I am recovering from the flu, a flu that was mild but clinging. I rested for a week. and then gradually tried to return to normal daily life. It is now into the third week, and I am still feeling stuff. Yesterday I got into a discussion in which my mind was holding onto an old version of happiness. When I first moved house it was wonderful. Although it was stressful during the moving, there were times when I felt I had absolutely completed my life. Then I started to come down to earth mainly with landlady (Walking Disaster Area – WDA) issues but also neighbour issues. The problem is that I have been trying to cling to that glimpse of total happiness that I had. It was this clinging that was the focus of the discussion yesterday, and combined with post-flu depression I did not come out well in the discussion. Then Buddhism is clear, I am clinging to the temporary, happiness based on external things such as the countryside and beach. The discussion revolved around whether I pay for the house and risk bad stuff happening around the house – part of the consequences of the WDA. It was more about money and security, but the truth is I was clinging. Maybe I can get good stuff out of this house, if I cling to a dream I will always be unhappy.
Apart from recognising the way desire copntrols you and makes you unhappy, the above description also highlights the way sickness – in this case post-flu depression – affects awareness. The issue of clinging to desire as the source of suffering is well documented in the 4NT, and I have some understanding of that. Yet through the flu and post-flu depression I let my mind focus on clinging, and it created unhappiness. For a long time I have placed too much emphasis on where I live, and have let my desire for a place cloud my judgement – cause me suffering. But where I live is temporary and has nothing to do with who I really am.
Another consequence of the flu was meditation as a casualty. I know monks are supposed to meditate through sickness – I don’t know whether they do or not. But I didn’t, and it has been hard to get back into it. This morning I gave up and went walking. I blame the toxins of the flu and my weak will for this. But how much do toxins affect the clarity of meditation? Some people say the mind has the power to overcome this. In my case I know the mind could temporarily overcome this, but without a reason and part of daily meditation – maybe not. But when this happened I asked myself about toxins in general. The daily intake of toxins as part of daily life is huge. Whilst the body has several systems – liver, lymph, blood, mucus – for removing toxins, for most people there is a huge imbalance. Many people associate the increase in school violence with increased toxicity in children’s systems. Is there a limit in the clarity of meditation because of toxins in our systems – in the same way post-flu depression affected my thinking?
In Sen Tung there is a doctor selling Thai herbs, his herb shop looks much more like a Chinese herbs shop. In September he cured me of a cold chest so Monday I went about the flu. It is helping to clear the residue, I will have to get to him quicker next time.
Where did the flu come from? As I’m supposed to be healthy how did my immune system let me get the flu? October I was moving house, and November was unusual weather in that it was very wet. If I am stressed I get ill, happened a lot when I was teaching. Physically I have been doing too much as well. ATK means swimming 3 times a week. On top of that I have been walking 1- 1/2 hours every day, and the walking produced tendonitis in the Achilles tendon. With the enforced rest the tendonitis disappeared. From now on I alternate swimming and walking, and just starting this week I am energy-less because of the flu but no tendonitis.