Lately in my Buddhism class we've been focusing on suffering (in regard to the First and Second Noble Truths, not just for the hell of it). Particularly while meditating, we're asked to hone in on our attachments and aversions.
Luckily for me, I don't have to search too hard for a source of suffering in my sitting practice, because I am blessed to have a nifty little thing going on called Pulsatile Tinnitus.
What is Pulsatile Tinnitus? Well, imagine that your heart is in your ear. That's what it sounds like. I can hear my pulse. In my ear.
And yes, I've gone to the doctor (Western, Eastern, you name it). One particularly wise MD set my mind at ease by assuring me that it's probably due to a wee little anatomical deformity in my head, and that I probably don't need a CAT scan, and that I probably won't drop dead of an aneurism anytime soon. Probably.
Luckily, I can only hear it when I'm sitting still in a quiet environment. In other words, every single time I meditate.
If I wasn't a classically aversive personality type it wouldn't be such a big deal. And if I hadn't always been queasy about heartbeats in the first place. Being a nurse is like, number one on my list of professions I could never handle.
So I asked my meditation teacher for some advice. He gave me two options:
- Ignore it and focus on something else. This one's tough because it's rather hard to ignore something that's happening inside your own head.
- Use it as a focal point of my practice, and as a way to study aversion.
There you go.
Lucky me, I have a built-in, ready-to-go aversion every single time I sit down to meditate!
And here's a beautiful Hafiz poem we heard tonight:
To Build A Swing
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare—
Don't mix them!
You have all the genius
To build a swing in your backyard
Like a hell of a lot more fun.
Let's start laughing, drawing blueprints,
Gathering our talented friends.
I will help you
With my divine lyre and drum.
Will sing a thousand words
You can take into your hands,
Like golden saws,
Strong silk rope.
You carry all the ingredients
To turn existence into joy,
Mix them, mix