Reflections on life in marriage, microbiology, and meditation

Monday, December 22, 2003

Did it help, or didn't it? Yes and no. I was using a heart rate meter, and I could see my heart rate going up from slow run 140 to slow run plus rage 165 -- and down again in a few minutes; and up again when I relived the incident. It made me realize that something completely unrelated to me could get me raging mad in seconds. What use to hold on to such a state?
There's an Indian story about a disciple asking a sage how to let go of one's ego. (I guess it was ego, but it might just as well have been anger, there's not much difference). The sage stood holding a branch, and he replied: "I'll answer you as soon as this branch lets go of my hand."
Letting go is/is not/is/ (pull the petals from a daisy) an act of will. Perhaps this anger wants me to learn something and perhaps it will come back until I have learnt it. But it's a paralyzing state to be in.
This Christmas season somehow finds me angry. Positively choking on anger. So much for eudokias.
It did not help when I was running my training round and some biker yelled at me: 'Idiot!' Took me far too long to realize the poor man was introducing himself. L'esprit de l'escalier, the French call it.
Anyhow, running and that strange incident -- I have no clue what Mr Idiot could have been objecting to -- did much to help the anger evaporate somewhat.
Thay advises me to embrace my anger and to look deeply into the nature of my suffering. That's what I'm going to do.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

That's too bleak a view, of course. Knowledge and ability do come in somewhere.
I'm supposed to be an expert in, say, the serological diagnosis of Lyme disease. Now, this is very difficult, meaning that we cannot do it as well as we would like, and that we do not know as much about it as we would like to. In contrast, very good tests exist for the diagnosis of other diseases. They are part of my daily work too, but I don't consider myself an expert in those fields. So, what are the elements of expertise?
Inability and ignorance, that's what.
An association: in Mark Epstein's book _Thoughts without a Thinker_, the sense of self is viewed as originating from, built up around, holes in early emotional experience.
It seems we go to great lengths to hide our deficiencies.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Went to work anyhow, but took things easy.
Someone asked me to make a small adaptation to a computer program I had written a few years ago. What a joy that was, to let go of the little day-to-day silliness for once and do what I'm good at! Makes me wonder: isn't it high time for me to learn a proper profession?
I can't keep wondering what I will do when I grow up, can I?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Three of our family of six are down with a virus, myself included. Long live impermanence!
Strange: a lot of publicity is given to the idea that somatic complaints can hide psychological problems, but the reverse: an infection masquerading at first as general dissatisfaction with life, is seldom mentioned.
I hope we have enough person-power left to keep things running until I'm well again -- in a few days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

A few days back, I wrote that my body was telling me that I could not live 'this way'. The question, then, was, what 'this way' might mean. Now things are more clear and there are few answers. It is bad for me to get carried away by emotions such as hatred and distrust, especially when I don't know what I'm talking about. Desire, anger, and ignorance: somehow this sounds familiar.
CFS as a teacher -- a strange idea. 'I have been blessed with my teachers.' I remember reading about English 'to bless' and French 'blesser' being cognate, but I forgot where I read it. Dale, perhaps?
Speaking of French: there is a web page with a talk by Thay, in French. It is called 'L'art de maÓtriser une tempÍte'. http://www.villagedespruniers.org/ens_tempete.htm
It helped me a lot.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

It's liberating to realize that I had things completely wrong in this clash with my boss which isn't a clash anymore.
May others also have this exhilarating experience, expecially when they disagree with me ;) !

Monday, December 08, 2003

I went to talk to our business director, in order to sort out what had been going on. And when he filled me in on the background, it became clear that my perceptions had been wrong.
So: 1) I'm more of a fool than I give myself credit for;
2) the solution was somewhere in the list of the previous post!
It's one of Thay's Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings (cannot find the link button, but they are at http://www.iamhome.org/14mt.htm ), and boy, do I need them!
Looking -- as deeply as I can -- into the nature of suffering, mostly suffering experienced by me, that's not nonsense. And, if I can help it, not pretentious either. So I'll blog on for a while.
Often other people tell me that they had the same problem as I, and sometimes that helps them to suffer less. So it's OK to start with my own problems, of which I have plenty.
The ability to handle stress is as much an ability of the body as one of the mind, and CFS/ME, be it mental or physical, lessens this ability. Stress is not going to go away, so what can I do to achieve a better balance? I'll write down what comes to mind.
- breathing consciously
- enjoying what is good
- examining my own ideas for functionality and plausibility (that's what CBT does for you ;) )
(Dysfunctional thought: business director is villain. Functional thought: business director is business director. Still bad enough, but much more manageable.)
- trying to see things in proportion -- how will we all be 300 years from now?
- not assuming absolute truth for my perceptions and views
- remembering to relax
- Sit! (in English and in Latin, too: let it be)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Something happened at work, last Wednesday. We -- some 17 managers -- were in a meeting with our business director, and he told us all a story that I felt could not possibly be true. I challenged him, as diplomatically as I could, and that diplomacy seems to have worked.
But since then my CFS/ME/whateveritis (hey, that's a good pun) symptoms have recurred. It is as if my body is telling me that I cannot live this way. All pretty well, but how _can_ I live?

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