I am sitting down, with a cup of vividly hot Earl Grey tea. My toe is aching, having broken it right before meditation in class on Thursday. A stupid mistake to make when the whole class is centered around being mindful of yourself and your environment. But as I mindfully set my shoes down, and mindfully walked back to my zafu, I very unmindfully caught my toe on the table leg and fell forward, breaking two of the small bones above my pinky. So now I am sitting down with tea, to write a blog about being mindful, and all I can think about is my stupid toe.
A lot of my life feels like this; like I have control over everything, but one omnipresent issue that looms over each particle of my life. I can be experiencing a perfect day, as days go, and then an irritant, or problem arises, and it becomes all that I can focus on. It doesn’t matter that I have been blessed with an amazing family, healthy children, a comfortable home, and a bright future; when a broken toe, or a overly pricey bill comes up, I zero in on it, and my day is altered fervently.
I do not know how to change this. It is strange to me that we, as human beings, qualify pleasure and happiness above negative things in life, and yet we allow the negatives so much more leeway in our lives. We can talk up and down about how we are happy, positive people, but when it comes down to it, one bad thing, as moderate as it is, can destroy a lifetime of positives, which are comparably much stronger.
But that is the way we are built. We are programed to float on joy, until one tiny pebble, capsizes our life raft. In retrospect, we are weak minded people, with weak minded ideals. Somehow, more easily swayed by the pain in life, than the pleasure. Perhaps that is why the Buddhists say that life is suffering. I would agree with that, but only because I think that humans allow it to be.
So this is where I am deciding to choose otherwise. I am sitting here with a broken toe, and a cup of earl grey tea. I am writing a blog entry about both of them, but now, after discovering this for myself, I am choosing to focus on the tea. It is warm, like a bath in a cup. It is fragrant and enjoyable. I sip it for a while, and it reminds me of many other times that I felt comfort and joy with a cup in my hand. I cannot even feel my toe anymore. I can still feel the warmth of the tea going down my throat. Perhaps what is lasting is not necessarily pain or pleasure, perhaps it is simply whatever we choose to give attention and power to in our lives. For myself, I choose the tea.