Here is how the Buddha measured wisdom: you are wise if you can get yourself to do things you don’t like doing, but know will result in happiness; and prevent yourself from doing things you like doing but know will result in unhappiness or harm. Pretty simple, practical. Doesn’t mean it’s easy.
One of my many struggles lately is the “poor me” black hole: ” Poor me, I can’t eat cheese. Poor me, I can’t eat sourdough bread. Poor me, I can’t eat any sugar or caffeine or dairy or processed meat like bacon. Poor me, I can’t enjoy eating out with friends. I get overwhelmed easily if I am in a room with more than 4-5 other people. Poor me, I have to sleep over 12 hours a day or I start to shake. If I take a shower, it takes a few hours to recover. Poor me, I seem to have a hole in my brain lately, I get confused easily and forget things, like water just flowing over me. Poor me, I’m dying soon. ”
So my unwise reaction these past few months in the black hole is to eat cheese, bread, have sugar and caffeine, eat bacon, go to large gatherings, and act like a so called normal person. It’s a little like throwing a tantrum. Knowing that I will get sick, have migraines, sleep for days to overcome these assaults. Knowing that the cancer in my body may be waking up and thriving. I know all that, and I do it anyway. So the defiant, harming part of my self has had the upper hand. Unwise. Understandable, but unwise. I feel sorry for myself. And I’m angry, too. I fucking hate this disease and how my body is disintegrating. I’ve been really sick now for at least 6 years, maybe even longer.
Christmas day I realized that I need help. Beside from the huge help I recently got from my friend Greg on a spiritual and emotional level, I need practical assistance in dealing with life chores, and in my case, death chores. I have piles of paperwork on the floor around my desk, and piles on my desk. One sobering reality was to realize that not only was I not doing some of this paperwork as part of my tantrum, but also that I can no longer actually take care of all this paperwork. My brain isn’t working well enough to do it. I need help.
So I asked for help, and have found the very best person for this job anyone could ever want. Another angel in my life. We shall make our way slowly through these piles until there is order. Asking for help in this instance is wise.
My unwise reactions are killing me, slowly. And so I am looking forward to seeing how this applied wisdom might affect the rest of my life. A strategic wisdom. Maybe it could spread, instead of the cancer. I like that idea. And the idea that wisdom itself could be such a profound spiritual practice.
I still want to die in harmony with the universe.