Saturday morning, I woke up with a sore throat, but I chose to go karate and then NYC, anyway. We were up late on Saturday night, and then early this morning to go to the Buddhist monastery.

I woke up feeling much worse.

I went to the monastery, anyway, and while sitting there, deeply suffering, with a pounding headache, sore throat, fatigue, dizziness, etc, etc, I heard a voice in my head that said, ďTake this opportunity to make yourself stronger.Ē

At first, I told the voice to shut up. I was in pain dammit, and I was going to suffer because I didnít deserve to be there.

I didnít deserve to be sick, so I was going to fight against it and resent it.

I was determined to be at that monastery. People were depending on me. I needed to talk to the head priest, and this was a rare opportunity. So, I was going to feel pitiful and victimized because I took on obligations that only I insisted that I fulfill.

Then I remembered what the voice was talking about. Itís not about forcing myself to do things that I canít do. If I canít accomplish a task without maintaining calmness and ease, then Iím working against myself.

In situations where I am perfectly capable of accomplishing a task but simultaneously getting bent out of shape because Iím doing something that I donít want to do, then Iím creating my own suffering.

No, itís not fun to sit in meditation for hours while feeling lousy, but I was in no danger of falling over dead, either.

I recognized it immediately. I could do it. I just didnít want to do it. In a situation where one is being challenged, the choice is between gritting ones teeth and resenting it, or recognizing that it is a learning experience and taking as much from it as possible. Even if all one learns is to avoid that same situation in the future.

In the end, I chose the latter. I donít know about avoiding the same situation in the future (which I very well might do), but I do know that I am a stronger meditater for it.

Adam keeps reminding me over and over to be kind to myself. Maybe itís my German/Japanese genes, but I am a strict disciplinarian when it comes to me. I need to learn balance, or relearn it, I should say.

Not only did I force myself through that ordeal this morning, this evening, I was schedule to lead the meditation at my home Sangha. I traveled back home, napped for two hours and even though Adam suggested to me (about a half a dozen times or so) that I could, you know, call someone and tell them that I am sick, I still went, anyway.

It worked, though. I finally got those glimpses of clarity that I have been missing for the past several months, maybe even a year or more. A person needs challenge to improve, and todayís challenge nudged me forward.

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Sunday, Apr. 27, 2008 at 11:05 PM