Getting the knack of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. ~ Pema Chödrön
Does this sound kind of crazy? Catching ourselves and sticking with what is coming up even if it is uncomfortable and scary? Sticking with the uncertainty and not panicking? And, eventually getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos? What kind of practice is this?
I don’t know about you, but my first instinct was to avoid and distract myself and run away from this discomfort in some way through shopping, eating, complaining, creative problem solving etc.
After beginning my meditation practice, a number of years ago, I began to do as Pema Chödrön advises. I found a way to “catch myself” and “stick with it” and to observe what was being experienced in the moment from a particular vantage point. I began to uncover and awaken to an underlying sense of calm and stillness in the midst of life’s challenges and to face them head on. It took a commitment to this discipline but it certainly has been worth it.
A funny thing — the more life challenged, and the more I faced this head on, the stronger the discipline in the practice of catching myself. It became a positive circle of practice that strengthened with whatever challenge came my way.
In these messages and guided meditations, I have been presenting to you a way to abide in this underlying calm and stillness. Today, I would like to take it a step further and share how to “catch it and stick with it” whatever is arising in our lives.
Knowing how is good. But, it still takes our applying it in the moment for transformation to occur and for strengthening our practice.
So, I invite you to take a particular situation in your life that is challenging you right now. And, bring this experience up into your awareness now. [pause]
Now, close your eyes and be with this situation. Bring this situation up into your mind’s eye … where are you? …. what is happening? … who is with you? Allow this experience to come up into your awareness now … [pause]
What are you experiencing? What are the emotions coming up? … [pause]
What are the thoughts coming up around this situation? … [pause]
Now, locate the place in your body that is tight or tense as you are experiencing this situation? Where are you experiencing this all in your body, this sadness … anger … frustration … loss? There is a particular place in your body and central nervous system that this experience is lodged … Locate it now. [pause]
Observe your entire experience without judgement … with complete acceptance … letting it all be there just as it is …
It’s almost like you are watching someone else having this experience.
Asking now, “Isn’t there an Awareness that is aware of this entire experience?” … [pause]
Now, be the Seeing … be this Awareness that appears to be stepping back and is aware of this whole experience happening. Being the Seeing now … and letting it all be there just as it is … [pause]
As you are abiding in this perspective of simple Awareness … Being the Seeing … an acceptance comes quite naturally and simply allows everything to be as it is.
In this space of pure Love and Acceptance the dynamics of the entire experience begins to melt away, like an ice cube in warm water. Observe this “melting” happening … [pause]
Just stay right here allowing this embrace of Love and Acceptance to neutralize and release and transform this entire experience … [pause]
If resistance begins to arise, come back to the question:
“Isn’t there an Awareness that is aware of all of this?” … letting it all be there just as it is …
Being the Seeing of it all … [pause]
Relax into this Peace and Calm ... present … here … and now. [pause here for as long as you wish]
This guided meditation is recorded for you here ... download on your desktop to listen:
Blessings dear One,
P.S. This fits for this message too …
“What's the difference between an “ordeal" and an “adventure?”
Shifting our attitude in life’s experiences sure does remove the ordeal of it all. Doesn’t it? It can actually begin to become an adventure after awhile. :0)