So I picked up this book at Heidi's the other day, "When Things Fall Apart," by Pema Chodron, and I can't believe I haven't read it before. What a great book. Early on she says something she learned from her teachers and that is to "lean into the sharp points." Not in a bad way, in a curious way. I hear myself in my head saying in a class, "find the places you feel the most and breathe into them." Chances are that the places you feel the most are the ones that are uncomfortable. That's how it goes. But our culture is obsessed with getting rid of sensations, of removing sensations and somehow keeping the ones we like and discarding the ones we don't like.
Her book at the part I'm at, at any rate, is about how it's all the same thing and to feel one brings you the other. In yoga it's called duality - when you pick up a coin, you get both sides. She's writing about being compassionate with ourselves during times when we're feeling. It's brilliant. In the video below she talks about compassion, Maitri, a friendliness we can have towards ourselves.
Anyways, I'm really digging this book because even if things aren't falling apart, the message is still a good one. And the message is don't bother trying to be attached to things being a certain way because they won't stay that way. Don't cling. Nothing's solid. We won't be rescued. This is it. All of that future thinking is just a way to feel better about how things are now. Feel how it is now - that's the truth and that's how things are.
I still can't believe I haven't picked this up before! She's come to Omega in the past while I worked there and I've felt her presence but I didn't read her books. Up until now ;)
One of the things she says in this clip towards the end that she also writes in her book is that the Buddha taught that there is inevitable pain in life, through aging and illness and death for sure, but also through loving another. That by loving another and being open, we feel a lot of pain when we lose that person. I thought that was really touching because sometimes the teachings I hear say that if you really love someone then you won't miss them or something like that or that somehow it's a continuation of life and there's no pain in it. So this was just a reassuring message that yea, life hurts. There's no way around that. But she goes on in other teachings, so it's not really a downer :)
Here's another one. If you have a few minutes check it out. She's brilliant!