Monday, August 31, 2009

Are some obstacles never meant to be overcome?

I'm awake because I can't sleep. I'm having one of the worst allergy attacks ever. On a scale of 1 to 10, this one is a 10. I'm finding it hard to catch my breath between sneezes much less relax enough to fall asleep. I can't really pinpoint what triggered it although I suspect it's all the moving we've been doing that kicked up a lot of dust. Despite my incessant Swiffering and vacuuming, there still must be some dust particles in the air. The Claritin I take is not lessening the severity of this attack even slightly.

The other day as I was studying and journalling, I asked myself if allergies were something I was going to suffer with for the rest of my life. I surprised myself with the answer: it is. I honestly do not feel that I will be able to cure myself from allergies in this lifetime. It is one of those obstacles in my life that I will have to learn to live with victoriously. In other words, I don't believe that any amount of chanting will enable me to overcome my allergies. My mother struggles with asthma and allergies and so do many other members of my family. It's in the genes and there it remains. Just like no amount of chanting will add extra inches on to your height or change your ethnicity.

I thought that sounded a bit defeatist but it's actually in line with my world view and doesn't contradict any Buddhist philosophy. We are not promised a life of ease and comfort. All we are in control of really is our reaction to it. So yes, I've read lots of experiences where people power chanted their way through tough medical diagnoses and difficult situations. I believe it is possible to reverse your karma. But at the same time, I believe there are some things that simply won't change. There's no guarantee that endless amounts of chanting will bring about a change in the situation. But there is a guarantee that there will be a change in you.

The whole point of chanting is to bring out your inherent wisdom so that you may take correct action. A medical diagnosis giving you a few months to live could send you into despondency but chanting will give you the wisdom a) to figure out how to extend your days if at all possible and b) to make the most of whatever time you have left and c) to ensure the condition will not defeat you or bring down your "life condition" . . . in other words, you energy and life force will stay high.

I read a story in a book called Raising Cain, which, by the way, has nothing to do with Buddhist philosophy. I was moved by a story of a divorced mother of two boys who was terminally ill but was bravely preparing her sons for her death. She wasn't stone faced about it. She shared her sadness and her fears. She didn't wallow in self-pity. She was courageous and victorious and her sons recalled that as the single greatest gift she could have given them.

One thing I've learned about myself is that in many ways, my feet are planted firmly on the ground. So I'm not chanting so that the allergies magically vanish. I'm not into miracles, signs and wonders. I'm chanting so that at least I will somehow find a way to live with them. Live victoriously with them. Win. Because right now, I'm not. The allergies have me beat hands down. I've already done the diet changes. If one more smug know-it-all says, "You should eliminate x, y, z from you diet" I'll go crazy. I've tried various herbs, switched up the medicines. I vacuum and dust regularly. All to no avail. But the answer, I have to believe, is out there. I can't continue on this way.

Well, sitting up and writing has been more beneficial than lying in bed. I think the Claritin may now be starting to take effect although I can tell that the attack is not over and the Claritin is not going to bring it to an end. But I feel drowsy enough, exhausted enough where I may fall asleep. Hopefully.


Anonymous said...

You know what you should try...just kidding. That is a very buddhist to look at the issue. One of my favorite things to say is "Everything is temporary." No matter how much something sucks, know that it doesn't last forever.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I am allergic to EVERYTHING (done the tests, regularly visited allergist, etc). I've been on sooo many allergy meds since middle school that Claritin is like candy to me. You may need something stronger. IMO, the best is Zyrtec, but when I started it in university I swelled for a few days...all over...completely sensitive skin. Then the hives began if I missed a dose. I eventually got hooked and stopped taking it after several years (it took multiple tries and a reductive strategy to stop!). So ya...hehe

If you have hives, I think magnesium helps a little.

It is frustrating and depressing to be told allergies are a life long struggle (as I was by my allergist). I refuse to give in! Each year I get better! Just this year I discovered a "green" cleaning product I use was the source of my hives.

Try honeycomb. I tried it last year after reading the US Army uses it for soldiers with allergies (so they don't suffer side effects of allergy meds). Honeycomb looks gross to me, but the few times I took it, I did experience same day relief. Its hard to find so most of the time I try to eat non-pasteurized organic honey.

Oh, I have heard swiffering makes dust worse...

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