Please help me find my way in this undertaking. This week I have early shifts, and I’m feeling tired. I want to honor my commitment to these pages, but I’m struggling to get to other things I value, like personal correspondence, meditation, and other worthwhile routines.
I mention this first, because it is troubling me. At the same time, I can see how much of this struggle is my own creation. (Or, I can at least see some of it.) I hope to have a dialogue with you to find a way that works.
First, though, let me go back to celebration and gratitude. I slept soundly (if not long enough) in a comfortable, warm bed. I awake, and start my day with a ritual of brewing coffee. I wish not to take this for granted – there are sights, smells, and sounds which I appreciate deeply. And, then, the heft of the full, hot mug in my hand, and the refreshing, bitter taste of the first sip. A simple pleasure. Thank you.
Ray: I’m tired. Rising early to write each morning, then off to work. Coming home, spending a little time relaxing, then entering the day’s pages at night keeps me up late, and I’m not getting enough sleep. Plus, I’m not doing other things that I value.
dHarma: Dear Brother, it’s wonderful that you’re beginning to recognize how arbitrary and imaginary the conditions and expectations affecting you are! They are your own creation.
Ray: Well, I know I set the condition to write. And, to write out the pages long-hand each morning, and type them up each night. I knew it would be time consuming and stretch my day. I could just stop altogether, or write less frequently, but…
dHarma: (Deep breath) Watch your mind, Brother; your thoughts. There’s a truth and reality in those thoughts, but it’s just one version. There’s also non-truth and a different reality.
Ray: Well, when I consider not writing every day, I think that I will lose anybody who is actually following these pages. And, if I stop, completely, people will see it as failure. I will see it as a failure.
dHarma: (Deep breath, then a smile) That’s good, Ray. Thank you for sharing that. But, you can already see that’s not the only truth, right?
Ray: Sure. As I said those things, I could see how much my ego, small me, was in those thoughts. That, even though it may be true that some think of my not writing as failure, and I may choose to think of it as failure, that’s not the only truth.
dHarma: So, you can see not writing as a powerful choice. Can you see continuing to write as a powerful choice?
Ray: Sure! I remember why I’ve been writing these pages; how it’s helped me. Even today.
dHarma: I want to point out that even the tiredness you feel is your own creation. As you described, you thought the practice of sharing your Sunrise Pages would use a lot of time and leave you tired – so, it has.
Ray: But, it’s just a fact that the mind and body need a certain amount of rest. That’s nothing I can change. It’s not my fault.
dHarma: (Again smiling) No. Not your fault. But, can you see how shame and blame is here with you? You are making this hard, because you think it should be hard. You want it to be “hard work,” because you think that makes it seem more honorable and valuable. And, that’s okay, too.
Ray: I’m not sure I understand or agree. Or, where that information even gets me; how that can help me.
dHarma: You make choices every moment. Even when you think you aren’t choosing. How you “relax” when you come home; how late you start typing; how late you go to bed. And, you feel guilt, because inside you know those choices are producing the short sleep time and fatigue, as much as, or more than, your practice of writing.
Your guilt about what you “should” be doing is making you rigid, feeling like you will break.
There is reward in relaxing – relaxing your mind and body again, into this. Bend, like the willow, and you will not break.
Ray: Umm, this means What, exactly?
dHarma: Ha! It means you can loosen your grip on what you “have” to do. Continue to write, if you desire to write. Let it go, if that’s your desire. And, you can let go of your guilty thoughts about watching television or not writing, when you choose those things.
So often, finding the Middle way; a more gentle, more peaceful way; is not about going anywhere. It’s simply letting go, and accepting where you are.
Thank you, dHarma. Namaste.