/* /* Eclectic Contemplative: May I be peaceful, happy, and light

Eclectic Contemplative

Driven by a need for a more reflective approach to existence, I am exploring contemplative thought from a variety of traditions, particularly Catholic and Buddhist, in an effort to find a practice that will enable me to access that "inner room" that is at once still and luminous.

Monday, February 19, 2007

May I be peaceful, happy, and light

I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Teachings on Love for the second time. I'm reading the part about including yourself in your metta recitation - "May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit." He says that you cannot love and accept others before you love and accept yourself. There is even a very sweet teaching about congratulating yourself at the end of each day for what you did right! It feels like a very strange thing to do, but it is definitely an improvement over the usual mental recitation of things left undone and things waiting to be done tomorrow!

Lately I have felt resentful over a cascade of health concerns that are requiring me to make more and more lifestyle modifications. I already felt that I was at my limit for how many things I could pay adequate attention to! But after reflecting on the causes of my resentments towards my body, I realized that my problems are mostly a result of having not paid enough attention and given enough energy to my health in the past. That attention and energy went elsewhere, and my body held up the best it could. Now I have to take that energy back from people and things that have grown quite accustomed to having it. That will take focus and consistency and a conviction that there isn't much in my life that is more important than the vessel that houses my spirit!

I also have to accept the fact that the injury I suffered in the car accident two years ago is going to have a much greater impact on what I can and can't do in the future than I imagined. It's hard not to tally the losses: I can no longer do this; I have to cut back on that; I have to watch out for this; and, I am too young for this! I could try to make myself feel better by thinking about how much worse it could have been, but that seems like a mental game. It is what it is in this eternally unfolding present moment, and I will know what to do as it continues to unfold. In a very real sense, the past does not exist. It is not suspended somewhere, something less than "final", until I accept it! So now I have a few things I can still fix if I work very hard, and a couple things I will just have to manage with the best I can.

I remember a line from a Cat Stevens song: "Lord, my body has been a good friend, but I won't need it when I reach the end." But I'm far from the end, I hope, so I will try not to lose sight of the goal!


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