Digging Deeper

Posted on Apr 12, 2011 | 0 comments

I had a conversation with someone very dear to me this week that got me thinking about what it is that really motivates our behavior.  I have been at this for so long now that I often forget what it was like when I first started this journey.  So our conversation reminded me of where I started and just how difficult it was back then to grasp what my my real motivations are. Often when we act (react) without thought, we are actually acting from some place that is much deeper and is usually hidden from even ourselves.  For instance anger is almost always a mask for pain or fear.  We react with anger, but the real issue is our pain or our fear.  Anxiety can be a mask for fear – fear of the unknown.  Embarrassment can be a mask for lack of self esteem.  You get the idea.  Your combination may be different, but rest assured that there is always something deeper. Our emotions are layers that build on top of each other to create the landscape that we live with everyday.  When we embark on the journey of self discovery we are archeologist whose job it is to unearth the layers and interpret the meanings and causes.  As usual this is not for the faint of heart, this is very difficult work.  And even when you think the work is done and you have finally unearthed the last layer, at some point you will find out that there is more to discover.  And life itself will continue to add layers so that we must continually clear away debris to unearth the Truth.  This means that this work, this self discovery is never ending. Meditation gives us the tools we need to facilitate this difficult work.  When we learn to be aware of when our thoughts start to drift away we are also learning to be aware of when we are acting (reacting) to some deep emotion.  With practice, we can identify when an emotion is surfacing and take a pause to recognize that it may have a deeper cause.  This pause gives us the space to ask ourselves what the real issue is and the power to choose how we want to act (react) to situations.  I have said it many times, and I will continue to say it over and over.  We do not sit on our cushions for those minutes alone, we sit for the difficult minutes in our lives that are yet to come.  We sit because it prepares us, it builds our self knowledge, it enables us to take back control. So start to take that breath when you feel difficult emotions and in the pause ask yourself “what is this really about?”.  In time, and with practice, you will find yourself automatically going through this process and you will also find yourself using it in interactions with others.  It can be a profound experience to recognize fear in someone who is angry with you.  It will change the way you respond and can dramatically change the outcome. So keep up the good work.  It is hard, but I promise you – it is worth it....

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Sometimes Reality Bites

Posted on Mar 1, 2011 | 0 comments

Sometimes Reality Bites

It is true – we can not escape the fact that sometimes reality just bites.  No matter how much we sit in meditation and work on our attitude and work our poses something will come along that just sucks.  It may be an old wound that will never quite heal or something totally new like a job loss or having to lay someone off, but it is bound to happen at one point or another.  So then what? First and foremost we must see the issue for what it really is.  This is where the meditation and poses and journaling come in handy.  By using these tools to go inside of ourselves on an ongoing basis we can identity the real issue.  For instance when anger pops up it is usually coming from a place of pain and if you have done the work before hand you can recognize the disease (pain) instead of treating the symptom (anger). The next step is to honor the feeling.  Too often we want to push our negative emotions into the closet and pretend that they don’t exist.  But they do.  Nothing in this world is without a balance.  Good does not exist without bad, dark without light.  The same is true of emotions.  There are the emotions that make us feel warm and fuzzy and then… there are the emotions that make us want to scream.  All of these emotions are real.  All of these emotions are valid.  And as such they deserve our attention.  When we try to push our “bad” emotions away we give them more energy and they grow.  This is how we begin to obsess over the stressful events and emotions in our lives, so once we understand the underlying emotion we must be strong and feel the feelings. Now if we have been practicing meditation we should find our cushion and sit.  Just sit and let the feelings move through us, we don’t wallow in it, we just feel what we feel and let it pass.  If we use journaling then we take our pin in hand and start to let the feelings flow through our words.  If we use our yoga postures we take to our mat and let our body lead the way.  No matter what the method, if tears come – let them come, if screams come – let them come.  This is how we honor the feeling – by just letting it be what it will be, not trying to stifle it or reshape it into some form that we are more comfortable with. Sometimes the wound is old and or just too deep and is not likely to heal in the near future.  In this case, we must understand that the pain is a part of us and may stay with us for the remainder of our lives.  Honor this fact.  Again don’t wallow, but just see it for what it really is without smoke and mirrors and accept the facts. I am certainly not saying that this is easy.  It isn’t.  I’m not saying that this is a one shot wonder.  It isn’t.  You may need to repeat all of these steps over and over again.  This is hard – very hard.  This is what it takes to face reality – the dark side of reality.  This is not for the faint of heart, but the alternative is to pretend that reality is something that it is not.  It takes a really strong person to do this work and that is why we must do the work on our cushion, in...

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