I was planning to write a post today about holiday gift-giving and how we're all under so much pressure to buy presents that we forget what it's like to be generous. Except on Saturday I started to feel pain around my right eye. I thought it was probably from grinding my teeth (I have TMJ) but by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and redness appeared underneath my bottom eyelid.
I am lying in bed, and I want to stay here. It's warm. I'm comfortable. I feel the weight of the comforter, the cat pressed against my leg. And yet I'm not happy. I think about people who greet the day with smiles. I am not one of them. I think about what I have to do today -- nothing much. And I remember this blog post.
Seven years ago, I developed a mysterious chronic pain in my upper body that had me unable to type, hold a piece of paper, and relegated to the cool wooden floor of my girlfriend’s apartment for hours a day.
I was 26, unable to work, and learning to dial a phone with my toes.
In our culture, we place a high emphasis on intellectual learning. Yet our personal growth seems to depend on how we translate what we read and hear into some deeper, possibly wordless understanding. Even Suzuki Roshi once said about his own (brilliant) lectures, "It is like giving you a recipe. It doesn't work. You cannot eat a recipe."
So how do we grow the teachings in our heart and in our body, and in the whir of New York City no less?