Zen Mornings 12/6/11
Yesterday I learned that waking up in the morning straight from a negative dream makes negative, foggy and heavy morning mind. Usually upon waking my mind is in a restful, peaceful state, even if I begin to think about what I need to do for the day. There is usually not much sense of nagging. But after waking up from, not necessarily a nightmare, but a dream about things that have been on my mind in the past and have brought me pain, it causes me to wake up in a less-than-optimal mood. It feels as real for my mind as if the dream truly happened. I wake up, essentially, from a bad day. How does one best recover from “bad dream mornings”?
Yesterday I learned that there are a combination of things in my mind reminding me that I am still having a very difficult time letting things go. In particular, answers I do not have. For example, the dream I’ve alluded to in the previous paragraph. The situation in my dream reminds me that there is still a part of my recent past having to do with a particular person that still sneaks up into my mind more than I appreciate. Things were unresolved–answers were never mine. This bothers me to no end. That why. I’ve had many of these situations in the past– wanting to know why something happened or why someone did the things they did, and never getting an answer. Not getting an answer is a huge barrier for me. It plagues my studies as well, as I oftentimes get stuck on the answers to existential questions rather than the practice of the Path. It’s not about the answers. None of it. And usually, when I finally do receive answers to nagging questions, the answers are not what I would have liked to hear, and I feel just as deflated as before I knew them. I must remember to not necessarily let go of the answer, but let go of reliance on the answer, and to let go of the question itself. If the answer should come to me it will, and if it should not come to me, then so be it. I can’t continue to allow the questions to cause so much distraction in my mind. The answers are not the path.
Yesterday I learned that the mall is one of the strangest places in the world to me. It was like stepping into another dimension, full of perfume and candle smells, of shoppers dressed in their very best outfits, sales associates dressed in formal business attire, standing in the shoe department, waiting. Strange. Everything is new. So many brand new items, so many buying brand new things. What on earth for? To boast a $200 shirt? To be able to say they own a Coach bag? So much production, and yet there are so many goods already being thrown out that are perfectly good to use. What would happen if all production on clothing and bags and shoes stopped for, say, a year? What if we simply traded what we already have during this time? I can guarantee there would be enough goods to keep even the most picky teenage girl satisfied. I suppose many of the problems of our society today stem from that very basic premise–we use so, so much more than what we could ever need.
Yesterday I learned that nothing compares to the food you grew up eating. My entire house (all 6 of us) and our close friends are all Midwesterners, living in California. Last night, one of us cooked a massive feast of cheesy lasagna and buttered rolls. It was a different level of tasty, unlike all other meals cooked in this house. This is Midwestern food, someone pointed out as we all silently scarfed down our plates. That’s why it is so wonderful, we realized. Familiarity, nostalgia, our moms home cooked meals–it reminded us all of another time, and our taste buds responded accordingly. What’s your favorite dish from the region you grew up in?