incredible lightness of being

POSTCARD#274: New Delhi: about the permanent headache, the anaesthesiologist lady in the white room says there’s another kind of treatment available: Pulsed RadioFrequency (PRF), so I could consider this rather than coping with the pain by self-medication. The new procedure stuns the nerve that’s causing the pain. Agreed, let’s fix it for 25th July, and all of a sudden with some degree of excitement I’m looking forward to a major change in my life.

That was then, this is now. I got the flight back to New Delhi from Bangkok, all the usual rumble tumble and really, what’s all the fuss about, I don’t feel the pain as much now as I did at the beginning, nearly two years ago. The meds give me a space where there is almost no pain at all. The lingering ‘mind’ aspect of the pain (that re-minds me about other things to do with the pain) is pushed out of the way due to a particular attitude/ focus of mind that doesn’t find it interesting to be with these associated shadows of mind.

Forgetting, of course, the deep stabs of pain, which penetrate, like long steel blades, and there are no meds to make that go away, ringing the urgency bell in the dark morning of an environment that seems bleak, unforgiving, and just BAD. Anxiety and despondency, the evolving stages of pain and confusion in between, and retracing my steps that seem to have once brought me to a place of peace, like entering a room within a room, and there’s a door leading to another room and so on, until I’d forgotten which room was which, with no plan or diagram showing how it came back to the present time. Why? I think that somewhere along the line I must have said to myself, enough is enough, this’ll do! And a large chunk of it (The ‘rooms inside rooms’) was erased from memory completely. So now there’s no finding my way back to there and then, how it was before all this happened.

The meds seemed to be as much a problem as the headaches; the nightmarish Alice in Wonderland bottle with the label saying: DRINK ME appears and long after that experience I’d wake up in the morning, roll over on the pillow and it felt like I drank too much wine the night before, but I don’t drink any alcohol at all (unrelated: that’s another story) whatever, like a light that shines in the darkness, I’m a meditator; early Buddhism/ the lineage of Ajahn Chah.

The headaches have ricocheted through these quiet spaces so much I’ve had to expand the boundaries to include mind states that are more like contemplation than focused meditation. Every time I gratefully fall into the meditative state of mind, it feels like I’ve been away from here for such a long time… returning to the knower, the fundamental mind, addressing the objects of the mind, thoughts, and phenomena arising in the mind. Staying there with this incredible lightness of being, and happy enough to not reach out much more than that.

Right View and Suffering, okay once I’d gotten rid of the adversity attachment (note to self: this will change too). Now there’s an opportunity to know the pain is likely to ease with this new ‘procedure’, I’m into this new stage of what’s happening with this headache and the degrees of focus, (no-one seems to know) leading to the confusion again, the kind that had to go away, away and get out of here – not thinking at all that the desire to get-rid-of-it is the same as the desire to-have-it. Polarizations, there’s no difference between ‘out’ and ‘in’, good or bad’, and so much more. So I have to let it in through the barrier I built. Let it go and let it in, try that and see… close the door that wasn’t open to it.

PIcture at top: A wall painting in Bangkok’s Suwannabume airport

31 thoughts on “incredible lightness of being

  1. Is hope an attachment? I have gotten migraines several times a week for my entire life so I empathize, to some degree. Your pain sounds horrendous. I am thinking of you during my lovingkindness meditation.

    • Thank you Cindy for your kind thoughts. About Hope, well let’s face it, hope in itself is not a substantial thing, it’s sad to think it has no strong foundation, and it can be blown away in the wind willy-nilly. Better to bank on something you can know and trust such as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness:

    • Yes science has come a long way in recent years, although everyone seems to be suggesting alternative cures and I am still taking Alpha Lipoic Acid suggested by you, with thanks. So, Tom is there an end to it or should I go on taking this medicine for the rest of my days? I could do that, it’s not an invasive thing.

  2. I know I’ve said it before but I cannot imagine what it must be like to live with that amount of pain nearly all the time, only dimmed to some degree with medication. I do so hope the new PRF treatment will help. Hugs to you Tiramit xx

  3. Just the other day I posted:


    Face it

    Accept it

    Deal with it

    Then let it go


    It seems we have been thinking similar things.

  4. Tiramit, I’m so sorry to read that the painful neuralgia continues, and I hope the new treatment does the trick. For what it’s worth, after years of taking strong migraine meds (which could have caused heart attack or stroke), a recent hospitalization (unrelated issue) and subsequent follow ups led to my seeing a neurologist who diagnosed me with occipital neuralgia to which the migraines are secondary. She put me on gabapentin (Neurontin) and I haven’t had a migraine since. It seems to be helping with other issues as well. I’m wishing you the very best. As I recite the Heart Sutra and repeat the mantra 108 times, I picture friends, family, clients and colleagues. I say it now for you: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. “Gone, gone, gone all the way over, everyone gone to the other shore. Enlightenment!” May you find yourself soon on the other shore from this pain and feel the freedom to enjoy all that this life brings you for the good.

    • Thanks Sunny, how good that must feel, to be free of migraine – well it’s more a case of it being re-named and the treatment for occipital neuralgia may be more effective than for migraine. I know of a few friends I’ve met here who have had migraine for decades and no effective cure. Neurontin is what I’ve been taking, 600 mg 3 or 4 times a day and Tegritol 50 mg for night. So we are both on the same meds, that’s a nice thought. Thank you too for such a penetrating mantra and I repeat it here for other readers:
      gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. “Gone, gone, gone all the way over, everyone gone to the other shore. Enlightenment!”

      • Wow, both of us on Neurontin. Another thing I’m doing is avoiding potential migraine triggers: dehydration, excessive caffeine, bright sun without sunglasses, dramatic changes in eating and sleeping pattern. I hope things ease for you very soon, my friend.

      • Yes, we’re the same! Near enough, I drink 2 litres of water a day and it should be 3 but I can’t manage. Recently got my caffeine down to two cups in the morning and that’s it. I have dramatic changes in eating and sleeping patterns – can’t do anything to change that being still stuck between two homes. Sunglasses are a good idea. Hope it goes well for you too Sunny…

  5. We’re living between two homes, too. We go to Florida for about six months, and Pennsylvania for the rest of the year. We’re lucky, just need to adapt as best we can!

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