It was a struggle to get up today. I felt fatigued and the body ached. I lay there under the sheets not wanting to face the world. The brain fog and dullness of senses felt like torture. I got up though and staggered to the bathroom. Resenting every step. This is suffering. I am suffering. Having a body is suffering. Suffering feels like this.
The inner critic appeared, like a terrible boss, not showing me any kindness, not letting me rest, not letting me enjoy a moment of peace. The inner critic always seems to be stronger when I am tired. Why is that?
Painful feelings. The mind does not like unpleasant sensations and tries to push them away, wants things to be otherwise... this is aversion.
And there is longing, a craving for pleasant feelings. I feel myself craving for intoxicants, for something that can get me out of this mood.
And there is a part of me that is making a story out of these unpleasant feelings, identifying with it all, adding more to it than is actually there, creating extra suffering for itself, taking it all personally. Yesterday I felt great, and today I feel like shit. Things keep switching from pleasure to pain, and it is quite tiring.
All this inner dialogue is just adding more suffering like an archer who gets shot by an arrow, then immediately shoots himself with a second one, adding more pain.
How can I dissolve this? I move my attention away from the fault-finding mind and away from the longing and from the identifying (the story of self).
I try to meditate on the breath and completely fail. Okay something else is needed. Perhaps a gradual gathering of the mind onto the breath. I notice my attention is contracted and I am absorbed in the unpleasant feelings. So expand awareness away from the body, let it be open and expansive, focus on the sense of space. Let the longing, aversion, and selfing be there, but not judge, follow or identify with it. Let it be, give it space, but stay centred on something else.
The sense of space feels gentle and easy to pay attention to, away from the pain in the body. I notice the sounds happening all about me, and notice there is ringing in my ears, but instead of judging it, I just observe the white noise with curiosity. Notice how it keeps changing. How sound is change. How sound needs time. We can preserve an image in a moment, but not sound. Without time, sound doesn't work. What is sound? Sound is change. It is waves of vibrating air molecules hitting the eardrum which then creates a sense impression in the mind.
Air is also change.
I notice the air element, feel its coolness around my head, on my face and neck. It feels soothing. The aches and pains, the unpleasant fatigue is still present, but I am no longer angry with it, or trying to change it, just flowing with it, watching the sensations as they arise and cease in the present moment.
Then the breath appears like an old friend and I feel myself breathe a sigh of relief.