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    Dharma Glimpse by Jenn Ashworth

    I am only really just getting to grips with what a glimpse is. A question surfaces for me, which is ‘so what?’

    If I glimpse some greater truth or wisdom or I learn something, does it matter if I am not altered by it in some way?

    What hides underneath this question is an experience I had last night. I had a stomach upset on Monday and Tuesday and had to take a little bit of time off work. I struggle with this and I have a lot of very self-critical and harsh thoughts about myself when I’m sick. To avoid feeling self-criticised, when I am unwell I very often say to myself, ‘right, mind over matter, you’re not being sick any more so get up and get going!’

    I have had glimpses about this before – about how this way I am so unkind to myself is a way to protect myself – I have parts that are scared that if I am not working really hard people will say I am useless, worthless, rubbish. I also know that I have never, not once, been able to force myself to get better from willpower. And I have never, not once, stopped trying to manage it. And failing to be able to make myself better by the sheer power of my own desire is a sure route to feeling even more rubbish.

    Anyway, I am over the stomach upset but I went back to work and did too much too early. And last night I was feeling totally worn out and unwell. And my inner critics were saying ‘you are so lazy, I bet you were just pretending to be ill anyway’ and another part of me said ‘no, I really was ill, but I worked really hard, here’s a big list of all the things I did’ and another part said, ‘mmm. Maybe it is true that I wasn’t really sick at all. Maybe I was pretending. That would be a terrible thing to do! perhaps I’m a terrible person!’ and another part of me said, ‘here we go again. You always do this when you’re ill. And you’re doing it again!’ and in the midst of all this noise and chatter I started wondering about glimpsing.

    I think I’d hoped the last time I’d had this glimpse of wisdom about myself, about what I did when I was sick and why I did it, then I’d stop doing it. And last night I learned that despite the glimpsing, it hadn’t really changed.

    I guess what did change was the tone of voice. When I said to myself ‘here we go again, here’s this thing you do when you’re ill’ the voice sounded a bit kinder, and bit more amused than it usually does. And I gave myself five minutes to do my usual crazy thing, knowing there were some good reasons for me doing it, then I went to sleep. So perhaps I can put this down as a half-glimpse?

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