Dhamma to the Rescue

sleepingPainful sensations of sickness can bring a really intense focus to my practice, save the day, and make me much more aware of my default state!

I used to have a lot of digestive problems when I was younger; I learned to correct them by listening to my body rather than to doctors. I designed a diet based on my body’s true preferences rather than what tastes good or the people around me ate. Since making these adaptions my body began to work better than ever; however, I have to follow some rather strict dietary regulations, like no eating near bedtime and abstaining from certain foods.

The other night I got distracted by the death of a family pet, lost track of time and accepted a salad from my roommate when it was nearly bedtime. I also didn’t realize the under the dressing the main ingredient was something I can’t digest. I went to bed and began to experience severe cramping. I had an exam in the morning so getting sleep was pretty imperative, but the cramping and back pain was so uncomfortable I couldn’t stay in one position for very long which made it pretty impossible to relax enough to fall asleep.

I knew that any negative judgment of the sensations/situation would intensify my suffering so I got very serious about accepting what is with my full attention. For some time I lay flat on my back, and suddenly it was like my painful body got put in a laser scanner of subtle vibrations, the only other time I’d felt that was during some sweat lodge ceremonies. Still though, my body was ridged with tension and I could very vividly feel it trying to process the food.

Strangely, a few hours later when I got up, I didn’t actually feel that bad; though I was worried with no REM sleep my brain might get too slow and forgetful during the 2 hr. exam. I could also feel a bit of a tension headache starting, and it worsened when I spoke or thought, so I became absolutely vigilant in conserving my mental energy. I had no thoughts in my head all the way to the exam, and when I wrote it I had far better concentration then I normally do, got done really fast and I was more aware of where each of the questions had come from. When I got home I was a bit light-headed but stayed awake all day so I could reset my schedule. Though a tad slower, my brain remained in a glorious hyper-focused state, with clarity I hadn’t felt since I was at the center! Now I really want to get my mark back!

This entry was posted in Personal Experiences and tagged , , by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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