Sitting, ease of breathing soon gives way to pain in right middle back. I pulled a muscle a week ago. Pain becomes more intense with each breath. Throbbing, burning, radiating up and down whole right side. Meeting up other, chronic pain in lower back. And belly breath. New pain, old pain, belly breath, all three fighting for same space. Readjusting with each rise, and fall of diaphragm. I tell myself, to befriend the pain, all of it. Truth is annoyance, and wishing for pain to go away. Meanwhile breathing still, and staying with breath, when not subject to passing thoughts. Noticing how pain disappears in the midst of thoughts. Fear arises, at once. Huge, surprising. Trying to make sense, then deciding not now. With fear, comes a series of images. Obliterated castle, only contours still visible. Big old tree, turning into a dead tree. Thinking mind wants to interpret. Not now. Pain in body hardly there, anymore. Only fear. Monumental.
More and more, I get reminders of the reality of my fifty two year-old body, and of old age, and death approaching, surely. No matter how gracious I try to be about the whole thing, and pretend that, it is part of the course, and I don't mind aging, the reality is I am scared shitless. Facing my fear is one step in the direction of wisdom.
"If our body really belonged to us, it would obey our commands. If we say, 'Don't get old', or 'I forbid your to get sick', does it obey us? No, it takes no notice. We only rent this house, not own it." Ajahn Chah (as related by Jack Kornfield, in Voices of Insight)