This morning I had a routine dental appointment. While living in the ashram, I never went to the dentist. When I finally visited the dentist post-ashram, things were not looking good inside my mouth. Now I try to take good care of my teeth and visit the dentist twice a year for a cleaning.
My appointment went well. On the way to the dentist I was remembering how my husband’s godbrother said he would never go to the dentist because he didn’t want some “karmi meat eater” sticking his hands in his mouth. Point taken. During my appointment, I continued to think about this. My hygienist and I got along well. Like the eye doctor I met with previously in the week, she told me I was “hysterical” and empathized with my discomfort with the x-rays since she, too, has a small mouth (we were talking size-wise, not volume-wise). This just may have been my funniest week ever. And, wouldn’t you know it….she was raised a vegetarian, visited the temple a few times as a kid with her folks and was wearing gloves, so it wasn’t like her hands were really *in* my mouth anyway.
My main concern is gum recession and sensitivity–areas which I exceed at. Thankfully the dentist reassured me that my teeth were in no danger of falling out but he was concerned about my gum recession. After quizzing me about whether or not I am a hard brusher (not) he attributed my recession to the fact that I grind my teeth.
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do. They are flat from you grinding them.”
The dentist wanted to give me some kind of guard to wear at nite, which I kindly refused knowing very well it would never make it into my mouth. When I got home my husband called and I told him about the appointment. This is when he told me that he has not only heard but also seen me grinding my teeth at nite.
“it’s like you’re eating something,” he told me.
Thankfully, I am well mannered enough to chew with my mouth closed, even while sleeping.
But really, could I be a bigger pig? I eat in my sleep!
There have been times when I have sleep chanted–mumbling the maha-mantra in the middle of the night. That’s cool. That makes me look like I have it together spiritually. But that, sadly, is history. Now I am just macerating air.
Okay, so here is my Kartik vrata–I need to reduce my teeth grinding and increase my nama mumbling. Since these are activities I do in my sleep, it will all take place on a very subtle level. But definitely my activities during my waking hours will bare influence on my activities during my sleeping hours (why do I have to be active even when I am sleeping?).
So either I will have to increase the quality of my chanting or decrease the quantity of my eating during Kartik.
I ‘ve yet to decided which will be more difficult. Really, it’s a toss up.