I was feeling the need to include Pema Chodron’s writings again on the blog.
This comes from “When Things Fall Apart” – one of my favorite books:
“We think that if we just meditated enough or jogged or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the point of view of someone who’s awake, that’s death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self-contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn’t have any fresh air. There’s nothing to come in and interrupt all that. We are killing the moment by controlling our experience. Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we’re going to have an experience we can’t control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we’re going to find out we have cancer, or somebody’s going to spill tomato juice all over our white suit.
The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes and opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100% healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and trying to get it all together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and all the imperfections into a nice smooth ride. To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s land, to experience each moment as completely fresh and new.”
This is definitely how I am living now, in a no-man’s land…not because I’m a Buddhist who’s chosen to be fully awake and alive, but because of the situations in my life. So when I read that again, it reminded me that not only is it okay to be living in a state of flux, or not quite knowing where life is taking me, it’s actually a good thing.
Truthfully, it doesn’t always feel so good, but I’m working on that.