Thursday, 3 October 2019

Man-flu Zazen

Composed last night while I should have been sitting in serene contemplation...!
Man-flu Zazen
Throbbing sinuses
Wheezing in-breath
Raw-rimmed nostrils
Church bells on the evening breeze
I remember Tenshin Roshi talking once about sitting when you're not feeling the best, and it's stuck with me. I'm sure he was making a more profound point that what I took away from it... but for what it's worth, here's what I've learned from sitting while sick!

The natural reaction is to think, "Oh I feel awful - I'll pick up my zazen when this Freshers' Flu is over..." But it's actually a great opportunity to sit in the middle of not being OK and to really live that. We try to rush past our experiences of suffering, but if in some sense we are our suffering, then to rush past the less pleasing parts of our lives is to not live our lives fully.

I'm not trying to glorify suffering, to make a virtue of it - even in its mildest versions (like man flu!) there's little romance or inherent morality in it. And our more serious sufferings test us like nothing else. But: this is where we stand. And we gain little (in the long term) denying our circumstances.

So my winter challenge to you: sit with the sniffles!