I am learning how it feels to function without stress. How it feels to live when nothing is going wrong. What life is like when there are no fires to put out. I’m learning how to function when not feeling the rush of being high – from being in love, or absorbed in the talons of passion, or filled with an unstoppable flow of creativity. I’m learning what it’s like to not feel the lows – the deeply rooted sadness, sorrow, intense heartache, fear, or pain. I’m learning what it’s like to not feel the energy that comes from wanting. Buddhists label the feeling of wanting as suffering. I’m learning what it feels like to let go of suffering. I’m learning what it’s like to not worry about what others think about me. I’m learning what it feels like to not put mental energy into projecting a certain image of myself. I’m learning what it feels like to not have desire for physical intimacy. To not feel the need for having a romantic interest in my life. To not feel loneliness, when I am alone. I’m learning how to fuel my creativity without the fueled emotions.
The past two years have been an intense roller coaster ride, one that I grew accustomed to. Now I’m on a new ride, more akin to the carousel, one that moves at a slow relaxed pace. This pace is an adjustment to my central nervous system. To my mind and body. I’m learning how to adjust.
I’m learning that I like feeling. And this new realm seems bland after all the highs, lows, all the feelings of want, desire, heartache, fear, joy, and love. Is this the state that Buddhism supports? It seems boring. Where’s the euphoria? The intensity that I had grown accustomed to is gone. No chemicals pumping through my body feeding the different states. Just being. No looking forward to. No craving for what I had in the past. Just here. Now. Something I haven’t gotten used to just yet.
The highs and lows fed me. Fueled me in many ways. And the wanting kept my mind and body occupied. Now what? A justness with this new way. A settling in. I wonder, Is this ‘the way’ that we are supposed to embrace? Is this the middle way? I’m starting to notice all of the suffering of others, the violence in this country. The extremes of wealth and poverty. Is this where my focus will turn now? Now that I have given myself the time to grow, feel, to heal. It seems I have moved a bit out of my own internal world. Maybe this shift will provide space for a new focus, extending peace outside my small circle of friends, acquaintances, and students.
The natural chemical cocktail kept things interesting. Fun. It had energy behind it. But I’ll rest in this new place, where my focused path has led me. I see my life as an experiment, so I will move into it with curiosity, setting my intentions, and setting them free. Like a boomerang I have seen how they come back to me. I’ll live my life in the present moment, staying open to what each new day presents. And rest in the knowing that everything unfolds at its own pace and for its own purpose.
Copyright Suzanne Norton, December 22, 2015