Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cold Feet in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, staying in our friends' apartment, up on 38th floor overlooking the city. The place is not heated. Last night, I suffered from cold feet. Unable to fall asleep, I quickly fell prey to unhappy thoughts. Yearning for comfort of warm bed in our Singapore hotel. Frustrated with laying awake, tired. Dreaming of a comforter. Then I remembered words from Ayya Khema, in 'Being Nobody, Going Nowhere':
It's essential that one understands that this is the cause of our human problems: wanting the pleasurable sensations, wanting the comfort, wanting the gratification, often not getting them and never being able to keep them. Letting go of wanting means letting go of dissatisfaction. But it isn't possible to do that overnight or just by talking or reading about it. It's a gradual process. The first step is to sit with an uncomfortable sensation. Not wriggling and shifting around, not trying to get out of this discomfort by changing position. There is no wriggling out of suffering. Suffering cannot be eliminated in this way. The only way out of it is to let go of craving. One can't wriggle out of craving. One really has to let got of it. So wriggling around isn't going of get us out of pain or dissatisfaction.
Breath, cold feet, and the sight of lit skyscrapers in the distance, become the objects of unplanned meditation . . . 


  1. Marguerite,

    In difficult situations, you consistently seem to have precisely what you need to give you a chance to harmonize with the moment. Where I'm from we call that Dharma arrangement. That's a great thing to have. When the situations are not difficult, we have the exact same things going for us too, we may not notice it as much, because the tension and friction isn't there.

    Be Well!


  2. what wonderful wise words of Aya Khema. Thanks for reminding us. We waste a lot of energy wriggling, I think!

  3. Yes, Seiho, you are right, the noticing is a bit more subtle during easy situations. The satisfaction that makes it easier to get 'lost' in the moment. What helps is doubting the pleasure, since experience shows it is always linked with the suffering of impermanence.

  4. ZenDot thank you! this is what meditation can help with, I suppose . . . learning to be still and focus energy on being with, as opposed to getting out of! May you be happy, may you be well, and at peace, and mindful in the new year!

  5. I once read a post that said The best lesson is the one right in front of you. I often try to keep it in mind. It has been of great help.

    Much peace 2 all