25 May 2016

Life at the moment is hollow, fragmented, boring really. I try and fill it with small bursts of anger and activity here and there but my fears of overdoing it and thus extending this dull slog even further are too strong. I am still hopefully counting the days of this sick cert, ignoring any thoughts of having to renew it next Monday. I try to occupy myself doing little things. I watch the sky, smell the wet garden with its slight whiff of rotting voodoo lily blossoms. I work curled up on my bed, reading through long articles of UN resolutions stunned by their simple beauty (right to safety and health at work, right to land and natural resources, right to maintaining traditional knowledge, right to seed, right to land, right to social security and so on). But mostly I wait. I try not to, but underneath it all, there runs this strong current of watching and listening and waiting.

Of course, there is the protocol and I followed it beautifully to the letter this time, lab works, ecg, lung function, and the eternally repetitive 'you need to rest'. 

I could remove myself and observe it all from a distance, add some irony and make it sound funny. I could shout and wail how unfair life is treating me - again. But all this requires an effort I don't seem to be able to come up with. Not again. 

There are times when I very much want to not be able to cope. Thinking what a relief it would be to abandon all hope of recovery and with it all fears of disappointment, loss.

This, of course, is not something I am capable of. I am one of those creatures who look at the shadow on the cave wall fully convinced of its reality. In the main staircase of my secondary school,  I walked past a mural of Plato's allegory every school day morning for eight impressionable years. It is true that most of these mornings I was far too sleepy to actually look at the thing but there you have it, the powers of subconscious perception and now I am living with the results of enforced study of classic languages and antiquities.

And yet, and yet:

Don't strain yourself, there is nothing to do.
Whatever arises in the mind
has no importance at all,
because it has no reality whatsoever.
Don't become attached to it. Don't pass judgement.
Let the game happen on its own,
emerging and falling back - without changing anything -
and all will vanish and begin anew, without end.

Lama Gendün Rinpoche


  1. What I suffer from is quite different than from what you suffer. But. I recognize so much here.
    And that quote applies to my situation as it does to yours and I thank you for that.
    You are a beautiful writer. You are a beautiful woman.

  2. We are so lucky to have the beauty of all the good thinkers, poets, and dreamers who came before us and wrote down the words that sustain our hearts. They remind us that we are all on the same path, teach us to know the biggest truths and exhale in the calm of such peace. Take care there, Sabine.

  3. You write so beautifully without a trace of self-pity and sentimentality. I especially like the sentence: "I try and fill it with small bursts of anger and activity..." That was a surprising thing right there -- your courage and doggedness are admired.

    Be well.

  4. I am sorry you are having a bad spell. I hope this passes quickly. I am thankful that you don't let this illness define you. I don't think of you as one of the unfortunate cave dwellers who believes in the reality of shadows. I see you as one who left and saw the sun and has now returned to share your knowledge with the poor unfortunates. What an amazing allegory. And I am quite taken by your statement about "the powers of subconscious perception." It is amazing, isn't it, what seeps through our child minds and influences us deeply. Exciting ideas.

  5. Sending love, Sabine. With current issues in my own life, I also find myself unable to abandon all hope. I'm struck by these words of Lama Gendün Rinpoche in your link,

    "I requested help and protection from the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and asked them to guide me because I was determined to escape."

    "Although our whole bodies were shaking with fear, we simply prayed to the Three Jewels and went on."

    "One of them was sick, folded up in great pain. He requested us as Lamas to help him. So I prayed for him, gave him blessings and shortly thereafter he recovered. The resistance fighters relayed a message to the next post that a great Lama was on the way and that they should do everything to help him. In this way all difficulties were overcome. (...)"

    Interesting (in the light of the allegory of the cave and that dharma means truth) that Plato said,

    "God is truth and light his shadow."

    Then I hear Bob Dylan singing,

    "The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure. To live it you have to explode."

    I'm also struck by your words,

    "And yet, and yet."