I've completed two big pieces of work and I gave my talk yesterday. Oddly enough, my anxiety levels have fallen! I still have a 2.5 hour talk to give in a week and a half, but that's a talk I do every year and just needs tweaking, so it isn't a worry.
I found it very hard to settle in prayer on days 17 and 18. I was preoccupied with work and didn't want to reawaken the anger etc that I wrote about in my last post.
This morning, I prayed in Starbucks, over a soy cappuccino. After praying, I looked out of the window. The voice in my head said, "I am in the earth".
This unleashed a whole load of thoughts and memories: the time that voice told me to "love things for what they are instead of resenting them for what they're not"; the sense of peace I get from watching the world go by in its ultimately meaningless busyness; a story in which the Buddha agrees to bring a woman's son back to life if she can bring him a mustard seed from a house that has never known death. She can't, of course, but she learns acceptance through the experience.
I don't believe I will find fulfilment by looking to something beyond this world. I believe I will find it by living fully in this world, by appreciating and accepting it for what it is. I don't want to denigrate it by thinking of it as some pale, corrupted imitation of the "real" world to come. Our universe is awesome. If all we are is stardust, that is more than majestic enough for me.