Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 01/06/2018


Turns out this excruciating pain I’ve been experiencing is shingles. Yes, I’m a little young to get it but it was my fortieth birthday preset nonetheless. Interestingly enough, my business partner and one of our friends also came down with it in the last few years so maybe it’s the stress?

Regardless of the material cause, it goes almost without saying that there’s a corresponding karmic cause so I’m trying to be sensitive to that as well. In meditation, I have asked forgiveness of the beings I’ve harmed in this and past lives. In addition, I’m trying to use the pain as a reminder and wellspring of compassion for beings suffering in the world now. The pain immediately brings to mind the idea of cattle and pigs being flayed alive so I imagine I must’ve been responsible for similar things in the past.

I think the biggest thing in dealing with this is not giving in to self pity or resentment. My wife is more concerned about me passing the virus to our toddler which I know is the most important thing but a part of me still feels as if she should be more concerned about me. Rank foolishness but it is what it is. Perhaps the thing that gets me most is her insistence that I have caused this myself due to my anxiety and that I’m to blame unless I get therapy for it.

In short, she’s right: I am to blame. This is my kamma. It’s just that returning to therapy isn’t going to work for me. I’ve tried that and found it just created more problems and agitation.

So, that’s where I am. May I make the determination to use physical and mental dukkha to propel me towards liberation of myself and others.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.