Written by FISIWE ZWANA
I'm on an emotional rollercoaster
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy
Lovin' you was never good for me (For me)
But I can't get off
--Excerpt from Emotional Rollercoaster by Vivian Green
Like many, I can identify with the lyrics from Vivian Green's song, Emotional Rollercoaster. During those unavoidable times when things aren't going so great in my relationship, I find myself contemplating and analyzing the whys.
In my Buddhist practice I have learned that I suffer because I engage in acts and thoughts that create disharmony and contradict my ultimate goal, which is to end the cycle of life and rebirth and thus end all my suffering.
“He” is my constant dream. I have to marvel at how as a woman, my search is for "man" even in knowing ultimately the embrace must be of "self." The question continues to arise no matter how clear I become. "He" is the constant dream. I keep thinking that if I can improve my relationship with "him"; if I can figure "him" out; if I can master communication with "him"; if I can successfully show "him" the way to innerstand me; if I can choose the right "him"; if I can love "him" to health; if I can truly honor and respect "him"; if I can get the right "him" in my life at the right time under all the right circumstances, then I will have accomplished some worthy task.
Earlier I was listening to the Dhamma talk, and the question in one particular session is about what can we ever do in life that is really worth doing? What actions do we make that lead to our ultimate benefit? What do we do that leads to the deathless?
"Darling, I am only human, yeah...but you are so divine. Tell me when did you leave heaven? Mmm...angel, angel of mine... Take me there, leave these earthly things, take me there....I want you to take me there...." As I write this, Lalah Hathaway bursts in and sings me to tears. I mean what am I to do with this longing that never, ever, ever, ever goes away? What cruel punishment is this that I should feel so incomplete!?
Listening to the Dhamma talk, I realized again and again and again, and I know from direct experience with my meditation that it is the attention to breath, the recognition of breath as the building block of life and the cultivation of a close personal relationship with it that can and will lead the way to the stilling of dukkha (suffering). I can comprehend that the ultimate truth of my reality is ungraspable, and over a lifetime of refining my actions and thoughts to detach myself from those that cause unnecessary strain and angst, that I can reach a place on this path that leads to the end of rebirth. I acknowledge that I must learn to depend less and less on that which is impermanent because these things are not self.
Honestly, if navigating the ins and outs of a deeply emotional connection with another has shown me anything, it has shown me that no matter how much I want to dream this dream of "him," it is still only that. No matter what, it will always fade as an illusion that I have used as a distraction from the path and yet at the same time will serve as an instrument of my deeper clarification of the path. I'm often spent, fatigued of this paradox.
My state of existence right now is not fatalistic; not nihilistic, but exists in the sharp dry arid space of a truth that does not reverberate off of anything outside itself. It is clear.
And as I sit here listening to these soulful love songs sung by Lizz Wright, Rachelle Ferell, Cassandra Wilson, and Lalah Hathaway, they fill me with a sense of only muted angst; one tinted with a little resentment and the kind of matter-of-fact-ness one might look at an old abusive lover with. I'm kind of ruined to them with the knowledge that whatever longing they so poignantly describe is based on many lies and only a few immutable truths.
These soulful love songs strum the deep passionate parts of me that don't serve the stilling of my suffering, but comfort me in the familiarity of it.
My dream of "him" has been necessary for the refinement of my journey.
My dream of "him" is not the destination of my journey.
Every time I get lost in the dream of "him," when it fades and I come back to the un-reverberating truth of my purpose, meditation and the beckoning of freedom from suffering are here waiting for me with an even stronger embrace than before I went wandering into the dream.
Until next time, Be Awake and Be Well. May Metta "Lovingkindness" Fill Your Life.
Fisiwe is a writer, singer and performance poet. She is the author of Lovewords: Poetry From a Place Called Love, and she is the host of her own internet radio show, Love Art Life Radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.