Leaning into the sharp points

I’m recycling some entries from my Facebook notes in a blatant attempt to get myself to write again. Copy and pasting isn’t quite writing, but at least I have to execute some stream of consciousness to even be able to tap out this pathetic message, this plea for mercy on your part, oh gentle reader!

It’s not too often these days I get some moments to myself with my thoughts, my records, a little greenery, and some space. Life is extraordinarily busy and things I want to do occasionally seem pushed aside by things I “have” to do or “ought” to do. “Need” to do is a tricky one because what determines your needs? Is it your ego or your deepest wisdom? Can you trust yourself? Whatever the case, having some time to return to writing, thinking, being quiet and processing the world around me, this is when I feel most connected. I sometimes think it’s wrong to feel that way, that cherishing and being territorial about my time and space is selfish or brutal.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy people and companionship too. Everything in its right time. And if you’re reading this, thanks for being part of my experiment. This blog is about nothing in particular but if you’ve been reading, you know that already too.

And without further ado, recycled blog post, #1!

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Wednesday April 15, 2009
I am reading Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart.” It is a book of Buddhist wisdom,written in a style that is both light and penetrating, but gently so. Although I’m not finished, I already am getting a few points that Chodron is sharing, like “lean into the sharp points.” Basically this means, when we encounter confusion, disappointment, anger, sadness, when we encounter something that would orginarily make us act out or run for the hills, go towards it, lean in. It is leaning into these difficult spaces and places that we learn about ourselves, who we are, how we act, how we think, and where we are in our spiritual and emotional development.

Here is a passage from the book that stood out to me and I’d like to share it here.

From p. 21

Sometimes we feel guilty, sometimes arrogant. Sometimes our thoughts and memories terrify us and make us feel totally miserable. Thoughts go through our minds all the time, and when we sit [in meditation], we are providing a lot of space for all of them to arise. Like clouds in a big sky or waves in a vast sea, all our thoughts are given the space to appear. If one hangs on and sweeps us away, whether we call it pleasant or unpleasant, the instruction is to label it all “thinking” with as much openness and kindness as we can muster and let it dissolve back into the big sky. When the clouds and waves immediately return, it’s no problem. We just acknowledge them again and again with unconditional friendliness, labeling them as just “thinking” and letting them go again and again and again.

I relate to this very much right now, as in the week past I had a lot of thoughts. All kinds of thoughts. Confusion, sadness, heartache, worry, fear. I also observed in others their reactions to their own worry/fear/confusion. The result was pulling back, rejecting, and closing up all around. I felt sad on top of sad for the closing of something that had just begun to open, but now with some distance and time, I have accepted this as the moment now. Sometimes it aches just a bit, but what can I do? What can any of us do? We might try to say “oh, it’s not that important” and “act strong,” showing that we have “better things to do” or be concerned with, when that thing we are trying to ignore, push away, or forget gets proportionately bigger in relation to how much we try to reject it.

So be consoled and let everything be sweet even when you feel sour or bitter. Just accept it and let it go as a thought that is ephemeral, just as our feelings are ephemeral, as our most cherished relationships are ephemeral, as our lives are ephemeral.

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~ by Lola on October 29, 2009.

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