Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on July 31, 2014

An Italian word meaning inactivity or immobilization, what I call my "do-nothing policy," which sometimes comes over me against my will. I am wondering if others experience this too. Let me back up for a moment.

One of the symbols often used in Buddhism is the dharmachakra, the dharma wheel of eight spokes. It is said that the Buddha turned the wheel of the dharma. Indeed he did, and left his method of awakening for others in the form of what is called the dharma. What is not immediately clear is that we too each have to turn the wheel of the dharma for ourselves. No one can do it for us, because the whole idea is for us to enlighten ourselves just as the Buddha did. Sometimes I think the image of the wheel should have a crank on it to remind me that in order to be turned, it has to be, well, turned of course. And that would be each of us turning it for ourselves.

But that wheel, at least in my case, is not always turning. Sometimes it just sits there, which is what I want to get into here. Let's talk about this immobilization, being immobilized. It happens too often to me for comfort and I am usually the last to know it is happening. Here is how it works. My life is moving along (sometimes churning along), and things start to go amiss. I might see a little sign here and another over there that everything is not going well, and then before I know it I am swamped and start to shut down.

It probably is just mounting pressures, too much to handle, or that I have bit off more than I can chew once again, but the bottom line is that I get overwhelmed; I'm in over my head. My usual response is to swim with the current for a while, but when I'm finally overtaken by a tsunami of additional events I begin to turn inward and more and more things start to go by the wayside. Finally, like the ostrich, I just stick my head in the sand and wait it out.

Before I know it I have ground to a halt and am buried with undone, unfinished tasks. I turn delinquent. Somehow I lose the drive or will to do much of anything. My desk piles up and needs cleaning. Bills go unanswered. There is all kinds of stuff backed up here and there, halfway to somewhere, exactly wherever I left them. Suddenly I am behind in everything, and feel helpless to do much about it. Major projects grind to a halt and, as likely as not, I can't seem to lift a finger in their direction. As the title of this blog says, I am immobilized. Everything just sits there, waiting for the next wave of upturn, which can be a long-time coming, the turning point when I finally pick back up on all or most of it. And there is always some attrition. A few projects don't make it back; they never resurface.

Now I am not alone in this. I have looked around enough to see others doing almost the same thing. It is as if time stops and everything is frozen for a while. No one is turning the wheel of my dharma, least of all me. Everything just sits there. It reminds me of the game we used to play as kids where everyone is told to freeze and be like a statue, holding a position until we are told to move again. The same thing happens to me in life, and I am not talking about a few hours or even days. This can go on for weeks. Everything just stops and I wait it out. I am never quite sure what caused it or how long it will last. Worse, I often don't even know it is happening until I am way into it. I am too busy being a statue.

And it is also a little like those nightmares I sometimes have, where I am awake but unable to move, frozen in time, wrapped in immobility. In other words, I can be awake enough in all of this to realize I have been immobilized, but like those bad dreams, I seem unable to lift a finger and do anything about it. I just lie there, trapped in rigor-mortis, unable to move. What do I do?

Well, not much, actually. I spend an inordinate amount of time doing almost nothing at all, waiting for this to free-up and blow over, for things to start moving again. And they eventually do. Ever so gradually I start to pick up where I left off before everything froze over. Of course, these are cycles, waves that overcome me, leaving me helpless, and then, just as suddenly the wheel of life starts turning again, and I am back to normal. Meanwhile, I am being delinquent on just about everything, on an unintentional hiatus, shuffling the cards, and waiting for the next deal.

About the only cause of this I can think of is that these times of inaction are connected to solar activity. And just for fun, I note that the sun has been VERY inactive over the last weeks. And I am kind of stuck in one of those Limbo periods as well. There was one small solar flare yesterday, which may have prompted this blog. On the other hand, I could just be imagining things. Enough said.

There is no point to this blog other than to describe this immobilization phenomenon and to hear from some of you, if you experience the same thing or something similar.

[Photo taken yesterday.]