This Too Shall Pass

Today was a good day. The horrible heat let up some overnight, and we were spared the worst of the severe weather that accompanied the transition. I was actually able to take a pleasant bus ride down Fifth Avenue and stroll over to the ear doctor’s office off of Park Avenue without getting uncomfortable. This was a significant improvement over Monday afternoon’s quixotic test of endurance that we successfully undertook in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium (though the linked story exaggerates–the passing cloud was cheered much more loudly than the sun’s return was booed, if it was booed at all, however justified the booing would have been).

The doctor had very good news for me. He looked in my ear and nearly got giddy. He said not only that it looked “terrific,” but that already, just under three weeks after the surgery, it looks better than it did at any point in the ten months that followed the previous surgery. He said it made his day, and got so excited that he let slip that he wasn’t even sure this would work. His excitement confirms my experience so far. Though there’s still some pain (my ear was all but cut off and gutted, after all) and ringing, the ear just feels and sounds more solid–there’s nothing moving around or squishing no matter how I move my jaw–and the hearing seems to be coming back more quickly than the last time. There’s one small spot near the entrance to the ear canal that’s not healing quite the way he’d like, but he assures me that’s just superficial. I don’t know how long it will be before this can be pronounced a complete success and I no longer have to worry about some sort of relapse or complications, but things seem to be going as well as they could so far.

So I’m in a pretty buoyant mood. But I’m trying not to lose sight of the fact that this run of good fortune will end–not out of some depressive impulse, but to try to clearly see how ephemeral all of that on which my happiness (and sadness) depends truly is. I want to remind myself that the refuge from the severe storms that accompany the movements back and forth from bliss to misery that constitute human experience is an equanimity that won’t be found anywhere on that continuum. The point isn’t to get to and stay at that blissful end of that continuum–it’s to abide in the equanimous space from which that continuum arises. That emptiness is easier to release into when I’m happy than it is to aspire to when I’m depressed or anxious. And as I become familiar with the release of happiness that gives rise to equanimity, perhaps I’ll come to know that the path from depression or anxiety to equanimity isn’t an aspiration, but rather that it’s the same release.

3 Replies to “This Too Shall Pass”

  1. Sounds like you’ve had a rough ride with the ear problem, Morgan. I wish you continued improvement – and progress with the delicate balancing process that you describe below.

    Slightly associated. I have a condition called sarcoidosis, this diagnosed last year. My doctor is Burmese and a practicing Buddhist. This emerged by chance after I made some smart remark about balance in all things, which she picked up very quickly. I’m hoping that this, plus the fact that our kids go to the same school, will ensure me of preferential treatment, as and when required!


  2. Thank you for your good wishes. I have been following your travails with the sarcoidosis at a distance, and I wish you well with that. Having a good rapport with your doctor seems to help.


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