Sunday, September 04, 2011

DIARY 146 - Reports of my death have been exaggerated

In ways that are not without impact or significance, what makes me tick can often remain a puzzling mystery, even to myself. After years practicing mindfulness and self-awareness, I understand some aspects of my psyche better. The major patterns, trends and habits in my physical and mental behaviour, I can be more prepared for them, to avert, divert or simply bare with them, as all these things do pass.

Sometimes though, I have a strong emotional response to a situation, whose cause appears to go beyond immediate circumstance alone. These, are more existential in colour and tone, and hence not easily fathomed by personal or historical analysis. Because they come cloaked in emotion I don't at first recognise them, as some unusual feeling is masking its more familiar face. Then, suddenly it does become apparent, I see it -'Ah, its you again' Staying with this, uses up huge amounts of energy, not to mention a dogged perseverance.

When these moments occur, it's as if I'm precariously perched on a fence, quite often in danger of falling off backwards into my past, into sentiment, into a sense for things lost, to be grieved over, toppling into a deep melancholic stream of regret for what might have, or never now will be. I can metaphorically give up the ghost, and want to abandon, clear away and divest myself of everything old and worn.

Or I can topple forwards, into the future, with its ever shortening horizon, with its reminder of how close the expiry date on my mortal coil is. I become anxious, in a panic, to get a grip, get things done, achieved before time or capability run out. I'm like a devil driving a cart with no wheels, propelled not by a galvanised faith, but by the horror of an importunate death, that needs to have a resolved and fulfilled life preceding it.

These are the two ways I tend to react to the impermanence of my body and mind, of the death of this thing known as me. They both disguise this issue, behind either apathy or anxiety. I flip between - there's really nothing I can do about this - to - there's something I must urgently do about this. In Buddhism there is said to be always a Middle Way in any circumstance, though it can be difficult to discern when ones viewpoint is so entangled in the conditioned world. If all roads have a left and a right lane, the middle way isn't along the central reservation. It's probably not on the road your on at all. It's not some half arsed compromise or improbable balancing act either, nor is it achieved by stitching together something torn to make it wearable. It has a more radical twist to it, presenting a simple more balanced viewpoint, that is not necessarily predicated on the immediate circumstances. It has to go beyond being apathetic or anxious. Trying to work out what that middle way might be for me, is what I'm pondering on at present. As yet no answer has been forthcoming, but I'll keep you posted.

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