The Buddha and the Cactus:
Working with Difficult Experience
Reacting with aversion to any unpleasant experience causes us greater suffering. Inviting ourselves to lean deeply into something painful, just seems counter-intuitive; especially in our culture, where we are taught that we should never have to feel pain.
Discomfort is part of life. If we adopt the attitude that all of life, every experience, is valuable and rich; we can be relieved of a great part of our suffering.
What a Drag!
Perhaps today you find that you are late for an appointment. Rushing about you begin to perspire and feel physically uncomfortable. In your mind your Critical Witness begins to berate you: “Why did you mess around at breakfast? Couldn’t you have looked at the clock? Did you really have to check your email, one more time? Now you are going to be late. People are going to be angry. What an idiot!”
When we are distressed, we tend to close down, and harden ourselves to deal with the unpleasant situation.
We criticize ourselves or someone else. We may react without thinking, by being hurtful to ourselves or someone we love.
Yet, we might choose to transform these automatic ways of responding into a more wholesome path. Because mindfulness practice offers us a choice.
Choose One Experience
You might want to choose one difficult experience from your recent past, or aspire to practice the following, next time you experience suffering.
Breathing in I feel the breath in my body
Breathing out I enjoy my breath.
Breathing out I gently enter the present moment.
Breathing out I refrain from judgment and criticism.
Breathing in I open to my own heart
Breathing out I send compassion and wisdom.
May this information benefit you, those you love, and all sentient beings, everywhere.
© Ellen M. Adelman PhD 2013, all rights reserved.
Mind Body Intelligence tm is a trademark of Ellen M. Adelman PhD and the Sage Healing Institute.
For more information visit www.sagehealinginstitute.com.