Or it could be the new practice I'm working with, a form of chod, in which you locate demons in your body and transmute them into protectors.
Along with all the relative reality of going to doctors, taking pills, doing yoga, lifting weights, getting exercise -- and trying to determine when it's wise to take a break from that and just rest -- there's the larger reality.
Five Daily Recollections
- I am of the nature to grow old; I cannot avoid aging.
- I am of the nature to become ill or injured; I cannot avoid illness or injury
- I am of the nature to die; I cannot avoid death.
- All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
- I am the owner of my actions;
I am born of my actions;
I am related to my actions;
I am supported by my actions;
Any thoughts, words or deeds I do, good or evil, those I will inherit.
For a lot of people, #3 is the big one, judging by the way many Buddhist teachers talk. Death! The great fear at the bottom of all others! I'm not all that troubled by death. It will happen. I don't know when or what happens after. All I can control is what I do now, in this moment; I live my life with the aspiration to create as much ease and benefit as I can for the most people, and what happens next time around will be the inevitable result.
I don't even mind #1 that much. I'm 55. I don't dye my hair, don't wear makeup to try to hide that. I probably dress too young for my age, but it's not to appear younger. I don't like mom jeans around my waist, shirts tucked in. Maybe there's some deeper issue here, but I don't project what I think people think about how I look -- "they must think I look hot/cool/silly/old." I smile at them, and I hope they feel a moment of lightness, but I own only my actions, not their reactions.
Nah. It's #2 that makes me anxious. I am of the nature to become ill or injured; I cannot avoid illness or injury.
I understand the reality of that one. And it terrifies me. I don't want to have a knee replacement that will take me away from my routine for at least six months. I don't want my stomach to hurt. I don't want to feel drained of energy, where the thought of leaving the house is daunting.
I resist the idea that I won't just drop dead one day, that I may have to experience the limitations of body that come with age. That I already am experiencing them. I suffer about it. Sometimes.
And yet ... most days I get up and walk around and do what I want. I take a two-mile walk at lunchtime on workdays. I breath, and I don't even think about it except when it's impeded. I type. I type a lot. And sometimes my hands hurt, but they still work. Truly, my medical conditions are not all that serious in the moment, just annoying.
So I try to stay present, meditating on examining tables while waiting for doctors to come in, feeling the feels, rejoicing and mourning from moment to moment. It is the best medicine I have found.
 "Furthermore...just as if a sack with openings at both ends were full of various kinds of grain — wheat, rice, mung beans, kidney beans, sesame seeds, husked rice — and a man with good eyesight, pouring it out, were to reflect, 'This is wheat. This is rice. These are mung beans. These are kidney beans. These are sesame seeds. This is husked rice,' in the same way, monks, a monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.'
"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
(gory descriptions of rotting corpses)
"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.