Sunday, July 20, 2014
One of the key practices that keeps me in touch with my recovery is friendliness. This is a simple attitude towards life taught by the Buddha, that transforms my physical and emotional experience into a workable field of blessings:
May I be well and happy.
May I be joyful and live in safety,
Free from suffering
And the causes of suffering.
The first line, "May I be well and happy," is the core practice of friendliness to myself. The teaching continues, "May YOU be well and happy," and culminates in "May ALL BEINGS be well and happy."
Just formulating this thought connects me with my basic desire to wake up to my life, in a way that benefits all beings.
Sunday, July 06, 2014
This week, as part of my recovery, I have been doing a yoga intensive for half of each day. Though I have to be very careful due to dizziness, scar tissue and other aftereffects of the accidents, deep inside it feels like the first week of a new life.
Every morning I have gotten up and done a short session of seated meditation. I practice shikantaza, which is another name for Zen meditation. "Shikantaza" means "Nothing but just sitting." To do zazen, one places the legs in a position that can be maintained, then sits upright with continuous attention on posture and breathing. Though the moments tick on, one brings up the same exact, clear attentiveness moment after moment.
After zazen, I have done an asana practice, and later in the day, restorative asanas and a pranayama practice.
My intensive ends Monday morning. Though I am doing the poses in greatly modified versions due to the limitations imposed by injury, I have been able to maintain attention in a way that would have been unimaginable at the beginning. It had to be rebuilt moment by moment from day one.
Again, none of this feels wonderful in the moment. However, underneath, a sense of greater well-being is building. Though it is painful, suffering is not the whole story. How great this human life can be.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
A couple of months ago, one of my health professionals expressed surprise about the unexpected success of my rehab. He said that though recovery was not expected in my case beyond the two-year mark, there had been steady progress since then.
I asked, "What's different about my case?" He said, "Two things. First, your meditation practice gives you more tools in the toolbox. Second, and this may be related, though most people give up, you persist."
If I had not been taking refuge every day since these accidents in daily meditation practice, I would never have known what strengths a "disabled" person can build. Sitting zazen does not feel wonderful, particularly in the first few minutes when it is hard to get into the position. What a surprise to realize that something as simple as bringing myself to sit still and appreciate my life, can help build a miracle such as an unexpected recovery.
Monday, May 27, 2013
The 20 months of rehab after the big accident came to an abrupt end when an SUV plowed into me while I was walking across a street. There were surgeries, more rehab, and now I am back. It is great to have a community of like-minded people, interested in nutrition and fitness, to return to. This is such a long journey. The enthusiastic presence of others on this path, makes a huge difference.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Since the accident, the doctors say no strength training. It has been 5 months. They will tell me when it is OK to start again. I am sad to gain 20 pounds after the hard work of the months before, but I am very happy to be alive and able to write here again.
I started yoga a few days after the accident -- very mild poses. I was unable to walk for a few months, but now I can walk again. I am taking public transit and walking to all the appointments. I am doing the physical therapy exercises at home. I am doing my best to heal.
I'm keeping track of nutrition, water and sleep. I hope this will help the healing process.
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