Discipline has always been the hardest button for me to button. I have been sitting these last 4 days, mostly right before I go to bed. I’ve needed the extra boost of calmness (and, on day 10, a lorazepam) to rest my mind. Part of what makes zazen so challenging is the checklist of body positions one needs to master – left thumb hooked in right palm, hands cupped, half-lotus seat, shoulders back, head lifted but cast down, tongue resting loosely on palate, eyes 1/3 open. The last is particularly difficult for me; I’ve really only been achieving that about 50% of the time and for the last few days.
Which is horribly ironic considering how my eyes are rarely open fully. Part of my anxiety, my looming and overwhelming fear of failure (creatively, spiritually, physically) is the manifestation of guilt in the form of ignoring a problem until falling headlong off a cliff. Which pretty much happened this week. Now I’m playing catchup with my responsibility, making big, awful changes and accepting defeat – a failure that could cause serious problems down the line.
Debt is not something people talk about socially, but it weighs on every single action or decision. Each day I go to sleep with calculations buzzing in my head, the addition and subtraction that determine how I feel – comfortable or imperiled – and for how many days. My financial problems feed my anxiety – I worry about injury and illness and accidents, risks with low probability but huge, ruinous real-life implications. Being uninsured makes you a hypochondriac, a worrywort, or a doomsayer. I don’t go out much, which I can laugh off as social anxiety. It’s more acceptable to be quirky than broke.
I continue to sit, and have been more active in trying to rectify my situation. Though zazen may not be about control, it is teaching me to exert my agency over other areas in my life. And it’s free.