Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pain, pain, pain...

This weekend Andrea and I drove out to Bowie, AZ, so that I could teach a text called Lojong Dun Dunma (BLO SBYONG DON BDUN MA, for those hypothetical readers who understand the ACIP Tibetan transliteration system). Nobody showed up, which created a classic opportunity for Lojong practice (Lojong is all about turning problems into the Path, and what is the experience of having nobody show up if not a fine opportunity to work on one's pride?).

One of the lines of advice in the teaching is to rid yourself of your biggest mental affliction first. The idea is that we all have mental habits that cause us suffering, and one way to look at the process of following the path to enlightenment is that we're trying to eliminate each mental affliction. A mind without mental afflictions would be an amazing place to live.

Anyway, I've been fooling myself and nobody else about my main mental affliction for years. It's not anger, or jealosy, or any of the easy ones. That wouldn't be enough of a challenge. No, my mental affliction of choice is what the Tibetans call lelo (LE LO, because if you have it you're not going to be able to write any silent letters). Lelo is usually translated as "laziness." A friend, who is a very learned Theravadin practitioner, likes to translate it as "reluctance." I like this translation better both because I think it captures the problem more accurately, and because it makes me sound like less of a schmuck.

It's been becoming more and more clear to me that I really need to just throw down the gauntlet and stop screwing around with my lelo problem. Last week I'd decided that I was going to go to yoga class five times this week. On Monday morning, when I woke up, at 5:30, to go to the first class, the whole time I was trying to get going I kept thinking "I don't really need to do this. The bed was so comfortable. I should just go back to bed." This was the Enemy, lelo, speaking in its soft, seductive form.

This morning, the Enemy was a little more insistent. Yes, getting out of bed was hard, but it knew it couldn't win, so my challenge for today was to do my yoga practice with some of the most intense muscular pain in my lower back that I've ever had. I know what's causing the lower back pain, but it still hurts. The nice thing is that except for Salamba Sarvangasana, in which I just couldn't stay this morning, my back actually got less achey as the morning progressed. So I have every reason to hope that if I manage to actually do five sessions this week, I will have helped, not hurt, my back.

I still need to work on the whole reluctance thing, though. I had a really productive day yesterday, but I haven't made much progress at all on any of my summer projects. Lelo: "Oh, you can read just one more chapter. Here, start a new book in the bathroom. It's okay. You can light the end of the previous book with the next one!"

Today's song: Pavlov's Bell, by Aimee Mann, partly because Rhythmbox (the Gnome/Linux equivalent of iTunes) keeps playing it, and partly because it kind of sums up lelo's siren song. Oh, you'll enjoy this! Honest!

Die, you gravy-sucking time sink!


Blogger Patricia said...

Oh, so that's what it is--lelo?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 4:01:00 PM  

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