emily. I have not spoken with Emily in a long time, but it was she who touched my heart last summer when I was still just walking the lake. Now, 7 months later, we meet again. We are on the road to healing and we are like sisters. Thank you Emily.