Astonished at Astonishment
For some inexplicable reason that I cannot quite fathom, change still surprises me. It’s crazy, I know, since things are changing all the time. Yet, significant deviations from equilibrium still manage to confound me, as if I’ve somehow convinced myself that despite all logical evidence to the contrary, this time, some particular arrangement or state of affairs that I enjoyed would stay exactly as it was: nice, neat and orderly, just the way I like it.
This is a tough nut to crack…it’s one of the foundational truths taught by the Buddha, in addition to being so obviously very, very true. Just when you’re starting to get comfortable…boom! The neighbour starts playing loud music right in the middle of your meditation sit, you have a fight with your parents, you drop a bowl of curry all over your nice dress. Bleh. It happens all the time.
But then the things that I do want to change remain SO DARN sticky. I swear, I have tried to give up dairy products a million times, except when fresh chai is wafting in front of my nose…creamy, silky smooth cardamom deliciousness that throws all resolutions out the window. Tastebuds have defeated tummy, yet again, and things stay the same.
This is still very much a work in progress. But I came across a Mary Oliver poem this morning that I found very helpful, whilst reading Judson’s Brewer wonderful book on craving and addiction:
“Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.”
So perhaps what’s needed is to pay attention to my astonishment, instead of directing energy to becoming newly astonished at my astonishment when things change. Paying attention to astonishment means stepping off the wheel, at least for a little bit. And, what you learn from paying attention may, in and of itself, be quite astonishing! I’m going to check this out for a while, and you should also. Then let’s tell each other about it 🙂
You are right – change is a hard nut to crack. Your idea about giving room to those secondary reactions seems key. Thanks for the reminder!