After meditating this past weekend, I think I am a little wiser. The first day was frustrating. My mind was racing. My breath was practically inaccessible as a guide. The intention to sit and breath while being mindful of your breath, not your thoughts is so simple, yet so challenging! What consumes the mind? My distractions included but surely were not limited to: memories (and various spin-offs), chores, work, thoughts about meditation, standard daydreams, and particularly close to “my heart and mind” the never-ending to-do list! I even thought about back shelf items in the refrigerator that needed dealing with! I would label the thoughts “thinking” and move back to my breath. I also had a song stuck in my head the entire weekend! It was a children’s song which I firmly believe are created for the sole purpose of embedding themselves in parent’s heads!
While there were a few insights, one that I’d like to share had to do with being hurt and figuring out what to do with “it.” For starters, this insight actually evolved to a reasonable plateau, meaning I reached a workable place with it. Like climbing canyons in the Badlands, there seems to always be another level to climb and I’m sure this is no different. However, for now, the view is fine here. Also, it is one of the insights I think I can work on daily and “share” with the girls.
An important aspect of the path of the warrior (Shambhala) is to be fearless which accordingly is the result of true compassion and tenderness. So you share your heart, you remain open, but then you get hurt. Then what? How do you continue to trust and embrace FEARLESSNESS when you’re hurt?
Fortunate for me, I got “hurt” during the meditation weekend! I shared something personal , a thought not yet quite complete and later someone replied to it in such a way that I interpreted as diminishing. What do I do? Here I was in this safe haven and now–hurt?! I didn’t engage in the habitual spin right away–why did she say that? did she misunderstand me? how could she have said that?!?! I tried not to engage in the spin-off narrative which I knew would only enlarge the hurt, the why, the million thoughts about it, etc. I continued to come back to my breath since I was at a weekend meditation after all and just breathed.
I sat with it. I tried not to think about it. I thought about it. I breathed. I came back to it. AH!! It was back, it was gone. I thought about it on different levels –intellectually, emotionally…to some degree just to get my mind around it. What was IT that hurt me? How did the hurt feel and where? The situation was “fortunate” in that I wasn’t easily lured to the typical blame pointing of the perpetrator. I kept coming back to the situation I was in and what I was currently feeling rather than speculating the why. I found myself more inquisitive than masochistic in my reflections of this pain. It was real but so unreal. Eventually I decided to stop actively thinking about it and TRY to get back to meditation. When a thought came up, like any other time, I would label it gently and come back to my breath, my body, my soft gaze.
I discovered something interesting. The more I practiced “the practice” so to speak, the less the pain was, the less it actually existed. It nearly faded before me. Just like any other “hurt” experience, this had a solid storyline, a misunderstanding, a victim, a perpetrator, etc. It had its own intensity and drama and as I sat with myself, it settled IN me that the story was what caused that pain. I felt this, not thought it. The words the misunderstandings, the exchange and the REACTION. The more I sat with it, the more I meditated, the less my pain existed. It almost became laughable, not because the situation was in any way trivial, but because the solution (or at least in part) is just so simple. Why would I continue to dialogue with the distractions, the pain, the fear when I can experience the world fully, right now?
What can derail a day, a week, or even years can also begin to dissolve with this practice. WHile requiring immense honesty and discipline, sitting and reducing the distractions, seeing them for what they really are can liberate us from the small irritations to the large dramas we live with daily.