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February 2, 2013 / A Mindful Traveler

An Unexpected Benefit From Running Into a Door

Two days ago, while rushing to meet a colleague, I accidentally walked into a glass door. My face hurt and I felt disoriented all evening; although it left no visible physical marks, part of my lip and an eyebrow feel  swollen.  My sleep hasn’t been quite the same since.

I’m not sharing this because I’m seeking sympathy or to congratulate whoever cleaned the door (who admittedly did quite a fine job!)  Rather it’s because I feel I’ve learned  a couple of things from the experience.  First and more obviously, I shouldn’t rush.  The additional seconds that I might have saved by running into my colleague (as opposed to the door) earlier, don’t even compensate for the time it took me to look in the mirror for swelling.  As it happened, he wasn’t even there.

Second and more importantly, my slightly impaired abilities have compelled me to be more focused on everything.  I haven’t slept well the past two nights, falling asleep late and rising unintentionally early, in both cases with a dull headache.  As a result, I’ve found both my walking and sitting meditation practices to be stronger than they were before.  Perhaps I’m able to focus more because I know my powers to think are less, in the way Michael Jordan played one of his greatest games with a serious case of the flu.  It could also be that the lack of sleep has compelled me to push my limits in much the same way as I would on a retreat.

I’m aware of the cliches that one should learn from one’s mistakes or when one sense weakens (here the mind door), others strengthen to compensate for it.  I don’t mean to subscribe to either one.  Rather, my experience seems to have compelled me to see things differently and (I hope) more clearly.

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