Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Overwhelming Appreciation

I asked the Miksang students this last weekend in Chicago to consider what exactly happens when we are saying "Too Much Information" or "I am overwhelmed." It's an important question, especially when we can use it as defense against the world. Shut down. Close off.

I am in a state right now where I want to do both of those things. I have indigestion from something funky I ate (broken yoghurt container I discovered after consuming it is my highest suspect) and it feels metaphorically that I am having a hard time digesting my life right now. Too much information, not enough time.

John O'Donohue spoke in a talk I listened to on NPR last week about how "stress" is really a misconception of time, of believing there is a limit to time, that time is in fact far from infinite. He didn't say it this way, but Buddhists call this "Poverty Mind." He was getting even more specific though about our delusions regarding TIME. That it is here to serve us, when it doesn't, we are angered. Feel betrayed.

I do feel betrayed in some ways, and I also feel blessed. What things to be stressed about: putting up my first show at the Overture! So many students, so little time to be with them! A tender retreat about to occur and healthy soups to cook for it, for me, for them, for Dylan! And a week with Natalie ahead after that, with all my new lovely writing practice friends, in the desert fall!

I am not attempting to disguise my stress, rather let it coexist with appreciation. I posted on Facebook last night that I am discombobulated but happy. A friend and student noted that that is one of the reasons she likes me, because I can be both of those at once.

I needed to write this, to remember that I actually do feel the balance, when I pay attention. That I am, in fact, overwhelmed with appreciation. That it is hard and also beautiful.

And an RIP to John Daido Loori Roshi, another wonderful spiritual teacher (John O'Donohue died last year), who died at age 78 on Friday. As my teacher John McQuade said, the only response he has (and I have) right now is one of heartbreak. Beautiful, exquisite, agonizing heartbreak.


  1. overwhelmed with appreciation!

    what is enough? what is sufficient or adequate? many layers.

    Just thinking about not having enough time makes me anxious. Time to breath again. and again.
    Thanks for posting, Miriam.

  2. I have the feeling that in English 'overwhelming' has sort of a negative connotation. Its German translation, 'überwältigend', can be both used in a positive and negative way. Overwhelmed by information usually means something bad, while overwhelmed by love is something very wonderful.

    Just saying.