Welcome to Mondo Samu - Questions and Answers about my self-work.

Mondō: "questions and answers"; a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and teacher.
Samu: Work service; meditation in work.


Friday, December 9, 2011

99 Problems but to bitch ain't one.

Man, some days you look around and everything is great.  Other days you look around and it just seems like everyone everywhere is suffering and life's a bitch.  It can be overwhelming sometimes!  And, sometimes, you just want to bitch about it.

I have a friend whose ex-husband (and father of her two daughters) is in liver failure.  Another very dear friend who's in the hospital suffering from Lupus.  A buddy with heart troubles.  A few friends dealing with depression in it's various nasty forms.  One friend who lost two of his friends this week.  A couple of friends going through divorces.  A teacher who's lost his mother this month.  And on and on. 

When you see this much suffering, particularly amongst your own friends and loved ones - and to such a high degree - it's pretty tough to stay positive.  I'm doubly fortunate that I'm Buddhist AND a ridiculously positive guy for the most part (At least I think so!), but even for me it's tough.

This week, with so many important people in my life suffering so greatly, I've had Samsara on my mind heavily.  As the first of these things came to my attention, I rallied around the persons and buoyed them.  Later, as I learned of the suffering of a few of the others, I spread my support a little thinner, mentally speaking of course.  In the last few days, as the problems kept mounting, I've found myself a little more distracted.  At first I didn't realize it.  Eventually, I recognized (as I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to do) that my mindfulness was suffering and my thoughts were sliding away from the areas that needed them (such as compassion and equanimity), and more toward areas that I can do nothing about (such as fixing these problems for people, as I am wont to do).  I've caught myself, a few times this week, just bitching and whining about it saying some things very uncharacteristic of me, such as "Man, this sucks!" or "Jeez, she can't catch a break!".  I don't usually think in these terms.  Even before Buddhism came in to my life, I didn't tend to get down about things much, but these days I rarely ever think like this.

So, I guess this post is really about compassion and equanimity.  I was tweeting with a buddy of mine @SamsaricWarrior this evening for the first time in a while.  I had seen he was experiencing some sort of health issue and asked him about it.  He's the aforementioned person with heart troubles.  I only know Michael from Twitter and Facebook, but he's what I call "a good cat".  He tends to start the day off with a tweet to the world somewhere along the lines of "Good morning, me lovelies!" or some other positive thought.

@SamsaricWarrior - Good Cat.
So he tells me, when I asked how he was doing, "Yea, seems my heart isn't happy. No worries. I try to stay unattached to life and have come to terms with death.  I just try to enjoy every moment I can and hope I can be of benefit to as many as I can while I am here. :)"

What a badass.

Then, when I asked how serious it was.  He says "Well, you can hear it make lovely scary noises if you're standing within 5 feet of me in a quiet room. I have 2 valves that are fighting each other and every day it gets harder to catch my breath. Doctors are struggling to pinpoint the problem.  So for now it's tests, meds, and more tests. But like I said, it's all good. I don't let it bother me and just focus on my breath.  We all suffer in some way. This body is just a shell. I just hope that whatever happens, I can continue to try and help others."

What a total, Samsaric Warrior Badass Mother Effer.  (It says so on his wallet.) 

Anyhow, this conversation snapped me back to the present moment, collected all the concerned thoughts of my friends in to a neat pile and brought in to focus the fact that all I can do for all of this suffering is support my friends with lovingkindness and skillful behavior.  For myself, I must continue to practice, sit with all of this, and meet it all with compassion, equanimity and mindfulness.  Thanks for your practice, @SamsaricWarrior, and for reminding me that I got ninety-nine problems, but bitchin' ain't gonna be one!



  1. Metta to you my friend. Who the hell is that freak. :P

  2. Love this post! (And gotta start following SW obviously, good cat indeed!) I have been way to wrapped up in my own misery as of late, and his comment that everyone suffers is so very true and many a hell of a lot more than I do. Been working hard on getting back to equanimity myself as of late. This was one more little eye opener and ass kicking that I needed! :-) Thank you Mondo and can't wait for tomorrow and the ATS tweetup!

  3. Thanks, so much, Kitty! Yeah, it's funny how the right comment from the right person at the right time, can adjust your outlook, huh? Really, truly so happy you enjoyed this and that it was useful for you!

  4. So that Equanimity practice and dhamma talk was great timing, huh?
    I had a really good time hanging and chatting with you last night...we have just a few things in common ;)

  5. Hah, yeah it was EXTREMELY timely for me. We didn't even scratch the surface of the conversations I would have liked to have last night, but yeah this one was timely for me. The meditation was amazing too...I was able to tie it in to the topic internally in a way I can't quite describe yet, but I guess suffice it to say it worked well for me. I got a lot out of it. And, yes, we do have an eerie amount in common. I'm kind of freaked that we both know Brito! How small is the world??!