A Good Day to Be Alive

The German teacher, Eckhart Tolle, refers to the pain body” as the the state where we humans get stuck in our emotions. As opposed to being “in our heads,” being in the pain body is gut-wrenching!

Due to the some trauma and some cultural messages about manhood, I hid my feelings for forty years, I wasn’t in the pain body much.

It’s only recently that I’ve gotten stuck in sadness or fear. Prior to my awakening, I was more of a human doing than a human being – so I was kind’ve emotionless.

I’m glad that’s over…kind of.

For the most part, I’ve been quite happy on this trip. Getting away from the dual responsibilities of selling a home and trying to rescue a faltering business during the pandemic was freeing and joyful! Despite the occasional days of fear or grief, I got used to feeling great most of the time as we wandered from town to town.

It’s all gonna keep getting better, right? The Adventure will keep being fun, yeah? Well, not exactly.

I recognize, now, I became attached to happiness. I had so many days walking through the woods whistling a happy tune, that I thought, “this is how life is gonna be! I’ve found the way!”

Like it or not, that’s not the way life unfolds or how we accrue wisdom. Instead of life being a tropical paradise, it’s more like a giant roller coaster. Highs are inevitably followed by dips and, sometimes, a loopdeeloop. Yikes!

In Buddhist teachings, we learn that suffering happens when we’re attached to anything – including a belief that life should be mostly anything – including happy. It’s like thinking that the rollercoaster would be all flat, up or down. Nope.

So, I fell into a trap. I believed that I had figured it all out. Ha!

The Adventure has many ups and downs and some straightaways, too. The lightness of leaving all your stuff and your home behind is followed by the dark realization that you’re homeless. The skipping over stones in the stream is followed by a slip and a plunge into the water. Some days are just, well, 24 hours. And so it goes, on and on.

So, this morning and all day long, I worked on my stuff. I rose early, walked the dog, showered, meditated, filmed Beth’s class, shopped for food, invoiced a client and did six hours of sound and video editing. I got ready for tomorrow’s gig and here I am writing because I have to rise early and do some writing and recording at a school in the Catskills.

I did not get stuck today in any expectations that life would be smooth, rough, happy or sad. I just pursued my goals with easeful, consistent determination and a smile. I let go of the results and, instead, gave myself over to the flow.

The learning is this: emotions are important aspects to cultivate, but not to be confused with the inner pursuit of one’s dreams and goals. Been there, done that. The next muscle to develop is feeling AND pursuing AND not allowing one of the aspects to dominate the others. It’s about finding the new balance to match the new wisdom. And eventually, on some days, it becomes FLOW.

Today was a good day to be alive.

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