"May I have Health"
I have been saying this particular phrase a whole lot this past week. And, whenever I pull it off to the side and look at it (in anticipation of writing this blog) I wonder why I chose this combination of four words. And, when I am in meditation, just saying this phrase over and over, it makes perfect sense.
Let me break it down.
This phrase speaks to: my diet, my exercise regimen, my sleep patterns, my care for the environment, my relationships with those around me, my relationship to technology, my personal hygiene, my oral hygiene, my use of vitamins and prescriptions (and sleep aids), my alcoholism, my hearing viz the sounds around me, my driving, my use of financial resources, my possessions, my fear of germs, my mindfulness, and...well, I'm sure there's more.
This phrase is not, though in some ways it is, about wishing for good health. I took it that way at first, but no longer. It is not about wishing to live a long life.
It is more about healing than anything else; the long and the short of it. This journey, which I have been on in this current iteration, for the past five years, has been a journey into health and healing. I have been more physically fit at other periods of my life. The healing I experience now is a new kind of fitness.
The process began with the effort to connect with my body and my feelings, as opposed to simply living in my head. I have been learning about mindful meditation, and all the self-awareness associated with that awareness. It is not one thing, though I may only be dealing with one thing at a time. It is all of me.
Ah, but there is a subtlety worth mentioning here, underlining even! Healing is relative.
Healing, in my mind at least, connotes a restoration to factory conditions, a reversal of decay, a taking what is broken and fixing it. This understanding is conditioned by society, the language of religion and the universal desire to remain young.
This is not what I seek.
I seek health in all of its manifestations, while knowing that my body has been preparing to die and decay since the day of my birth. Things (in me) have been breaking all along. They will only stop breaking when I expire.
So, it is really Health that I seek.
The Four Noble Truths speak to this "Health".
1. There is suffering.
2. Suffering is caused by clinging, aversion, and delusion (sic).
3. There is an end to suffering.
4. There is a path that leads to that end.
The third Noble Truth is not pointing to temporal healing. (In full Buddhist teaching the enlightened state of nirvana is seen as the goal...I am not thinking or working in that framework.) The end of suffering is a matter of seeing the present moment clearly and accepting it without clinging, without aversion and without delusion. Mindfulness is a tool that supports that path.
I like this photo of a woodland road in the Autumn. There are luscious green leaves still, sunshine warming the gravel, and...the beautiful colors of decay in the shadows of the way ahead.
"May I have Health."