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Lions Roar : May 2015
mechanism.” There are times when our options are fight, flight, or freeze. There was nothing and no one for me to fight, except myself. There was no place for me to flee and escape. The only remaining option was to freeze, which I did in the form of going to bed often and, I hoped, falling asleep. I did this for about two months, and then I stopped. I did not make a con- scious decision to stop. I was just ready to move on. I did not know at that time how close I had come to death. I was only to learn about that later. So, to be truthful, I was not constantly filled with gratitude. While I would be able in an occa- sional moment to feel the simple pleasures of life, mostly my days were filled with pain, dread, fear, anxiety, and the constant wish to have my life back. I felt as if I had no life. I thought it, and said it so often, “I want my life back.” It seemed as if there was nothing I could do for myself, and anything I attempted to do resulted in more pain and suffering. My hands were useless. I could not hold a fork or a toothbrush; I could not wash myself, dress myself, or wipe myself. I felt hopeless and life seemed pointless. We can guarantee ourselves suffering when we cling to a desire for things to be different than they are. We can practi- cally define suffering by saying that it is clinging to that desire. Things are not different than they are. They are as they are. Wanting things to change is not the same as putting out the effort and determination to bring about change. I knew from my years of introspective practice, that what I was experiencing were thoughts and feelings, and those thoughts and feelings were powerful, sometimes overwhelm- ingly so. So many mornings I woke up with the belief/hope that it had all been a dream and I was now back in my real life. Then I would stand up on my unsteady legs or try to use my painful hands and realize that this was no dream, a nightmare perhaps, but not a dream. This was now my life. One day, in a moment of deep despair, Susanna, who was going through the same kind of experience as I, said, “Now I HOT OFF THE PRESS AFPPHOTO/MYANMARPOLICEFORCE The crash: "In that plane," says Lokos, "fuel is stored in the wings, so shearing through electrical wires with the wings caused an immediate burst of flame." village zendo A Zen Temple in the Heart of Manhattan Daily Meditation, Workshops and Retreats Abbot Roshi Enkyo O’Hara 588 Broadway, Suite 1108 New York City For more information, please visit www.villagezendo.org SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 74