When we sit with awareness of our body sitting and breathing, we tap into a basic human sanity that is freely available to all of us.
The ongoing events in Gaza are hard to take in. I am sorry to bring this up, but I can’t shake these feelings. If I could draw a picture of my inner being, it would look like the young woman’s face in Mikuláš Galanda’s work above.
Yes, mindfulness reveals a certain truth power to just sitting with your emotions, thoughts and feelings as they are, without interfering or trying to change or fix anything.
Yes, allowing what is there to arise in this way brings peace, even though it may not feel particularly peaceful.
And yes, I can re-direct myself to settle more easily into the feeling-space those times when I feel my heart turning to stone, out of numbness.
It’s still hard to practice with confused and difficult feelings.
How do we do this?
For a start, we practice letting thinking be. I can’t stop myself from feeling upset. I have fearful, sometimes angry thoughts, and I can’t do anything to stop them.
But when we sit with awareness of our body sitting and breathing, we tap into a basic human sanity that is freely available to all of us.
We create an inner space for all the thoughts and emotions, anger, fear, all of it, to arise- and simply notice the conditioning to interfere, to meddle, to push away, to zone out or to cling.
As Pema Chrodon observes,
When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid.
Little by little, we learn what it is like to allow everything we think and feel to arise within us without being caught by them or identifying with them.
This is not another way to deny or escape our feelings, on the contarary.
When we do this, as the Zen teacher Norman Fischer often says,
… we forgive ourselves for being human. And when we do that, he says, we forgive everyone else for being human, too.
If we sit long enough, we get in touch with profound human pain and the compassion to meet that pain. Wth practice, over the years, this compassion becomes the center of our lives, little by little.
We breathe, and open our hearts no matter how difficult it feels, bringing some peace to our minds and compassion deeper into our hearts.
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