Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just For Today ...

Photo by Sara.Musico, available under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling very down. The thought of going to the office and facing another day of work made me nervous and jittery, almost panicky: I just wanted to hide.

My brother, a qi gong devotee, once told me that people who treat illnesses, for example doctors, can accumulate negative qi (energy) and become sick because they are exposed to so much negative qi from their patients. I wonder if this can happen to any of us? When we are subjected to negative feelings and situations, can tensions build within us, cause blockages or imbalances in our pranic flow, and result in “dis-ease”?

In hindsight, I was exposed to increasing stresses leading up to that day:

  • Apprehensive feelings when my sister told me that her mother-in-law's fight with cancer was ending
  • Concerns for my sister, her husband, and their children when her mother-in-law died
  • Sharing my team's worries about the lack of projects at work (a key prerequisite to obtaining good performance ratings, which affect our salaries)
  • Uneasiness because there were large household expenses due this month

Feeling that I had to hide all that emotional turmoil behind a positive and calm demeanour at the office led to a cycle of sleepless nights, tiredness, lack of practice, and continual self-questioning of why I was thinking and feeling like I did. My problems seemed to grow and plunge me deeper into depression.

“Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.”
Dhammapada Verse 60

On this particular day, I dropped the car off for service and was wandering around the shops looking for a birthday present for my nephew. I was exhausted, my mind was foggy, and I was on autopilot. Then I passed a ‘New Age’ store. Outside was a sign:

“Just for today ... I will not anger. I will not worry. I will count my blessings. I will be kind to all living things. I will do my work honestly.”

Those words resounded within me. I kept returning to the sign to memorise them. It was a timely reminder that brought a new perspective to my problems. On that day I decided to put my worries aside and since then, I've managed to claw my way out of that dark place. I just need to remind myself, “Just for today ...”

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