Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My terrible, wonderful, pretty good, very bad day

Let me tell you about my day.

On second thought, don't.

It was a day, 24 hours of being asleep and being awake and being in a netherworld in between. Someone I love had hurt feelings. A mechanical thing to which I am strongly attached -- the heater in my car -- stopped working. The temporary crown on my tooth fell out. I missed the year's first meteor shower.

And so it goes.

But then, Van Morrison reminds me, it can go the other way:

When it's not always raining there'll be days like this
When there's no one complaining there'll be days like this

When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch

Well my mama told me there'll be days like this

When you don't need to worry there'll be days like this

When no one's in a hurry there'll be days like this

When you don't get betrayed by that old Judas kiss

Oh my mama told me there'll be days like this

Well, yeah, those days exist too. You've just got to be open to the possibility that times of mechanical failure, of empathetic rage, can switch in a second to times where you don't get betrayed, where everything fits.

Find the space around the edges of whatever happens and rest there -- where things are basically good. The only thing that makes it a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is that the attitude that it is. Let each moment, each event be its own moment. And give the next moment the chance to be fresh, to not be part of the snowball rolling downhill, to wake you up instead of making the day a bad dream.

On Thursday, my teacher, Ethan Nichtern, posted on Facebook about this:
We have some flimsy and erratic measures of self-worth. The right person flirts with us, and we're ecstatic; the WiFi goes out, and we lose it completely. Without seeing these ups and downs for what they are, our search for contentment is like placing bets on a roulette wheel in the middle of an earthquake.

What are those ups and downs? "The play of impermanence and selflessness," Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says. Once we understand it, we can take ourselves less seriously and enjoy life more, he says. "What lies between us and the joy of basic goodness is the trick our bewildered minds keeps playing. Meditation is how we unravel the illusion."

Meanwhile, a horn section makes everything better. Press play.

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