A few weeks ago I unfortunately injured myself while practicing martial arts with a colleague. We were wrestling when I suddenly twisted my knee so much that it popped and caused a forced stretch of the ligaments and other connective tissue. When this happened it didn’t hurt at first but I immediately knew that I had harmed myself and that I was in for a good lesson.
A positive of being injured is the chance to learn about all the intricacies involved in the particular circumstance, like the anatomy and physiology of the area that has been affected. Understanding just how severe the harm is and the degree of healing involved is also a piece of the lesson. Then there are deeper considerations such as how it affects the esteem, how it alters one’s level of independence and even how one might take things for granted – health is wealth! Assuming that the injury is not too life altering, or even if it is, then this can be a time to practice transcendence.
Injuries cause change and change is part of life – where nothing stays the same. Within it all there is cause and effect, and this can be viewed like dropping a pebble in a placid pool of water, watching the ripples circle out, seeing where they go and what is touched by them. A moderate wound will shift things temporarily while recovering from surgery might change things permanently and an adaptation is what follows. How one adapts is key and will alter the next chapter in the story of the injury. Are there emotions of acceptance, denial, regret, or perhaps humility, appreciation, and relief? It might be a combination of feelings and to stay open and available to what appears on the landscape of the heart-mind is yet another occasion to receive information about one’s self.
This most recent injury has been a humble reminder of how delicate my human body can be and at the same time just how powerful it can be in regenerating itself. Hindered, I continue my day-to-day activities but differently and new due to the way I must move from the point of injury outward. I question my mortality during these times and even contemplate what the Buddha said – that we all grow old, become sick and then die. This is not morbid, rather a reminder of the natural rhythm of living in a body. So, I develop awareness and acknowledgment and as a result foster a greater peace inside myself. It is how I exist up to that point, and the progression of learning throughout that span, what I call being alive.
(Originally from January 2007)
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