As a practicing meditator of a Buddhist tradition, I have long concentrated on being more aware of my reactionary thinking and behavior. I have had some profound experiences during meditation of realizing that it is finding that gap between encountering a situation that I may label as negative and falling into automatic reaction. Finding or creating a “Gap” between these two, is what the Buddha taught was true freedom.
Eckhart Tolle teaches that most negativity arises from our reaction to something or someone, a judgement or aversion to that thing. If you take a deeper look, it is our reaction that causes our suffering the most. 12 step teaches “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”. That means there is a way to end our suffering!
There will always be people or situations or conditions that are not what we want or would choose. But it is our reaction to those things we perceive as negative that creates more suffering. Shinzen Young states “Suffering = Pain MULTIPLIED by the degree of our resistance to that experience” (you can replace resistance with reaction or repetitive stories you think about the painful situation). Tolle and also the Buddha, state that if you can just be present with whatever arises, whatever the situation is, you can change your reaction to it. If you have zero reaction, then anything x zero will be 0 (so no suffering!) and you can look at an event in a more neutral way (Equanimity). We can surely use a practice such as this in a time where our country is experiencing many changes.
It is my experience through meditation that you can gain the insight to be able to see beyond your thoughts and reactions that you are not just your thoughts. You are now the Observer or witness, your Higher Self. You are then able to view the painful event or person that you believe creates the pain in a more equanimous way. You take away the emotional charge and the result is you experience the pain, but you don’t linger in suffering. You are able to “Let go and let God”. You then can handover the outcomes to Spirit, while doing whatever necessary steps you need to take in a more peaceful and equanimous way. This takes time and development just as developing any muscle, the more attention and time you devote, the stronger the muscle and mindfulness is.
Please come and join us for our monthly meditations on the first Wednesday of the month. I will be leading a meditation October 4th on how to let go of negativity and other meditation techniques.
In love and light,
Laurie Lee, RScP