Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How we relate to our difficulties

I spent a little time exploring the website I told you about yesterday: the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice. On one page in the "Writings on mindfulness" section, I found a letter written by someone who had embarked upon a mindfulness program. Here is something she said:
Learning to sit with it all, including what is hard, is what we are starting to practice. It seems mundane – how can being with this ache or pain or difficulty help me BE who I am. But the ache is not the issue – the way we relate to it IS. The stories we weave - the disasters we fantasise – the exaggerations and anxieties we anticipate – the judgements we attack with – the pressure we impose. All the ways that we make things worse…. [Mindfulness] enables us to learn about the patterns and habits we get wired to (the REACTIONS) – by noticing the thoughts and emotions that take us away.

Ah. "But the ache is not the issue - the way we relate to it IS." How truly profound. Don't suppose that meditation means we will have no more difficulties or distressing feelings. We will, of course, because that's life. But we will learn how to relate to those difficulties with equanimity and skill.

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