14. Same Old 'Rind
Being a novice meditator,
I'm slow to shift my perceptions.
Get up, go to the bathroom, let out the dog, let in the dog, feed the dog and cat, drink a cup of tea, meditate, eat an orange, begin work.
So what's different about today?
Got up, went to the bathroom, let out the dog, let in the dog, fed the dog and cat, drank a cup of tea, meditated, and reached into the refrigerator for my orange.
What's different? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Feeling decidedly grumpy this morning, I take the orange to the kitchen sink to wash it and then, rather than stopping to reflect on it, as I do each morning, I immediately begin to peel it. I find myself thinking about a coworker as I peel my orange, and note, with irritation, that this person has been "renting space in my head" a lot lately. In particular, I've been ruminating about the extra work this person has been causing me, and realize that resentment has been mounting in me for several days now. I can definitely feel it inside me. It's the gnawing feeling in the pit in my stomach, it's the bitter taste in my mouth, it's this feeling of self-righteousness, always good for fueling the seething cauldrons. I reflect on the voice of my resentment -- that well-rehearsed script used by me when other people do not do what I want and expect of them:
"Never mind! I'll do it."
But I do mind. I mind a lot. Bottom line -- I especially mind that because of you, I have to do your work in addition to my own. Because of you I'm stressed out today. Because of you ... Because of you ... Because of you ... Because .. Because ... You ... You ... You ... You *?!*!!!?*
Suddenly I notice that while I had been raging in my resentment, the orange had been practically peeling itself, the rind having fallen off the fruit in large loose, supple pieces. Conspicuously different from the tightness I was experiencing within myself. The segments too had virtually separated themselves, and had yielded mounds of loosely packed, plump sacs fairly bursting with fragrant juice.
I sit down to eat and try to imagine being more like this orange -- open and accessible. I reflect on how my resentment has distanced me from my Source. I reflect on resentment as illusion deflecting from, harshly inflecting, reality.
A sudden shift -- like a figure-ground gestalt --
Because of you, I feel bad today becomes -- "Thanks to you I am now more aware of my habitual thoughts and emotions that cause me to suffer and prevent my spiritual nature from being experienced and expressed."
"Never mind, I'll do it" becomes -- "Thanks to you I am reminded to always be mindful, and I note the irony in my words 'Never mind' to express resentment.
Then I suddenly remember how much extra work I have to do today, so I quickly wash my plate and get ready for work.
So, what's different about today? Nothing!
Everything's just the same. Or is it?