Day 16: Irony of the Joy of Perseverance

Well, hello day!

When in the shadow of looming change, it’s definitely a time for keeping one’s head. Too often, in the past, I have got excited and thrown caution to the wind, riding high on the wave of ecstatic delight! However, in a dualistic world, where highs and lows are inextricably linked, one must take some caution in how they ride that wave or they come crashing down – been there?

I have been fortunate (and unfortunate really) to be one of those people who can coast through life 85% of the time – things generally work out ok without too much effort. However, as I have gotten older, I have begun to see the flaws in this approach to life. I certainly could be accused of having the pattern of stumbling into those things that I find easy, am good at and/or are enjoyable and rapidly losing interest in those things that I find difficult, am not a ‘natural’ at and involve periods of hardship.

Fortunately, life has a way of presenting you with opportunities to practice those things you would otherwise avoid. So I am going through one of those periods now. I can’t say too much about this just yet; all will become apparent in due course. What I can say is that there is a part of me that definitely wants to run off in a state of heady delight, throwing caution to reason. Conversely, there is the part of me that is all too aware of what the consequences of that will be. These aspects of me have come to a sort of working agreement about how things will progress. ‘Heady Delight’ is fuelling the activity that is currently required and ‘Sensible Me’ is methodically figuring out the steps involved and the sequence that is required. It is a great partnership!

When Heady Delight gets a bit too stirred up, it gets uncomfortable, with such symptoms as the ‘butterflies,’ stress and heart palpitations. When ‘Sensible Me’ gets overly cautious it gets heavy, depressing and I feel a bit stuck. However, when they are balanced I persevere joyously and things get done effortlessly and, hence, the joy of perseverance! Why the ‘irony’? Well, it probably isn’t that ironic to many of you but to a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’-er it is a new experience and ironically enjoyable. I guess, something akin to a dancer who has struggled for years working tirelessly to get somewhere and reaches that beautiful moment in time when they can finally rejoice in all their great effort and perseverance because now they are truly good at what they do. At this stage I am still in the learning but seeing results stage.

Also ironic because we think that riding the wave of the ‘high’ is something to aspire towards; to constantly chase after. On reflection, this simply creates suffering and, while we should certainly enjoy the highs, we ought view them with a little caution. If we lose ourselves in them (that is, lose awareness), then you can almost guarantees a low will follow. Rather, if we watch them like an old wise man watching a child play (as the teachings say) then we won’t fall so heavily when things unavoidably change and the conditions that supported that high are no longer there or the high no longer sustains our interest.

So I am off to do another day of chores with a sense of satisfaction that I am making measured progress.

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About annaj

We're all inter-connected and interdependent, so there is not much more for me to say about myself that you don't already know about you. Like all beings, feathered, furred or clothed, I wish to be happy. Around the year 2005, I discovered the Buddhist teachings via a near break-down (when I could no longer live up to my mind-made personal expectations), the kindness of friends, yoga and a book store. For me, from there, there was no looking back. I love the experiential truth that the Buddhist teachings embody. There is nothing there that you cannot experience yourself with a little patience, determination and open-mindedness.

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