Friday, May 29, 2015


It was a good word to forget, I suppose.  This was at the start of my morning sit, which I began, as always, with the metta practice, spreading goodwill.  It helps me to follow the formula I've learned, with good thoughts directed first to myself--because how can I spread them to others unless I'm at peace and centered in myself?  So the practice begins, May I be happy, may I be free from stress and pain, may I be free from trouble, may I be free from...

And this morning I couldn't find the word.  It was as though a hole had opened up somewhere in my brain.  I could jump over it to the next part, may I be free from oppression.  But try as I might, I couldn't find the missing word.  I knew that it began with an "a"--you know how that happens.  And I knew exactly what it meant: antipathy, ill-will towards others.  In a stronger version, hatred.  I could find all kinds of substitutes, but not the word itself.

Which distracted me.  I was not able to let go of the search, even though I knew it would be more likely to come to me if I stopped looking for it.  Fears came up--particularly, of course, the fear of losing my mind to dementia.  I forget things quite a lot these days.  I recognize it as an inevitable part of the aging process.  But somehow the loss of this one word seemed particularly distressing, perhaps because it's a word that I repeat often, every morning, in the metta practice; because it's a word with which I'm intimately, routinely familiar.

To my mind's relief, it popped up about halfway through my sit: animosity.  May I be free from animosity.  As I said, if I have to forget a word, that's a good one.  Still, it was an odd experience.  A bit disorienting, and definitely a distraction from the intention of my sit.  May I be free from animosity.  May those I love be free from animosity.  May all living beings be free from animosity.  Would that not be the ticket?

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