Days 6, 7, 8 - The Pleasant and The Unpleasant
~So I obviously missed a couple of days. After the difficult experience I had on Day 5 - I got scared. I was scared that if I sat down again, I would feel the same way. No matter how much I don’t want to believe this - I understand that no matter how much I would like these particular events to disappear from my mind forever, it’s not going to happen. It will always be a part of me and who I am as a person, that’s just a difficult fact for me to really comprehend right now. If I’m being truly honest - that scares the sh!t out of me, and I really don’t like it. I don’t like how these events made me feel in my meditation, and how I continue to feel them daily. With practice though, I know that meditation will help me in how I see and feel these feelings and emotions, in a way that will make them more tolerable, and not so painful - not feeling so “stuck in it,” feeling like there’s no way out. No matter how painful it may be, I know it just takes time and I need to be willing to deal with them - which will then allow me to see them in a different, more positive light.
I started re-reading the chapter for week 2 - To prepare myself for this new week of meditation. I found these excerpts on pages 81-84, and I felt it appropriate to share. These pages in the book really describe how I react in both positive and negative situations. Here we go!
“In the Body Sensation Meditation, for example, we’ll use mindfulness to observe the way we automatically cling to pleasant experiences and push away unpleasant ones. It’s natural to perceive everything we think, feel, or take in with our five senses as being pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Whether we’re enjoying the sun on our face, hearing an insult, listening to music, smelling our dinner cooking, or feeling a wave of anger, the experience gets sorted into one of these three slots. It’s just what humans do.”
"When the experience is pleasant, our conditioned tendency is to hang on to it and keep it from leaving. That however is impossible. "Nothing endures but change," said greek philosopher Heraclitus. We long for permanence, but everything in the known universe —thoughts, weather, people, galaxies —is transient. That’s a fact, but one we fight. Mindfulness allows us to enjoy pleasant experiences without that extra thing we do, which is to grasp at the pleasure in an attempt to keep it from changing. In fact, we’re often so pre-occupied with trying to make a pleasurable experience stay that we’re unable to enjoy it while it lasts"
— When something good happens to me, or someone great comes into my life I tend to start thinking ahead of what I have to do to keep hold of it. I cling to it like she says. I’m rarely, or I used to rarely be in the present moment, enjoying (or not enjoying) what was actually happening around me and I always missed it. I spend my time worrying about all the different ways I can screw things up - instead of actually enjoying what is good. I’ve been working really hard on that, I really have. It’s so easy to let a moment pass you by, and then you have regrets about missing out. I’m really tired of having regrets… From a song from the musical Rent … “Forget regrets, or life is yours to miss.” Every time I hear this song, that lyric really speaks to me, and I’m trying to incorporate that into my life. I can honestly say I missed out on the first 90% of my life. I stayed depressed about the good things I couldn’t hold on to and the bad things I couldn’t get rid of. But… I’m living proof there’s a way out :)—
“On the other hand, if an experience, thought or feeling is painful, our tendency is to run from it or push it away. For example, if we have physical pain in one part of the body, we might find the rest of our body tightening up, as though to ward off further discomfort. Or maybe we globalize the pain and load it with judgment and recrimination. (This is all my fault, it will never change.) Ironically, we might have little direct knowledge of the pain we’re reacting to because we’re scrambling so fast to make it leave, often in ways that make it worse. What we have to understand is that there’s a big difference between pain and suffering. We can have a painful physical experience, but we don’t need to add the suffering of fear or projection into the future or other mental anguish to it. Mindfulness can play a big role in transforming our experience with pain and other difficulties; it allows us to recognize the authenticity of the distress and yet not be overwhelmed by it.”
—I’ve done this my entire life - pushed away all the bad, ran away from it as fast as it comes - only for it to implode on me all at once later on. I’ll have pain in one moment, and push it away, which only makes me suffer - fearing that it will come back at any moment. And eventually it does come back, because I don’t deal with it in the present. It’s a horribly vicious circle… One no one should have to endure.—
“When we can’t let the moment in front of us be what it is (because we’re afraid that if it’s good, it will end too soon; if it’s bad, it’ll go on forever; and if it’s neutral, it’ll bore us to tears), we’re out of balance. Mindfulness restores that balance; we catch out habitual reactions of clinging, codemning, and zoning out, and let them go.”
—I’ve always felt out of balance. I guess I can see why now! Well, I think I’ve always known why - the hard part is admitting it. Letting go of things is something really difficult for me because I’ve held so much inside for so long, it’s a really long process to get through it all. The important thing is that I’ve made the move to go through it, no matter how long it takes to let all those past experiences go.—
Tomorrow, I start fresh. I can see that mindfulness will be a great tool for me in my life, and I’m excited to incorporate into my meditation, and into my life. I’m a day late in week 2, but back on track. No fear, just an open mind.~