It’s pretty easy to be fully in the moment and brimming with mindfulness while sitting on a hilltop, watching a sunset, but what about in the dentist’s office having a tooth filled?
I had a dentist’s appointment today–the second of two to have a couple of fillings put in. You know what it’s like (unless you are one of the lucky few with perfect teeth). There you are, stretched out on your back, with two sets of hands and a half dozen tools poking out of your mouth. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience.
But can I be mindful and present in the midst of the unpleasant as well as the pleasant? As bizarre and yucky as it sounds, that’s what I tried to do during my visit today.
Sure, it’s normal to want to “check out” when we are confronting emotional or physical pain–but there is something to be said about remaining in the present, even while suffering.
Now granted, I might have had a very different experience if I had been facing intense pain and suffering today, but in truth: I had the benefit of an anesthetic to block the pain. All I really had to deal with was the sound and smell of the drill, the feeling of the suction in my mouth, the spray of water….
OK, I won’t go on, but you have the idea.
And it wasn’t easy. I would be there, right in the experience, and then I would drift away and start thinking about what I had to do at work later in the day, or what was the next thing I needed to do to get the house ready to sell, or what I would write on this blog about this experience.
And so on.
It may not be pleasant, but there is something to be gained in drilling on this lesson (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) in all life’s circumstances, even the ones that bring us discomfort or suffering.