Shuba’s Weblog

Journeys of the soul…

being with the unpleasant…

on June 16, 2009

This has been an interesting week already, considering it is just tuesday. last evening, sitting in meditation with my sangha here, my teacher Doreen invited us to notice the unpleasant. not wallow or get caught, but simply bring light attention to whatever was unpleasant at that moment, whether it be a feeling, a thought, a sensation – whatever arose.

At the discussion afterward, more than one of us noticed the same thing – that the unpleasant did not stay unpleasant in the same place. for example, if a knee was feeling unpleasant, and we focused on the sensation, it shifted. it was not static. it changed, transformed all the time. and the other thing was that, it wasn’t an unpleasant body sensation, or thought that led to suffering. it was our reaction to it, the stories we made up. an unpleasant sensation was simply what it was. when our mind made it into something else that is when it became suffering.

This entire period of time Abhi has been away (more than 2 weeks now), I have had periods of intense grief and loneliness. and every time the feeling arose, I suffered even more, because my mind told me that I was a failure for not being strong, for not cultivating more support for myself, for being too emotional and so on. all of these thoughts resist what is. the grief itself is not a problem. it is what it is. it is unpleasant, and so what? it is our reaction to it, to the unpleasant that makes it suffering.

today watching the leaves as I ate my sandwich I realized – this grief did not, does not last forever. it changes. I have also had moments of amazing ease, appreciation and spaciousness in this same time period. and they have sometimes been, but not always, in the company of other people. rather they arose from a deeper place, a connecting with the love in my heart.

the unpleasant and the pleasant arise and fall away. can we be with both without turning away ? that is the journey of meditation, of mindfulness and being present for life as it is.

being with things as they are is difficult. it blows me away, how much courage and faith it needs. every time I think I am losing faith, love comes along and reminds me. of why I want to do this. love allows us to relax, it makes our hearts stronger and more even. it allows us to forgive and be kind. to connect and be compassionate. that is why for so many of us, love resonates with our journey. love helps us be with things as they are. love, and the awareness, to see things as they really are. and most importantly to know that they keep changing. nothing is permanent. thank God for that!

with love, S.


2 responses to “being with the unpleasant…

  1. Vivek Seth says:

    I visited your blog and confess, reading your thoughts were pure joy. You have wonderful mind and expressions with deep insights, i also feel that unpleasant should not be the deterrant and we should evolve ourselves to balance the two extremes, yet i think sufferings only make us wonderful human beings and mortals realizing and reminding of our limitations and i think this moves us to move to greater accomplishments of every kind and no sooner one realises and understands the sufferings he liberates himself completely and transcends into a self above grief and happiness.

    It is not necessarily sad that we suffer, that we experience pain or disease. The real sadness is that we have lost consciousness of our true nature in which there is peace even in the midst of pain, misfortune and inquiry. This loss of true awareness is the real cause of emotional suffering, which in turn makes physical suffering hard to endure. Nor is it necessarily good that we experience happiness, health and longevity. These may only afford us a greater bondage to the outer world if we don’t use them for some higher purpose in our lives.

    Our personal identities are little more than masks. Our joys and sorrows are not different from those of dreams, they come and go, they are transient and unreal. We must see our insignificance and no longer be taken in by appearances. It is the separate self, caught in its self projected drama of gain and loss, from which we need release. Groups, like individuals, come and go in the nature of creation like waves on the sea.

    Suffering is an energy to awaken us to truth, to get us to question who we really are and why we really are. The sad thing is that the sufferings which are inevitable in life do not awaken us to the falseness of our personal seeking. But we rush and join the toil to amass the maximum without understanding that matter is inherently suffering because it is limited. To experience suffering is to face the inherent limitation of material existence. We should not try to flee suffering but to understand it, discover the truths of life that it reflects.

    Only when we allow our suffering to liberate us can we become liberated from suffering. Suffering is the breaking of the boundaries of the known and the familiar. If we are open to the truth of it, suffering cleanses and transforms us.

    Oh in all this i forgot to introduce myself, i am a new friend to your family, my name is Vivek and i am father of Kulin who is in Boston pursuing his higher studies, through Preethi your sister i came in contact of your father and Mother and feel priviledged knowing them as they are very wonderful couple.

    I would be keen visitor to your blog and shall post my views as well, i hope you won’t mind, and will allow me to.


    Vivek seth

    • shub50 says:

      Dear Vivekji,
      It is truly a pleasure being introduced to you this way. your words resonate deeply with my journey. I love how you say: ‘it is not necessarily sad that we suffer..nor is it necessarily good that we experience happiness..’ if we can go deeper – if we are willing to face everything and understand – it is amazing how life starts opening.

      I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts. and offer a deep welcome to our family.
      my best,

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