Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Saturday, September 08, 2012

On Accepting

So much of what I read of the Buddha's teachings make sense. Difficulty lies in the acceptance of these teachings. How often do friends or family advise us on an issue, but we neglect the advice, even if it does seem to make sense? Every day we do things that we know may not be the healthiest or wisest of choices. This is part of being human, in my opinion. Our attachments do lead to suffering much of the time, and accepting things such as aging, ill-health and mortality still strike us harshly and oftentimes lead us to look for justifications. Using myself as an example, I have spent most of my life placing extreme physical demands upon my body, allowed stress to have a massive impact on my overall health and, when I do get sick it is usually really sick (I am presently overcoming a bout of pneumonia which hit me in early August) and, as a result, incredibly depressed. I need look no further than myself for that which transpires in aches and pains, illness, etc., and I am very aware that I need to make accommodations in my life to find a gentler balance if I intend to live to a ripe age... but still, my mind is set on living at a high intensity; driven like the addiction that it is. I must accept the nature of my being and accept that what I become is largely a part of the choices that I make. So much of what we see in the current Yoga and Eastern Philosophy is about stillness and "organic living" with a range of supplementation to replace the miracles of nature which have been washed from our foods - ideas that I embrace whole heartedly up to a point, wary always of the marketing and pretty labels. Stillness and mindfulness definitely lead one to being more in the moment and foster a sense of greater control - observing beauty that is often blurred as we rush about in the bustle of our lives. But, personally, my sense of being present has more or less resided in more masochistic undertakings - pressing up the side of a mountain, the rush of rambling over a technically challenging mountain bike route, clinging with fading finger grip on a rock ledge, pushing for the precipice. Ultimately, we all have our lifestyle choices. Mine might be read as being ego based, and, I won't deny that it feels pretty good when guys half my age struggle to keep up with my mid-life carcass. However, I do that which I do because I love it.

Hardest for me is the accepting that our lifestyle choices do not guarantee our perfect health and happiness. In the past two months, two women who are very dear to me, were diagnosed with breast cancer. These two individuals in their late 30's join another dear female friend of mine who had this disease in her late 20's, all of whom were/are active, healthy-lifesty oriented people (non-smokers, etc.). In my teen years, a friend of mine died of leukaemia, and, at present, a young mother across the street from us is in her second year of battling this horrible disease. My uncle, again, non-smoker and non-drinker, contracted liver and lung cancer, passing away at 65 years of age. Contrast this to my Aunt who smokes like a chimney, had bowel cancer in the late 1960's, breast cancer in the 1980's and is still growing strong at the age of 80. My Mother, also a heavy smoker and not the healthiest of eaters, had breast cancer 5 years ago and has since made some positive lifestyle changes. My father-in-law, a spry man in his 70's and probably healthier than most, has never had a cancer, smokes a pipe constantly, loves his fatty, rich foods, wine and meats. I am not saying that all the science we have on the hazards of certain things is erroneous, but rather that, ultimately, life is what it is - no guarantees. 

So how are we to view and live our lives? At what point to we negate passion and pleasures for detachment with the goal of negating the sufferings they cause? What are we truly capable of accepting, being emotional creatures? In the end, it is a personal matter, and we can only find those answers within our selves.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home