This week’s lesson, my friends, is about physical pain. First there was the dental issue of last week, which resulted in a 2 1/2 hour root canal, and after a day’s respite, the bunny started acting up, and has bitten me hard at least once a day since.
My Buddhist practice has been very helpful for me in managing mental pain. I can see clearly that this pain is arising from my mind, and I can choose to dwell on it, or apply Buddha’s teachings and work my way through it. It still hurts, but at least I can recognize the source and can find ways to work with it. Physical pain, however, is a bit more challenging for me.
The opponent to anger and frustration is patient acceptance. We accept what is happening to us, not push it away, not blame. We simply accept. Then we have some choices of how we can deal with whatever is happening. That can work also with physical pain, if we’re mindful enough. When I was having waves of severe dental pain, I tried to keep in mind that the pain will pass eventually, and tried to stay calm. It still hurt like hell, but I wasn’t panicked. However, when that same pain woke me up in the middle of the night when my mindfulness wasn’t there – oh lordy. I scared the crap out of the boyfriend as I shook and sobbed in pain, upset that I couldn’t even get down a few bites of bread to cushion the pain meds. At that time, in my groggy, non-alert state of mind, all my years of practice were completely powerless against the intensity of pain.
I’m likewise starting to feel powerless in my battle with Mr. Binkles. I have had saint-like patience with all sorts of bad animal behavior. It would never occur to me to give up an animal because of a physical or behavior problem. It is starting to occur to me now. Mr. Binkles has taken to biting me. Hard. Often. It is at the point I am frightened to be in the same room as he is.
Yet, I know he’s not an evil bunny. In his deluded little bunny mind, he’s making complete sense. However, in wanting to protect my body from physical pain, all I see is a psychotic pair of killer teeth attached to an insanely cute wittle bunny body. I have found myself screaming at this little creature after he clamps into my flesh. Screaming. I feel quite out of control. So, for his protection and mine, he’s locked up in the sun room, even though I know he must be frustrated as he seems to like to hang with me.
This morning I’m taking him in to get neutered, in hopes that will help with the aggression and territoriality (I believe he has staked out my couch, hence the attacks whenever I want to sit on my own damn couch).
I know a Bodhisattva can endure physical pain and not suffer. In fact, would welcome physical pain if it were to help another living being. Mr. Binkles is showing me quite clearly how far I am from being a Bodhisattva. Thank you Mr. Binkles (but you are still getting your balls cut off today).