Monday, November 23, 2009

It's all material - really

Rob Nairn, my major meditation teacher, used to say quite regularly, "It's all material; we can work with it." Over the years I have discovered that to be so, so true.

Today I found something by the wonderful teacher, Pema Chödrön, on that very subject - particularly as it relates to the truly unattractive mind state of self-pity. Here she is commenting on the slogan, "Don't wallow in self-pity", found in the traditional Seven Points of Mind Training text:
[S]elf-pity takes a lot of maintenance. You have to talk to yourself quite a bit to keep it up. the slogan is saying to get to know what self-pity feels like underneath the story line. That's how the training develops a genuine, openhearted, intelligent relationship with the whole variety of human experience.
It's all raw material for waking up. you can use numbness, mushiness, and self-pity even - it doesn't matter what it is - as long as you can go deeper, underneath the story line. That's where you connect with what it is to be human, and that's where the joy and the well-being come from - from the sense of being real and seeing realness in others.
Here's where I want to say don't judge your feelings but don't justify them either. Use them for greater awareness.

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