Even as I wrote the previous entry on new beginnings, I knew it wasn’t complete.
All of us have some things we would like to change about ourselves. and we know that familiar situation – where we find ourselves repeating something, the same way over and over. wanting to change it, but not being able to. and feeling stuck. what do we do then ? how do we let go of habits and patterns in our behavior that we know is not good for us ?
Yesterday, the answer came to me, after my meditation. Its not my answer exactly. its taking all that I have learnt from books and teachers and my practice and distilling into something that I can understand and can work with. here it is.
so when I find myself stressed, uneasy, disquieted, not exactly happy with the way things are: I ask myself ‘what do I want ?’. Its true that most of our suffering comes from our wanting something. being able to ask what we want, without turning away at the answer is important. It could be something like I want reassurance. or I want understanding. and sometimes when you go deeper, its something more like, I want this person to be someone else. (thats a common one..) or this situation to be something other than what it is.
You notice the answer that comes up when you ask what you want. and you accept. Accepting is something akin to okay, here is where I am right now. this is what I feel right now. the truth as it is. This is the first step: acceptance.
Acceptance leads us to connection. are we the only person feeling this ? at that moment, it dawns that – we are not the first person to experience this. Here is a personal example: after a meeting earlier with my superior, I felt somehow frustrated. and I asked myself what I wanted. The answer came: I wanted reassurance that I was doing a good job. I accepted that. it was a relief actually. and when I connected – I realized how many of us yearn for some kind of sign or reassurance that we are doing things well. that we are good people doing the best we can.
at that point, compassion arose naturally. that is the third step: compassion. being witness to your pain and the pain of others. the heart expands naturally. you know you are not alone. and that you are suffering. and that you are there for yourself.
I could get this far in the present moment, but the final step is crucial to peace. it is ‘impermanance’ or non-identification in other words. In other words, this feeling you feel right now is just a feeling that will pass. like millions of other feelings. it is fleeting. and you are a witness. nothing lasts forever. and knowing this allows you to release. be with what is.
I am really excited about being present in my difficult moments and trying this out: to practice acceptance, connection, compassion and impermanence. I know I’ll forget to do it in the really difficult ones – I will be too caught up in myself to do it. I will forgive. and practice some more. and I invite you to try it out in your life!
with abiding love, S.