I am grateful for the the process in which I can gain a deep awareness for life, through pain and suffering.
They said "Buddhism is about making peace with what is." This is a concise, beautiful reminder for me.
I began having what some would call panic attacks. I call it unidentified fear. When the chest gets so tight it feels like it will burst and your breathing all but stops. In this shallow state, a whole series of mindless wanderings and thoughts of escapism take over.
I pride myself in having the tools to deal with stress. This past month challenged my abilities. The day after my family came together in a Memorial Ceremony for my Sister, I was asked by a friend and client of 25 years to end our relationship. The next day my goat Willy, (my beloved friend of 14 years whom I bottle fed from 2 days old), fractured a leg and had to be laid to rest. All these events triggered every other hidden fear I had stored. I began to wonder if it would ever end! All of this added up to one huge unbearable fear rising in my chest.
I realized through my pain and suffering, that the fear I was feeling wasn't really about losing my Sister, or my beloved goat, or my old friend, it was about my perception of those events. This really made sense! I know life and everything in it is impermanent. At least at the intellectual level, I know this. The real cause of my anxiety is the repeating thought or non truth that life is suppose to be different than it is.
I remember having this Epiphany just before my Sister died. I was struggling with the fact that she would not return my calls. She would sit in her house and let me leave message after message. I told her "I did not want to constantly keep worrying" about her. I finally decided to stop calling. This went on for 2 months. Then, one day I was reading a book on Buddhism. It said "The cause of human suffering is holding on to, in fact clinging to non truth".
I realized I was wanting my Sister to be other than she was. "Oh my God" I exclaimed! I picked up the phone, right then and told her I loved her. From then on, I adjusted my expectations, and felt much less frustration. I am eternally grateful I made that understanding before she took her life. Eternally grateful!