This issue of Tricycle has a fabulous article called The Dharma of Snow by Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni. It talks about how meditation can be like melting snow: absolutely no progress may seem to be being made, and then suddenly there is a breakthrough and the snow has vanished.
Being from Michigan, this is the perfect article. I feel like today we turned a corner this winter. I don’t believe we will have any more days below twenty. All the forecasted temps are thirty and above. We will likely have one or two more days in the twenties, but the worst is likely over. We will, of course, get more snow, but it likely will not stick around more than 24 or 48 hours.
I feel like I am in the process of “thawing” on many levels. Last year, I lost the ability to repress anything, even things I think might have been better left repressed for the time being. Needless to say, there is no need to repress the wonderful and joyful. Things get repressed for very good and solid reasons. What gets repressed? Unexpressed rage and frustration. The knowledge that I can simply never be who I am around certain people and that it is worthless to try. It has all come up and it is not pretty. Ugh.
And there is also the biological aspect. I believe that whatever we are experiencing emotionally and whatever toxins we are ingesting when we gain weight get “frozen” into the fat. It’s kind of like the PBB poisoning of fish in the Great Lakes when I was a kid. We were told not to eat the fish because PBB is fat-soluble and eating the fish would transfer the toxin to us and our fat. Well…Think about it. Emotional or toxic crud gets solidified into our fat and then, ask yourself, what happens if and when you ever lose weight and that particular fat? I believe that whatever is in the fat (emotional and/or environmental toxins) gets released. Many times, people lose weight and feel like crap. I believe this is a big part of feeling yucky while losing weight.
It is similar to glaciers melting. Nobody ever talks about this. Everyone talks about rising water levels, which is a real problem. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s not the only problem. Imagine a woolly mammoth with a strange disease dying in northern Canada or Greenland. It freezes in place. It is in the next ice age, frozen and stationary. Then it thaws. What happens if we have no immunity to the bizarre mammoth disease it suffered from? What are these melting glaciers releasing into the water and air?
As anyone living in a northern climate knows, when the snow finally does melt, it is an ugly sight. All the crap getting shoveled along with the snow is now revealed on the pavement and your lawn. Ick. It is extremely unappealing.
Emotionally, we live in a culture where our real, lived lives are not acceptable to the average onlooker, let alone boss. We repress our feelings for emotional and financial survival. There is no shame in that. Or integrity.
And then there is the suddenness of the snow being gone when it has been there for days, months, or centuries. David R. Hawkins talks in many of his books about the potential of abrupt progress coming out of seemingly nowhere. The book Letting Go talks of it. Meditation also goes there, so to speak. Change is occurring continually and no visible progress is being made—then bam! You are at an advanced position, in new territory, now.
What can be done when repression is no longer an option? I am living that question. And I am losing weight. The emotional impacts are not pretty.
This is why I have such respect for the gays that come out of the closet and accept the rejection of family, friends, and religious organizations. To be who you are is courageous and potentially costly.
But Buddhism says that I have no real self or soul. If I rake up the emotional crud from my psychic lawn, is there anything left? Am I the lawn? I have been reading A Hidden Wholeness A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer. Palmer’s opinion is that, yes, absolutely, we have souls that are seeking expression. I am not sure of it. But then again, I am only now looking at the detritus of almost fifty years of emotional crud. And I have only just begun to rake.