Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/27/2015

Daily Suffering

I had intended to post about something altogether different than what I now find myself writing but I suppose that really is exactly as it should be. I am beginning to a new dietary schedule inspired by a conversation with a kalyanamitta who recounted his own mother’s practice of not eating after six pm. Because I have been wanting to practice more restraint around eating for both my own physical and spiritual health it seemed to me that eating only between the hours of 9am and 5pm was a sensible alternative to attempting to keep to the monastic rule of not eating after noon.

But,  I have digressed; my reason for bringing up my new practice was simply to say that I may be a little more sensitive and people than I normally would when fortified with a full stomach. As a result, upon seeing a young man sitting in a half empty and dirty Dunkin Donuts listlessly typing away on his MacBook I was immediately struck by what I perceived to be the intense suffering of his situation. As is clear to me on writing this, my intuition of the situation is not supported by the facts of perception but,  for a moment at least,  I felt a true and painful connection that servedtocommunicate his desperation and pain. Then again, this could have all been in mind and had no relationship to the man’s interior reality.

The next person for whom I felt an deep and mysterious sympathy was a young,  twenty-something professional in a suit and tie worth a pair of iPhone ear buds walking confidently to his train. I can’t explain what it was about him that elicited my feelings of compassion but I got the feeling that he had a stressful job where he was rarely appreciated despite doing his best to succeed (I mean or was 5:45 am and he was already on his way to work). I know that I’m not articulating myself quite as well as I’d like and perhaps it isn’t possible to convey the meaning of stock intimations in words but I would hope that these two glimpsed into the daily sufferings of strangers would serve to open my heart just a little more today and all the rest that follow.

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