Are we intimate with the whole physical movement of fear? Or do we just label it “fear”, say, “I don’t want to feel this way,” and then try everything possible to get away from it, not to experience it? When fear and anxiety actually come into awareness, there is a precious opportunity to experience the whole thing, to go through it completely from beginning to end without any need for escape.
At the first sign of scary, disagreeable physical thoughts and feelings, why not stop and attend? It’s not impossible! “What is going on right now?” Awareness happens for everyone when there is the interest and readiness to be in touch directly, immediately, without description or explanation or diagnosis. When there is intimate touch with what is happening right here, this moment, without any separation…
Separation is this thinking: “I can’t bear it. It’s too much for me. Too dangerous.” Once this physical-mental resistance is directly discovered, it does not continue. Awareness takes its place. It’s like an exchange of energy…
The significant thing is not what it is that is touched and discovered but that there is no separation in being. Then whatever is touched changes. Whatever is there is not the same anymore when it is unconditionally allowed to be there in the fullness of awareness…
Toni Parker, The Light of Discovery
We try to maintain a relaxed observing, and not identify with our thoughts. The heart of mindfulness practice:
To think ‘I am screwed up’, is a value judgement, isn’t it? ‘Screwed up’ makes the ‘I am’. It is identifying with a certain kind of condition, a feeling about oneself personally. If we leave off the ‘screwed up’ bit, we get more to the reality of the moment ― ‘Right now I am . . .’ and there is this sense of being here and now. This is a recognition of conscious experience as an entity. There is an entity but it is not personal any more; it is not ‘I am Ajahn Sumedho’ or ‘I am’ anything at all; it is just this sense of ‘I am’, of presence. Being a conscious entity is ― ‘like this’. Reflect on that and sustain it for a while, that sense of ‘I am’, without adding any personal conditions to it.
In this sense of ‘I am’, the body is ‘like this’. There is consciousness, there is the breath (one can be aware of just the breathing of the body, in-breathing and out-breathing.), there is the ‘sound of silence’, the background. And in this intuitive moment, one observes without adding any kind of personal quality.
Ajahn Sumedho, Try to have a Permanent Emotion.
Can we stop judging our whole life just because of a disturbing feeling in the body?
All of our reactions to people, to situations, to thoughts in our mind
– are actually reactions to the kind of sensations that are arising in our body.
As yesterday’s post reminded us, things are always changing in life, just as nature has its seasons:
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep in your heart the miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Kahil Gibran The Prophet
Its not so much what happens in a day that causes suffering, but our response to it:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms —
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.
Viktor Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
The creator of the universe loves circles: time and space are circles, the day is a circle, the year is a circle, the earth is a circle.
But when creating and fashioning the human heart, the creator only created a half-circle, so that there is something ontologically unfinished in human nature.
The beautiful irony is that even though we’re housed in separate bodies there is a profound hidden tissue of absolute connection between us. The Celtic tradition sensed that no one lives for herself alone. Your call to discover who you are and to bring your soul into birth is also a great act of creativity toward everyone else.
John O’Donohue, The Presence of Compassion