MARIAN LANSKY

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Month: September 2017

A neat little meditation experience

I had been about 12 minutes into my morning meditation today, when my husband texted me to tell me that the land-line business phones were out at our studio. So I had a moment or two of “argg” and then went online here at the house to see if I could locate an outage. Didn’t see anything dramatic, so I texted him back, asking him to find our account number so I could report it from here.

He’s trying to work today and in our division of labor I handle this kind of stuff, gladly.

He didn’t text back. So I waited a bit, wanting to get back to meditating but knowing that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate until I had some degree of resolution on this issue. I texted him yet again, to which he replied… “Use email.”

He’d been on his every-Sunday-morning call with his sister and because he has a flip phone (he resists smart phones) it was disconnecting every time I texted, resulting in them trying to call each other back at the same time, and so on. I could tell he was in the frazzled/pissed off state that technology often triggers in him.

Long story short, I was able to locate an online outage chat window for our provider and they confirmed the issue and said they were working on it. Yay! Back to meditating!

I reset my timer for the full time, and sat down. Ahhh. As soon as I began to relax into following the breath, the thought that arose was one of righteous indignation. It went like this:

“You texted me to tell me that the phones were out, so don’t be pissed at me for texting you back!”

I smiled and noted, “righteous indignation” rather than following that storyline through. A few more breaths and it arose again. Hmmm. And then I remembered something I’d heard in a talk by Joseph Goldstein on mindfulness, regarding his relationship with fear.

He’d found that the mind state most difficult for him to work with had been a kind of pervasive fear that seemed to be extremely primal for him, like he was born with it. I can certainly relate to that, (but that’s the subject for another post).

He observed it and noticed it in meditation for years and yet it kept arising. Then one day he was doing walking meditation and he was deeply observing the arising of fear and also, for the first time, noticed something else. He noticed that he had an aversion to fear. His attitude toward the fear was this: “I want it to go away.”

As soon as he saw that, it all dissipated.

So, remembering this, I welcomed in the righteous indignation from my spacious seat as an observer, and the same thing happened. It dissipated.

Once I stopped judging this mind state as something to get rid of, it left of its own accord. How cool is that? Thank you Joseph Goldstein!

Deepening the Yes

This morning I was browsing through Instagram. Usually this is a more benevolent experience than Facebook, and I’m new to Instagram, so I have very little showing up there other than happy things.

I searched for a friend, who, it turned out, had no photos in her account yet. However, I noticed that she was following a fair number of people, and I made the mistake of clicking on one of those names because it looked familiar to me.

I was immediately faced with a meme to which I had a huge negative reaction. Shit, lesson learned!

Then I sat down to meditate. Haha. Here we go, I thought. Let’s see how I do in meditation with this thing buzzing around in my head.

What followed were a series of three realizations about dealing with pesky, negative thoughts.

Although I know, rationally, that, as A Course in Miracles says, “thoughts cannot attack” and that nothing can assert itself into my experience, I also know that I have a mind that occasionally gets caught in an obsessive loop. This has always been extremely annoying to me, because I’ve felt that I have no power over the aversive reaction I’m having to that looping.

My first realization was that there is no need to get to the root of a sudden aversive reaction that’s lingering in your energy field. It’s a lot like when a bee gets into the house and you can’t seem to catch it to lead it out. It doesn’t matter where the bee came from! It’s in the house. Just open some windows and ignore it. It will likely find its way out.

In this case, sitting down to meditate created the open windows.

The next realization, when that didn’t work, was that sometimes you have to be firm and persistant with the mind. There are thoughts which the mind violently resists and therefore it won’t leave them alone. The human mind is basically an animal mind, and just as in training a dog that won’t leave something alone, you can feel confident doing whatever is necessary to snap it out of its behavior.

So I tried tugging my mind lovingly and firmly back to the breath over and over. This worked for a little while, but it felt constricting and inefficient, somehow.

And the final realization was that I could try to completely stop resisting. My old friend paradox wins again! I said to myself, “I resist nothing. I welcome everything,” and sat with that for a few breaths.

Going back to the idea of the bee in the house, this felt extremely expansive. The bee was buzzing in the house (my reaction to the negative meme was buzzing in my mind) and when I stopped resisting, it was as though the walls of the house dropped away. Ahhh, silence.

No walls, no problem.

I was reminded of something Eckhart Tolle said about the “deep yes”, and walking the tightrope of now.

“It can happen that the yes uttered once can be so deep that the no never returns. One deep yes to life. The end of all no.”

I didn’t experience that deep yes, but I did experience the power of resisting nothing. So, thank you Instagram.

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