Monday I took my second dose of Methotrexate, my weekly dose of poison to retard rheumatoid arthritis. I have a new friend in the Everyday Zen sangha, Nancy Welch, who has had RA most of her life. It is a great testament to her character that she is a very funny person. In reference to the whole buffet of semi-toxic meds, she said, “As Dorothy Parker once said (and I recall this every time I have to try something else) ‘What fresh hell is this?’ But hey, without Zen, I'd probably be quoting Sylvia Plath--so I consider myself on the up side of pessimism, ya know?”
The day after taking this dose, I am in bed most of the day with deep fatigue. Lying in bed doing nothing, not sleeping, is new for me. After all, when you are in bed, aren’t you supposed to be sleeping or at least messing around? So boredom sets in. Finally, as a last resort, I actually decide to do some practice. There is a line in the Metta Sutta that says, “Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all one's waking hours,practice the Way with gratitude.” So I lie there following my breath and sometimes thinking of the millions who will not ever get out of bed.
I also do a visualization from a tape that has a guided meditation for those with RA. There is imagery of friendly beings above you, sending you love. They drape you with a soft blanket of healing. Now, I listened to this tape pre-RA, and I was kind of cynical, not being a person to imagine friendly beings draping things. But now, I will take all the help I can get. I imagine the smiles of my friends, most especially that of Chris Fortin, who smiles with her whole face. It really is quite wonderful, and it does feel healing.
I feel the intentional sending of thoughts of well being from my teacher and sangha. So, here, now, I wish to express my love for all the friendly beings who are practicing with me, side by side, wishing me well.