Monday, April 12, 2010

Sources of Suffering

There's so much going on I hardly know where to begin so I'll just cut to the part that I'm looking at this morning, which was precipitated by recent events and although the details are probably pretty juicy and interesting, they're just the externals. What I've been sitting with is internal weather and watching how even though it's bright and sunny outside, I could feel a cloud range in my belly as I was meditating. So rather than watch my breath, I chose to "unconceal" the clouds and see what was there.

So what was there was fear of rejection and its opposite, seeking approval. And this is so old, so much a part of my childhood, which I don't even write about here, and maybe one day I could brag about what I've had to overcome as a way of celebrating and acknowledging myself, but that's not what this post is about.

I have had an intense fear of rejection, but that's not really accurate because I have often found myself heading straight towards situations where I am certain rejection will be, not as way to confront it, but to be taken over by it, like indulging in it. Like Eckart Tolle's pain body idea. So it's like rejection lives in me and loves to come out and be felt once in a while so what it does is take me to situations where I can find rejection and live in that for a bit. Gross. I think it's even parasitic. So at the same time as I really, really don't like the feeling of being rejected, I find myself uncontrollably drawn to being rejected as though I'm picking a wound that could use some air to heal but I don't give it.

On the flip side of rejection lives my love and attraction for approval. It's so young, the source of this, it's me as a small kid and it's innocent and insecure, or maybe vulnerable describes it better.

During the weekend of the Landmark Forum, one of the things that comes up is how we all have these decisions we've made as children that we haven't reviewed and we are basically living out the fears of ourselves as children while we're in adult bodies. And I've known that and "get it" and still there's more to be revealed, there's internal weather patterns to be measured, and here I am.

What I've learned to do with everything that bothers me, whether it's physical stuff, like seasonal allergies, or it's emotional stuff that comes up by reviewing myself in my past relationships with men and my parents for instance, is to breathe into the sensations. That means I've got to find them first so I can breathe into them. The story with the allergies is that I used to have seasonal allergies that had sensations to them - itchy eyes, fatigue, other stuff - and I started watching them, allowing them to be there, and then one day they went away. Poof. Just like that. Every once in a while they come back and I watch the sensations, not with an intention to make them go away, but just observing them without judgement, and poof, they go away.

So when the pain surfaced this morning while I reviewed the rejection part (I got triggered by seeing my ex-boyfriend-on purpose - I should write about that too sometime - how I want to be free, including free to walk around my city and not avoid places because of people) I was able to get my arms around that old feeling and take a closer look at it. It didn't poof go away just yet. And it may not - I don't even have expectations that it will, I just intend to notice it and allow it. So it surfaced not as like the source of all my suffering, but like one of the fountains of suffering that I have in me.

When that happens, my teachers all come running to me inside. I hear Pema Chodron reminding me that I'm looking for ground when really things are groundless. I see a drawing of two circles - one with the details of what happened and one with the details of what I'm making it mean - that I got from Landmark Education. I hear myself telling me to find the places I feel and breathe into them. And it helps! It guides me through! I feel the victory that comes with me navigating myself through a dark forest that scares me - just like I want physical freedom on the outside, way more important to me is the emotional or psychic freedom to go anyplace inside myself.

So my meditation this morning was like a psychic x-ray or scan. I could see where there were areas of congestion and see how I have behaved in response. And then I felt so much compassion for myself and when that happens, it radiates out and makes me feel compassion for all of us. All of us making our way through this life with our hidden patterns and concealed desires. And noticing where I feel weak makes me feel so much stronger. Like I've got a map in my hands, a guide. It's good.

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