An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
The trails are wet and muddy from the thaw and the rains. As I have written before, the mud “wounds” of the trail are an apt metaphor for how we approach difficulty in our lives. Our tendency may be to avoid these difficulties, to skirt around their edges, but this only prolongs them. The way beyond is through, feet wet, toes oozing with mud.
The other morning, I awoke with terrific ankle pain. Sharp, aching, and deep. It felt like a fracture. Yet I knew it was probably soft tissue. I hobbled for a while and then I fumbled around on my calf and found some juicy trigger points and massaged them to release the pressure. The pain relented and I went for a long run with dogs (no helicopters this morning).
The first few minutes of running are good reminders of impermanence. Often, it feels like I am dying. A sense of dread fills my body as lactic acid and whatever other physiological processes are occurring. I know it feels bad AND only lasts a few moments. It is the death before release into the pleasure of running. It is the gateway that must be negotiated. If I was to focused on how awful it felt, I’d never get to the good parts.
Impermanence is all around when we are paying attention. These lessons are easy to ignore or make into something aversive. Wherever you are and whether you have mud season you can find these lessons. Move toward them and enjoy the wetness between your toes. It may make a mess but it lets you know you are alive!