dukkha Collins English Dictionary – (in Theravada Buddhism) the belief that all things are suffering, due to the desire to seek permanence or recognize the self when neither exist, origin Pali (a Prakrit language native to India) literally: suffering, illness
cucka Urban Dictionary – the equivalent of baby shit riddled with rice, carrots, the occasional jelly bean, pennies and other American currency. Often smeared on inanimate objects, exudes an eye watering, lip quivering stench
Based on these definitions, Irma and Harvey – the hurricanes, not the couple from Spokane, Washington celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary – heaped a pile of dukkha and cucka on everything and everyone in their path.
It astounds me, you know? That we can take years to build something up, we can care for a structure day after livelong day, and Mother Nature (plus a dollop of Global Warming) can come along and say, “Wham! Take that.”
And we do. We must. That’s the ultimate resilience, huh? Fox News on the situation in Florida right now: “Evacuees say they expect heavy traffic and a scarce supply of gasoline, but want to get back and begin cleaning up after the storm.”
The majority of us work our asses off – building, maintaining, rebuilding – because . . . well why? It’s what you should do? It sets a good example for the kiddies? It makes you feel good? Hmm. Well, really, what the hell else is there to do? Sit around popping bonbons? You’d just get fat and let’s face it. It’d get downright boring after a while.
But the dukkha, followed closely by the cucka, sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? Gary McClain and Eve Adamson in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living (yes, there is such a book and I’m the proud owner of a copy!) write, “Dukkha is the word for suffering, or more generally, that deep feeling of discomfort, dissatisfaction, restlessness, unfulfilled desire, and want that so often characterizes human existence.”
Discomfort. Dissatisfaction. Restlessness. Unfulfilled desire. Want. Experienced any of these? No? Self-medicate much?
And it doesn’t get easier as you get older. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” one of my Jazzercise students said the other day. She wasn’t talking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro people! I said these exact words about that climb, but she was merely referring to staying alive past 55 for godsakes!
I work out, a lot, to stave off the rot of old age, but the body protests regardless. My motto? Another day, another Aleve. If I jolt awake at night now? I have six decades to review. Regrets? I’ve had a few, but then again . . . too few to mention? Hint: my name ain’t Frank. But sometimes it’s not even regret. It’s a funny tight-chested dreadful feeling that grips me. It’s similar to the feeling I had when I was in the final throes of labour with each of my three kids, delivered sans epidural. The sympathetic nurses, doctor, husband? As caring as could be, but still. “I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.” They were outside of me, not dealing with what I was dealing with inside of me. All alone. When I face the final curtain? Same.
So what is there to do about it? The dukkha? The cucka? Meditation helps. It’s like sitting around popping bonbons, but without the bonbons and the subsequent weight gain. It could feel downright boring to some, but that’s the point. See? It’s okay to sit still for five, 10, 15 minutes – longer if you can stand it – and acknowledge the miracle of existence. Introduce yourself to yourself and then don’t do a damn thing about it. Hey Rita! Meet Rita. Now hang out together for a while. Don’t even talk. Just breathe. Like each other? No? Okay, well keep trying. Come on. Give her a chance. There must be something good, interesting, worthwhile about her.
The best thing about meditation? Rita doesn’t have to be good, interesting or even worthwhile. She just has to be, which is something she’s pretty good at, since she’s been doing it for so long. Those zillion regrets? Fugget about it.
The point to all of this? Life – and the occasional hurricane – will throw dukkha and cucka all over you, your loved ones, and all of your stuff from time to time. If you keep sticking around? You’re going to have hold your nose, clean up the mess, slap a smile on that face and carry on.