Living in Thailand for 5 months meant it was only a matter of time before it happened: food poisoning. On a bright morning and as I was preparing to go to the city to see some friends, it struck and it struck hard. Eating was not an option. It was 24 hours of agony – my stomach felt like it was training for Olympic gymnastics and I was shaking like a hardworking washing machine. Then the live music started at a wedding in the community. When Thais do live music, everyone nearby can hear every word. At one point, a cowbell threatened to push my mind into madness.
As I saw it, there were two ways to be part of this situation: rage and curse at being sick, wasting what little energy I had, or do my best to accept that it was happening. I started with a concentration meditation and my mind and body quieted down a little. When I had some focus, I brought my attention to my body and everything that was going on inside. This is simply being mindful of how things are. It’s practicing clarity.
After a little while, the pain in my stomach was very quiet. Perhaps it didn’t need to shout to get my attention anymore. We can view pain as our body trying to tell us something is wrong or dangerous. Instead of fighting against it, I was getting the message. If we react aggressively towards our body or mind, we get aggression back. If we react with acceptance and kindness, even going as far as to say “Hi, body. I know you’re hurting. I am here for you” in our minds, then the pain can move along. Being mindful of how my body was without trying to force it to be different allowed the food poisoning to resolve itself quicker.
The next morning, I was feeling much more human. An exhausted human with less fondness for cowbells.
For more guidance on creating a daily meditation practice, I suggest you read the following blog post ‘Daily Meditation – Your Way’: http://www.tallmountainmindfulness.com/2018/09/29/daily-meditation-practice/