Thursday, 9 July 2009

I got sick of listening to myself.

By far the most important thing that has happened to me since I started sitting and trying to live life mindfully, is that I don't have to listen to my nonsense as much. Of course, I lapse into the old ways of thinking, the sham fights with people in work and elsewhere, the grandiose imaginings, and the lamenting and cursing of my past. But not as much as before, when almost all of my thinking was dominated by such thoughts.

Today I went out to buy a new samue (traditional monks work clothes worn by many men in Japan as casual summer wear) and I wasn't with my wife, who usually translates when I get out of my depth with the language. There was a woman and a man tending the shop, a traditional kimono shop. Chances are they are husband and wife. When I bought my first samue there the man was there alone and he dealt with my wife. The samue then was ¥3,000 (around $30) and today the same price was on the label. However, the woman served me and she asked for an extra ¥150 over the marked price. Immediately I felt awkward, wondering why she was bunging on an extra 75 cents and I immediately reckoned she was taking the foreigner for a ride. Not confident in my Japanese language ability and with a two-year-old son in tow, I just paid the price, took the samue and left.

Then the nonsense began. The whole way home in the car and back in the house I replayed the experience in my mind, new scenarios with me challenging her and making a fuss, standing up for myself and striking a blow for foreigners in Japan, etc, etc, etc. However, it was much more muted than before. I tried very hard to let it go, not whipping myself for thinking that way, concentrating on my breath and bringing mindfulness to the fore. Soon, it subsided and I went about my business until my wife came home. I tried to resist telling her, but I gave in, the old thinking was back, stirring the pot again. I told her about being charged the extra and she told me that I'd just been charged the tax, like she was when we bought the first samue.

My ego is more than ever subject to my awareness and it is losing its grip on me. I am so glad that I have got sick of listening to it. Where did I put that zafu?

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