Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Dukkha

Dukkha (Pāli; Sanskrit: duḥkha; Tibetan: སྡུག་བསྔལ་ sdug bsngal, pr. "duk-ngel") is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "suffering", "anxiety", "stress", or "unsatisfactoriness".

I sit quietly in my chair, thinking how I attach myself to the renegade thoughts floating through my head. Some are easy to resist. I watch them come and go. Others seem to “get me,” kidnapping me until I can escape back onto my seat.

These thoughts that wait around in my head are not strangers. They seem to reside in me, and jump into my conscious mind whenever I pause from the busyness of life. I'd like to call them “old friends,” but, honestly, they are kind of boring.

I hear an airplane overhead. Forgetting where (or who) I am, or what I'm doing, I eagerly board the plane. I scold myself for doing so, but still, I find myself sitting in my favorite aisle seat. Soon the plane noise stops, and I return to me and my seat. And then, just as I congratulated myself for jumping ship and returning to my chair, the noise starts again and I'm back on the ship, looking at the clouds passing by.

Finally the plane quiets down, and other noises in the temple start appearing. They are not so seductive as the plane. I worry that some might not like these noises, calling them distracting. I try to think of them as opportunities for practice. But actually, they were fairly easy targets as they are unenticing, unlike the plane that buzzes through the sky.

I wrote the other day about how active meditation can be. Will the timer go off? Will people be irritated that our environment isn't perfect, devoid of all stimuli? Why do we call it meditation, anyway?

Perhaps crossing a busy street in the city should be called meditation and sitting quietly should be called crossing a busy street. Perhaps I should “just sit.”

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