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Nostalgia for Samsara

This phrase popped into my head today...no idea why. Well, that is not actually true. I am a little sure why...


I woke up this morning kind of missing what my life was like a year ago. The entire world was holding its breath, waiting to see what happened with the virus. In a moment, everything and everyone changed. And as things changed, my life slowed way down.


This morning I found myself wistfully thinking about last year. I do not wish the pandemic on anyone but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the last year has been a welcome change of pace to a life lived too fast, too hard and too much so often.


As I was thinking about my longing for a year ago, I found the above phrase present as a refrain in my head. And I realized that was exactly what I was doing...


I was having nostalgia for something that previously made me and a lot of other people miserable.


Samsara is more officially defined as the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound. We are stuck to this cycle and we suffer because of it.


Samsara can also be tailored to express our attachment to trying to make temporary things permanent so we suffer.


And so I realized today that I was doing that. Longing to make something that was temporary (not the pandemic itself but the slower life pace) permanent and so my thoughts caused me to suffer this morning.

So I guess I have to own that I feel a little lost. I am struggling with the return to busy. I am not getting enough sleep so I feel chronically tired. I have this endless list of things that I need and want to do to take care of myself and they keep getting pushed on the daily as my old, much busier life comes flowing back.


I am finding that I am trying to block that flow instead of renunciate it. I have his tendency to hold on tight, to block, freeze, insist that things that are in the nature to always be shifting and changing to be static and never altering. Renunciation is looking at this tendency to hold on, resist and freeze and see that it is this place of refusal that I get stuck in a cycle of misery that only brings me pain.


So this morning I was holding onto a belief, desire for the way things used to be instead of being open to how it is today. Today is blank. I have no idea what will happen today. How life will go, where it will go, with whom and how I will feel about any of it. That is pretty exciting really. But I miss that excitement when I insist that I return to a moment in time that has long passed instead of enjoying the shit out of the one I am in right now.


And if I really think back, I can remember being terrified last year. I felt panicky and out of sorts. Unsettled and scared. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want my loved ones, or anyone to die. And die they did. Lots of people, all around the world. Dead and now gone.


It was a poignant moment this morning when I realized that I was missing a time when the world was in peril because for a moment I chose only to remember that I had less to do instead of all the other parts of my life and the world at large last year this time.


I am human. I tend to louse things up. I tend to pick the wrong shit for the wrong reasons. But I can see that I do this and accept it. Allow that it is my humanness and see where and how I am holding on tight, insisting once again that I be provided security when I know better.


The only security I am ever going to have in this life, is by embracing the insecurity of every single moment, one after the other, as they come. And trying to stay present with those moments so that I can experience this life, moment to moment and do my best not to insist that things be other than exactly how they are right now.




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