Warning! Mind is Enemy!

No doubt, mind is enemy…

and it never leaves you alone.  Maybe it was because we flew back to New York before the Icelandic volcano trapped so many folks in airports around the world or simply because I  had such a wonderful time with Bobbie in Italy.  Whatever, ever since returning my mind has been doing little other than beating up on me.  Let’s start with the knee.

Most of us, me included, generally don’t think of that precarious joint midway down the leg as being part of the mind.  That’s how it sets us up.  Let me clarify.  Maybe two days before leaving Venice to return home something  happened inside my knee.  Not as the result of a twist or fall or bump or gunshot, not from losing my balance in a gondola or kneeling on cold,wet cobblestones.   Consequently no marks, cuts, no visible anything.  Just remarkably intense pain–the sharp kind that invited (demanded, actually) tears when I stood, walked, sat or lay down.  In Venice the excitement and adrenalin kept me from any preoccupation with pain.  Even the easy digestive process of the trip home kept me from full awareness.  Once back in the land of Coca-Cola (yes,  a Dylan reference) however, things changed, and changed enough to prompt a phone call to the appropriate medical specialist.  When I finally got through I was told that the next available appointment was more than a month away–


See?  It’s happening.  Right here it’s happening.  Right before both our eyes I am becoming one of those old people whose life  has become a marathon of complaints.  It starts off with pain–older folks are breeding grounds for the ouchies (here I echo Ralph Wiggum) and  quickly progresses to medical care, costs, noisy neighbors or those college kids who will be collecting outside the bar across the street now that it’s warming up and they can’t smoke inside and how the whole neighborhood has gotten safe, middle class and dull (without acknowledging but certainly fearing that those three terms also apply to me) and everybody else has stuff I convince myself I don’t even want and seem to live perfectly well without and I have to buy all my clothes at either Goodwill or the Salvation Army and I’m trapped in a rent controlled apartment which means that if I even think of moving I’ll be hospitalized in a rubber room at Bellevue and lose the rent controlled apartment.  All my belongings will disappear and I’ll be released with nowhere to go, nothing to wear or read or put on the internet for you to read or more likely delete until I find an apartment I can’t afford and have to sell all of whatever I have left just to buy the privilege  of putting up with neighbors who ignore me and probably a doorman who knows I really can’t afford to live there and aren’t I wearing the jacket the guy in 16F gave away to charity two years ago?

So now I’m complaining about complaining.  As I said:

Mind is Enemy!

The truth be told, when I’m not being influenced by that evil sombitch between my ears, I know I’m absolutely blessed.  The Buddhists would say that’s just the mind being impermanent.  To the Abramhamics it’s  God wanting me to know the truth.  The difference between them, by the way, is why I’m still loyal to the Abrahamics.  That truth?   I’ve a wonderful wife and job.  I live in the heart of a profoundly exciting city filled with art and music (which I can afford to see live in the Summer when it’s outdoors and free!)  I ride around on either of two (!) bicycles and am surrounded by good friends and good family (both blood and married into.)  Through the structural blessings of limited desires, a rent-controlled apartment and the  resale shops of Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Housing Works I dress as I truly like and am able to travel all over this extraordinary planet of ours and bring back souvenirs and snapshots.  I eat in moderately priced restaurants featuring food from all over the world and even have meditation to help me make peace with mine enemy (Remember Alexander King?) on a daily basis.

And right now  I am right here:

(You can click on it to make it bigger.)

This picture was taken at dawn.  Light never came in at that hour until the large building across the street was constructed.  Three years of construction noise to give me this beautiful light each morning.  Yet another reason for thanks.

We’re right now half way between Thanksgivings.  What are you thankful for when you slow down enough to be thankful?  Click on “Comments” below to tell the rest of us.  Then come back in a few weeks to click on “Comments” again to see what the others  have said.

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 10:58 am  Comments (3)