Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Shadow Knows

My thanks to those who wrote in yesterday with sympathies and remedies for those cluster headaches. It is interesting-and a bit disturbing--to watch this series as it develops. Nothing violent since yesterday morning, but several mock attacks, culminating in a very minor event this morning, at the same time as yesterday's. The shadow has been present throughout the day and, as I have noticed at waking moments, throughout the night. It's hard to describe this: it feels like a headache waiting to happen, a space it has carved out for itself inside the head. When I pay attention, particularly during meditation, I notice how very different the two sides of my head feel, the right side clear and relaxed, the left side totally sensitive and alert, self-protective, ready to defend itself against the coming explosion.

The disturbing part, as I suggested yesterday, is the irregularity of this series. It's the not knowing what's coming, nor when to expect it. Were the headaches coming with that precise regularity I'm used to, my mind would be satisfied with the familiar explanation: clusters. Since they're not, the mind loses that anchor, and feels entitled to get anxious and indulge in speculation. It's interesting. I don't know about yours, but I'm learning more and more that my mind is constantly in search of--in need of--explanations. It thinks that if it can only understand why something is happening, it will be able to somehow prevent unpleasant events from occurring and control the world out-there.

Science, of course, is busy doing the same. And to some extent it's right. We need to understand the causes of climate change, for example, if we're to do something about it. Where it gets interesting is the point beyond which we have no satisfactory explanation, or have too many alternative explanations--the point where we must simply recognize and accept what-is for what it is: this is a headache. It's happening now. I have no idea what caused it, still less how to make it go away. I must abide in my headache-ness, observe its progress if I can with disinterested interest, and watch it, thankfully, subside.

Today, I go with my friend Stuart to meet with his class on "Character and Conflict." I think I have the title right. It's always a privilege. And the shadow will likely shuffle off into the wings for the length of the day.

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