Working with the reality we have is a bit of a slippery slope as joy never seems to stay long enough while pain never seems to leave soon enough.
Reality—the moment–is all we ever have. For however long it lasts, it is for us to do the best we can. Impermanence will do the rest.
And if we are not thrilled with the reality we have, we need only remember that like the weather, life will change. Reality always offers options.
Currently, my reality seems as if it is in a holding pattern. Doing the best I can to experience the moment I have, I admit I am often on the lookout for change.
Escaping the moment is easy to do but to work with the reality we have, we must return.
Recently, I came through cervical myelopathy surgery with remarkable success–truly, there were some unforgettable and stellar moments–but success has shown its shadow.
Success and shadow—as one—make up memory. Always there are moments of both but perhaps only in memory are the two as one.
Memory does not re-create reality. It allows us reflection, a way to wait upon reality, to work with the moment we have.
In shadow, my reality seems a growing force of chronic illness comprised of autoimmune disease, degenerative disc disease, and myelopathy. There is no complete defeat possible, not physically. That is not my reality in any moment.
Accepting reality reduces my suffering and strengthens my resolve to explore the experience I have. By not attaching to the pain as the only reality I will ever know, pain passes like a shadow. Acceptance incites change.
Of course, I am not always as aware or as accepting. Sometimes, I have such an aversion to my reality that I am determined to change it, as if I could. After all, I am not accepting the actual experience. I am only trying to avoid it.
Sometimes, my aversion is quite elaborate, methodical even. Other times, I rush reality for all I am worth, grasping with everything I have. I suffer for my indifference to reality. It is as if I am fighting my own biology.
After all, each of my body’s cells works with the state of its reality. Each cell works for balance–aging and disease affect this process– yet each cell works with its own unique makeup. It accepts its options.
In working with the reality we have, we accept that moments do not restore each other. They offer us other options, new perspectives on reality that just a moment ago seemed so difficult, even impossible.
Reality is messy that way. It overlaps who we are with who we were just a moment ago, leaving a trail of consequences.
Neither good nor bad, they are reality lived, bits and pieces of experience. Some are stored as success; others slip in as shadow.
The wise adapt themselves to circumstances,
as water molds itself to the pitcher.
KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, she blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.