As essence turns to ocean,
the particles glisten.
Watch how in this candleflame instant
blaze all the moments you have lived.
–Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks, A Year With Rumi, p 326)
I light a candle and I take a few deep breaths. What can I write about when my inner world feels so turbulent? I put a drop of frankincense essential oil in my palm, rub my hands together, cup my hands, breathe deeply. Frankincense has been used for centuries to assist people in reaching meditative states, calming the mind, purifying the air. I pray that in this moment my life will make sense.
I watch the candle flickering, and I search for the words to express what I’m feeling. Just a moment ago I was assailed by thoughts, now I’m drawing a blank. What am I feeling?
Tired. Nothing else really comes to mind. I haven’t had a night of deep, restful sleep since I began taking Wellbutrin on Tuesday; I’m jumpy, I continue to have a shorter fuse than I’d like, the physical exhaustion is making me foggy, it’s bringing me down. I wonder if I made the right choice in taking this medication. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait to find out if it is working for me or not. I feel broken. Depleted. Empty.
A part of me wonders if at some point I’m going to break through the dark haze and remember the spark of divinity in me. Just one spark is all that is needed to light the fire of awakening, but once lit, the fire must be tended. My meditation practice is one way of tending this fire, but how much progress can I make when I’m fighting drowsiness at night, barely able to sit upright for fifteen minutes? Has my fire gone out, and I’m just going through the motions of tending it, adding damp fuel on top of dying embers, not realizing the futility of my efforts?
It’s going on three years since I began my practice, and I ask how much has really changed in me? Has anything changed? There’s a cynic in me that says I have done all of this work for nothing.
Or perhaps my meditations really are having positive effects on my life, but the effects are so subtle that they cannot be easily grasped by my analytical mind?
Just for this moment, I will believe that I’m capable of transcending any difficulty with which I am faced. I will try to sit now, because this is what I have done for the last 926 days and in spite of the cynic, some part of me believes that this will help.
I hope to stay awake and aware, but I don’t have much fight in me right now. If I begin to nod off, I’ll put myself to bed. Ok, here goes…