I am feeling agitated this morning, as I sit down to write this. The vernal equinox is still nearly a month away, with its promise of bird song and new blooms. We’ve just emerged from the record-breaking cold, and watched as our sisters and brothers in Texas have had additional suffering piled on to their already considerable burden.
I am weary. We are weary.
In my meditation practice, this feeling of restlessness is an old friend… the urgent desire “to do something”, “to make something happen”. It feels insufficient to simply befriend the impulse and observe it with curiosity and compassion. Yet, that is the task.
What I notice immediately is the unpleasant sensation of helplessness that we have all been living with for the better part of a year. So much is beyond our control. We are merely passengers on an out-of-control train that has jumped its tracks.
I must remind myself at these times that that train was never really ON the tracks in the first place. In fact, in rare moments of quiet, I glimpse that there isn’t really even a train. There is only the illusion of the train on its orderly track, that is navigated at respectable speeds, that I create to avoid feelings of… well, this.
You might think that this understanding makes the loss of control all the worse. In the face of such enduring loss, it’s no wonder we create complex illusions that further our belief of control. Who wants to feel that everything is so random?
Yet, perhaps, letting go of the illusion of the train, also liberates us from having to try to steer the damn thing.
If there is no train, no tracks, no illusion, then perhaps I can relax into the experience of the ride. Yes, it is frightening, but at times exhilarating. Yes, there is sorrow, but there is joy and love as well. And, in my panicked desire to try “to make something happen”, I might miss all of this.
I’m still gripping the “not-really-seat” on “the-not-really” train, and even this is evidence that, once again, I am trying to “do something”. I wonder what it might take for me to put my hands up in the air, throw my head back, and laugh with delight at the imminent roller coaster drop, and just… enjoy the ride?