I am trying to learn patience. It is not easy to be able to sit quietly without an endless stream of mental chatter, without the impulse to do something, to fill every moment with activity, to move from one thing to the next without stopping and just watch my breath go in and out.
My Buddhist teacher tells those on the email distribution list, “give up waiting as a state of mind. When you catch yourself slipping into waiting, snap out of it. Come into the present moment. Just be and enjoy being.”
It requires practice.
I’m aware of my inner dialogue. The conversations I have with myself. Rehashing the past, planning for the future — always unknown, always full of possibilities.
Keeping busy drowns out the chatter. Moves it to the back burner. I know the thoughts and accompanying emotions are still there, like the white noise pumped into most shopping malls to dull the echo of shoppers talking, laughing, walking… click click click. A slow steady hum that gives the illusion of empty space.
I also have tinnitus. A pity it can’t play a musical instrument, change up the rhythm a bit, add some drums, violins, piano with Mariza singing Fado. The mood would fit the situation. All of us indoors except for the daily walk, just to get out, just to prevent becoming fossilized on the couch, drunk and fat.
How do we fill the hours if we do not have work, if we aren’t employed or self-employed? When we are retired?
Obesity is on the rise I hear. As is depression. As is divorce. Have we become unhappy in this pandemic or come to realize the true state of our lives when all we are left with is our minds? To ponder what does it mean to be alive? What is the purpose of my life? Who Am I? Those eternal questions arise like clouds in blue skies.
Divorce lawyers, I hear, are overwhelmed by the number of couples seeking a divorce. Enough is enough they say, while for others, mostly women and children, finally escaping abusive husbands. Men are cracking up. Or were they always Humpty Dumpty — fragile psyches hidden behind a calcified shell, the pandemic just shoved them off the edge?
How many were pressured to marry in the first place, how many were prearranged by parents? How many are living in crowded homes where privacy, those precious moments of solitude are besieged? How many are working from home, with young children also in isolation demanding attention? How many of them have husbands at home and she now has no way out.?
How do you keep a raging bull from goring you? Food? Poison? Divorce.