A Friday in Rochester, but no need for TGIF. It’s been a good week. Since coming back from my morning appointments at Mayo, I’ve been observing a shift in awareness regarding my living with lymphoma and treatment.
The news today — that is, regarding my health situation — is there isn’t really any news. Or I might say that the news is more of the same. No big dips, lows, surprises, or crises; and no big breakthroughs either. Rather, the stretch of steadiness and stability continues. Actually, in my situation this is great news 🙂
The nursing staff have shifted me — unofficially — into the category of stable patient. While there are infectious bugs, blood counts, and stomas to monitor, the trends have been reassuring. So we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing and try to keep the current traajecory moving smoothly. As the nurses have plenty of other patients to worry about, some of whom are going through much rougher procedures, it’s time for me to take up less of the station’s bandwidth. I can come and go in a low-key, let’s keep a careful eye on things way. It’s necessary to remain observant, careful, and all, but in a relaxed way.
This reminds me of how Ajahn Buddhadasa described upekkha (equanimity) as being like riding a bicycle without hands. Usually, life and practice involve all sorts of adjustments and we usually do so with a fairly tight grip on the handles, at times erratic or jerky. (Other times we lose our grips, go astray, or fall off.) However, when the path comes together harmoniously, when we aren’t fragmented and scattered, the adjustments become graceful and subtle. Then, upekkha watches over without liking and disliking, making it possible to see unfolding moments and relationships as they are.
Although Ajahn Buddhadasa spoke in the context of the seven factors of awakening, usually considered a high-level Dhamma teaching, he saw this perspective on equanimity as applicable to all areas of life, whether the most subtle contemplations or everyday bumping around in the messy world. The other factors — mindfulness, investigation, joy, energy, serenity, and stable connectedness — remain active and equanimity watches over them too. Thus, the path is more fully balanced and integrated.
So, with this equanimous aspiration, we are arranging for me to spend a few days with Jo in Norwalk.
May all find the peaceful centeredness, grace, and balance of non-reactivity.