Saturday, September 11, 2010

Who Are You Really?

We simply have no tolerance for uncomfortable situations. We cannot wait to get away from anyone and anything that makes us feel uneasy. Some of us become expert at avoiding those situations. This tendency to stay away from what we don't understand slows our growth as human beings. We cannot run from life and yet hope to be fully participating in its richness. The better path is the one that leads us to higher levels of comfort in the larger arena.

Artful Meditation is a vehicle for learning how to become comfortable in difficult situations and how to engage with people who make us uneasy. Mindfulness-awareness practice is the foundation of Living Meditation training. It provides the tools for cultivating loving-kindness and compassion, the qualities we need to be comfortable with life.

Artful Meditation practice moves us closer to our thoughts and emotions and brings us back to awareness of our bodies. This full immersion in the waters of life washes away the veil of indifference that separates us from the lives, indeed the suffering, of others. It is our vehicle for learning to be a truly loving person.

What we discover is that it was our fear of what we didn't know that made us uncomfortable and the greatest unknown in our lives was--ourselves. Artful Mediation helps us to become comfortable with who we are and then we can face the world with confidence.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Escaping the Trap

The mouse that gets caught in the trap because it can't resist trying to eat the cheese is a familiar analogy for the pain caused by holding onto old ideas that no longer work or false ideals that never worked.

No matter how we get ourselves trapped, our usual reaction is to blindly reach for something familiar that we associate with reward even though it invariably leads to dissatisfaction and disappointment.

The most common way of medicating the pain and ignoring the part we play in setting our own traps is through the subtle and seductive games of the conditioned mind. Our everyday mind avoids uneasiness by seeking special states. Drugs are often used for the purpose but we are proficient at using many things to avoid facing our true condition. Sports, spiritual practices, community service, the list is endless. These special states of mind brought about by participation in ego-flattering activities are addictive because they make us feel good, though only for a short time.

When we don't run away from the mundane activities of life and instead pay attention to how we feel and how we behave, we encounter the extraordinary in the everyday. Our innate wisdom is a natural force that emerges when we stop fighting it.

The radical approach, as incredible as it may sound, is to pay attention to our behavior and to our emotions. Without judgement, we recognize exactly what is happening in our daily lives. Eventually, we decide to stop getting in the way of our happiness.