Re: enough

It seems to be the mantra of my mind that whatever is right now isn’t quite enough.  In Buddhism it is part of dukkha or dissatisfaction.  Now maybe there is some survival purpose to this tendency of the mind, to keep us from getting too complacent and to make sure we survive, but it does get out of hand.  My mantra today is: “This moment is enough. I am enough.”  If I feel like I want more and different, I want it to be just that, a want more than a need or complusion.  I don’t need more, or to do more, to feel enough.  I want to revel in what the Italians call “dolce far niente”, or the sweetness of doing nothing. I actually try  to stay on top of things, because when the times comes for “dolce far niente”, I don’t want anything to contaminate its sweetness.  If I am feeling guilty because I “should” be balancing my checkbook or some other similar task, the guilt is like milk that is slightly off, or downright sour depending on how much I have put off doing.  So, I get it done as a gift to myself, so I can enjoy moments of nothing as fully as possible.  Yet, they really aren’t moments of necessarily nothing.  They are moments free of obligation, compulsive doing, should, and ought to’s. I might suddenly feel like cooking a meal and slowly savoring the experience of it or just sitting on my patio in the sun and enjoying its warmth while I pay attention to the simple  joy of breathing.  It comes out of flow and spontaneity, not from a to do list.  It gives me time to just notice this incredible and mysterous world around me.

However, I often have to have a talk with myself first.  Doing nothing seems to go against our American ideal of being industrious. It may permeate other cultures, but I am immersed in my own.  It certainly goes against my workaholic tendencies.  One of the ways I cope with anxiety is to get into doing mode, then I can tell myself that I am  doing something about whatever I am anxious about.  Which has it value.  It is the doing part of the Serenity Prayer.  The full prayer goes like this:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Not only do I have the courage, I have the compulsion to change what I think I can.  I search relentlessly for what I think I can change.  It is the first and last part of the prayer that are the challenge for me.  Sometimes my meditation practice is just sitting with the anxiety while praying to access that wisdom.  I sit and conjure up curiosity about the physical experience of anxiety while trying to quiet the story that comes with it. The story often only enforces the physiology of anxiety.

Gratitude will often help to settle me into the space of just being.  When I sense myself on overdrive in the doing department I will switch into gratitude.  It is like a bridge between doing and being.  I am still doing, I am actively being grateful, but it more gracefully allows me to slip into enjoying what is.  I get closer to the sweetness of doing nothing and letting go of the need to be anything.

Today I have extra help in the doing nothing department, I am home sick.  I am using it to practice doing nothing, or at least doing less, and enjoying it as much as my scratchy throat and achy body will allow.  I felt like writing this, so I did.  And now, I feel like a lovely cozy nap.


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