Puddle Monster (written 2014)
Yesterday, waking at 5:30, I expected that my day would go as planned. A day of space and quiet. The house to myself. A day of writing and study and breaks in the sun with the kitten and the pup.
But as I reached into the refrigerator for my orange juice, my bare toes nudged into a puddle of water. And just like that, the day changed.
So, I'm by myself. Husband, the handy man, gone to work. I read the refrigerator manual and it makes no mention of the current situation. I go to the net, my stand-by source of advice-on-all-things. After reading several chat rooms on similar probems and watching 3 You Tube videos on solutions, I feel my heart rate accelerating. It could be simple. It could be complicated. And I'm the one who has to deal with it.
Here's where the mind begins its spin: I don't want this. I don't like this. I want it to go away. I want to go back to bed. I want to meditate the way I always do first thing in the morning. I want the day I had planned!
I breathe for a moment and decide to sit and meditate anyway. Clear the mind, settle the voices.
So I light incense and candle, I make my bows and I sit. The ritual is comforting. However, the moment I settle on my bench, I hear the voices again. They're gaining volume and speed. There's power in numbers. So the problem seems to be multiplying. It's no longer about a puddle on the floor.
Now they are telling me I am useless and incompetent. That whatever I decide will be wrong. That I'll get into something I can't handle if I start taking things apart. That it is too costly to call a repair man. That my husband may not approve of whatever course of action I take.
I've been a meditator long enough to know all these voices. I've created them all. The whiner, the critic, the procrastinator, the victim. But I also have been a meditator long enough to see when I am buying into the story lines. I may not always see this immediately, but before the story spins too far, I see the power I am giving it by believing it.
So now, I breathe. I come into my body. I consciously relax my shoulders, loosen my hands, smooth my face. I let this experience of ease sink in. And then I touch the problem: There is water on my floor, that's all. Something happened. Things happen.
I let myself sit, enjoying the calm a few more minutes and then I go to the kitchen where I use pencil and paper to make a list, remembering what I've read and watched. The list goes from the easiest “solution” to the most “complex”. I start with the easiest one...the one that doesn't require tools I'm unfamiliar with, doesn't cost anything, and may solve the issue.
Here's where I get lucky. Well, the causes and conditions were right, but it feels like luck. The solution works and a few hours later the problem is solved. More importantly, I am not spinning. I do not see the day as if it were in ruins around me. I didn't sit in the sun much. And I didn't have as much time to study or write. But I let myself feel the pleasure of doing what needed to be done.
The liberation meditation can bring can be like this. Just freedom from the demons we create ourselves. The ordinary ones. Adult versions of the monster in the closet.