I went to a new dentist a few months ago, and spent most of the time with the hygienist. She was very thorough in taking a history, and she found out I was experiencing some sensitivity to cold. She told me everybody has been experiencing this kind of sensitivity, and it’s associated with tooth-grinding due to stress. She said that all her patients, ever since the start of the pandemic, have been experiencing this.
What an interesting view on the population. Another way that we are all together in this big boat called Planet Earth.
When the dentist came in to look at the x-rays and heard her report, he asked me, “Have you ever tried mindfulness? You should really try mindfulness. It’s really good for stress!” I found this hilarious, but I just mumbled something like “Yeah, I’ve heard something about that…” The suggestion itself is kind of revealing though.
There’s this idea that if we get good enough at mindfulness, we’ll be forever immune from stress or burnout or discomfort, or whatever. Mindfulness is not a cure for the human condition.
Mindfulness is sometimes described as less a practice, more a way of being. A way to live and be with whatever arises. The practice allows us to have a bigger container for our experiences. A container of awareness. And awareness is boundless.
In this way, there’s room for whatever arises — even tooth sensitivity. There’s room for whatever the pandemic brings us. Yes, even that. I like to say that mindfulness is more important than feeling better, though we sure might feel better sometimes. We sure might be able to relax, or have some measurable health improvement. I am all for that. But we can also just meet our life as it is, and that’s as much a gift, or perhaps even more.
Thank you for your practice. Let’s keep taking taking care of each other.