Noticing what we resist

It is in running away from our “monsters” that we make them seem so solid. Whatever we resist exerts a strong hold on us: in solidifying it, we empower it to stay in our mind and our life. But when we cultivate the willingness to be with life just as it is, our relationship to what we’ve avoided starts to change. Once we see through the solidity of our resistance, our lives become more fluid and workable. We’re able to move beyond where we were once stuck. Even if we don’t like our life as it is, we don’t need to wage war against it. We can start meeting our resistance squarely by noticing all of the ways in which we avoid the present moment, the ways in which we avoid practice, the ways in which we resist what is. Understanding the depth of our resistance is of major importance in furthering our practice.

Ezra Bayda, Breaking Through

Do we really go anywhere?

(Practice) ……. is not to be found in moving forwards, nor in moving backwards, nor in standing still. This, Sumedho, is your place of nonabiding.

Ajahn Chah,  Letter to Ajahn Sumedho

As long as we conceive reality in terms of self and time, as a “me” who is someplace and can go some other place, then we are not realizing that going forwards, going backwards, and standing still are all entirely dependent upon the relative truths of self, locality, and time. In terms of physical reality, there is a coming and going. But think about it. Where can we truly go? Do we ever really go anywhere? Wherever we go we are always “here.”

Ajahn Amaro

Attending to our emotions

How do we get to feel good, or at least OK, with others — and when we’re alone? A big part of the solution comes from attending to the flow of emotions. But you can’t do that unless you’re prepared to feel them in a focused and non-reactive way. That is why we meditate; that’s what mindfulness is about. When we bring mindfulness to bear on how we’re affected, what arises is a means to handle the emotions — in a non-separative, non-judgemental way.

Ajahn Sucitto, Cultivating Empathy

Discovering what needs to be let go of.

No matter how fortunate your circumstances are, life can at times be stressful and challenging. We often try to ignore this fact and therefore feel frustrated and disappointed when we don’t get our own way. Just as we did when approaching compassion, it can be useful to think back to the blue sky analogy when you reflect on acceptance.

The journey to acceptance is about discovering what we need to let go of, rather than what we need to start doing. By noticing moments of resistance throughout the day, you can start to become more aware of what prevents acceptance from naturally arising. This in turn will allow you to view the thoughts and feelings that arise during your meditation with a much greater sense of ease.

Andy Puddicombe, Ten Tips for Living more Mindfully

Where we learn

Whatever is arising in this moment becomes the curriculum for liberating ourselves from the shackles of greed, hatred and delusion. We do not need some ideal or romantic fairy tale of what would be best for us. What we need most is what is already given to us: the actuality of things as they are in the only moment we will ever have –  this one.

Jon Kabat Zinn, Mindfulness for Beginners.