As of earlier today, I was considering my “official” weight to be 272 pounds. That’s a few pounds more than one of my scales reads and a few pounds less than the other. Regardless of which scale is right or closer to the truth, the fact is that I have continued to lose weight and feel really good about myself. In the next few days, I’m going to have to go out and get smaller pants for the second time. I was at a 44 inch waist and then I dropped to a 42 and now I’m down to a 40 in waistline. I probably need to get a new belt soon too since I’m on the last hole of the belt I bought a couple of months ago. I’m still on track to hit the 250 mark towards the end of the year so I have a goal that I am continuing to work toward. These are all great things to have taking place as they encourage me to keep working and losing the weight.
A few days ago, I noticed that I’m no longer ashamed of myself when I look in the mirror. I’m no longer seeing a fat man stare out at me when I go to see how I look in the mornings or when I wash my hands in the bathroom. Sure, I still have a belly and it sticks out but it’s not a huge thing taking up a massive amount of space hanging over the top of my pants and stretching my shirts too tight. I don’t feel skinny by any means but I’m also not ashamed of how I look any more. I don’t know how long its been since I felt this way. When you consider that most of my life I have felt fat and been unhappy with myself, these feelings really are rare for me. I’m pleased to share this here with the entire world. I am really and truly happy with myself and accept who and what I am as I am.
Often, it is our desire to be something we are not that causes us to suffer. Other times we suffer because we attempt to hold back time and prevent our self from changing. This is why the Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment is critical to ending our suffering. Misunderstanding about the meaning of the word attachment as used in Buddhism has caused a lot of people to come to the conclusion that Buddhism is nihilistic or demands that those who follow it remove themselves from everything around them. This is not true at all. In fact, as I have been reading and studying and thinking about it, the Buddhist ideal is almost the exact opposite of this. When we attach to our self, what we are really attaching to is our imaginary idea of what we want our self to be. Instead of being comfortable with who and what we really are, we become upset that we are not what we wish we were: this is the Buddhist definition of attachment that we are encouraged to abandon. Non-attachment at its core means being able to accept things as they are in the moment and allow them to change over time. I think I am catching the smallest glimmer of this right now. I’m not concerned that I don’t weigh between 230-250 pounds, nor am I disgusted with were I actually am: my weight is my weight and that is all it is. I am becoming detached from it and see it in a new and, I think, healthier way.
When one sits in meditation, especially Zen meditation, the self is all there is. The constant chatter and noise of the mind and its incessant wandering from one thing to the next is all one has for company while sitting on the cushion. The reality is that the self is not something that can ever be eliminated or detached from. Living with the self that one meets on the cushion is the challenge one faces while in meditation. As I have spent more time sitting and learning how to calm my mind, I am finding that I am more comfortable with my self as it is. I’m nowhere near becoming some sort of enlightened Zen master but I’m able to see now why it is important to continue in the practice. Practicing Zen makes the act of seeing ones self under the cold harsh light of reality bearable. My image of my self and how I feel about it is changing. My self is changing on a moment by moment basis as I come into contact with everyone and everything around me and my comfort level with that change is greater. I find that I am having less trouble looking others in the eye and speaking to them clearly and with confidence. Is it because my confidence has grown? Possibly. However, I think it is more likely because I no longer feel like I’m not worth the attention of others. With a clarity of self-image comes the realization of “OK-ness” with the self and the world around us.
I hope that each and every person who reads this will be able to find the peace that comes from acceptance of their self for what it is. If I am feeling this way after having made the smallest of progress, I cannot imagine the clarity and peace that comes from further practice. I think I am seeing the reality of this Zen proverb played out
To obtain a certain type of thing, one must become a certain type of person. Once one is that certain type of person, that certain type of thing no longer matters.
As I become the certain type of person who is comfortable with their weight and lifestyle, obtaining my goals becomes a secondary focus that happens naturally and organically as a result of my effort. It really is amazing to observe these changes in myself and experience these things first hand. Whether I make it to 250 this year or not doesn’t matter to my. I’m just really excited to see where I’ll be heading in 2011.