The story of where the rubber meets the road actually begins more along the lines of where flesh, blood, and bones meet the road. A road in Santa Barbara, CA to be exact. After enjoying a glorious morning walk/run, I was struck by a full size pick-up while crossing the street. I awoke in the ER, such a surreal experience, people and noises and voices buzzing around me. The pain in my body is mind-numbing. I start to piece it together, oh yeah, I was in an accident. I keep crying out "There's something wrong with my legs, there's something wrong with my legs," then I ask, "Am I dying? Please tell me if I'm dying" which leads to "Are my brains coming out of my head? My head hurts".
I wasn't dying and my brains were not escaping from their cozy home. Yes, my neck was broken in two places and my leg in four, I had a terrible gash in my head, a sprained ankle and perhaps a sprained knee. BUT...I am alive and all my limbs work. I can speak and think and eat. LUCKY.
Karma is like that. Lucky and unlucky all at once!
I spent three days in the hospital and and two weeks in a rehab hospital. Today, I write from a cute little studio I'm renting at a friend's house. My rehabilitation and recovery will be in Santa Barbara, partly because I can't travel and partly because the care here is good. AND...I want to thank all my friends and family in SB and beyond who continue to take care of me and share their lovingkindness. I am rich with friends and caregivers. THANK YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART.
Before the accident, I planned to be in a solitary silent retreat, blissed out on meditation and study in a lovely secluded house in Crestone. Instead, my retreat is about using this experience to strengthen and practice the Buddha's teachings on suffering, freedom from suffering, and the dissolution of ego-clinging. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Can I refrain from cultivating ego habit thoughts of self-pity, anger, resentment, jealousy? Can I remember impermanence and emptiness and compassion and lovingkindness? Can I stay on the path with a vast mind aimed at liberation?
My life is not comfortable. I am hindered by a neck brace which keeps my head in neutral and a leg brace which goes from thigh to ankle. Sleep comes in fits and starts and always on my back. I have pain and swelling and bumps and bruises. Getting in a car hurts, taking a shower is exhausting, and cooking a meal requires several rest periods.
And this is what Buddha was saying...life is not comfortable. As long as we seek happiness outside our own minds, we will be disappointed because the outside world does not exist as we see it and it is always falling apart. It is unreliable, uncomfortable, and unstable.
Happiness can only come from training the mind to rest in its natural state which is luminous, clear, and empty. A vast mind that sees that all phenomena, including car accidents, are simply the display of emptiness. Nothing exists, yet everything manifests.
I challenge myself to keep the view, to remember this is temporary, to reflect on selflessness and to cultivate an open heart. I do not want to be bitter, depressed, and self-centered. I want to dig deep and be a better nun, a better buddhist, and a true practitioner.
Please join me in this quest for enlightenment. We all have suffering and yet we can all be content. We can all train our minds. Let's do it together. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Thank you for your prayers and support. May you be well!
Finally, I invite you to look at this article written by a local journalist.