Hello my fellow human Beings:
We all experience ups and downs, highs and lows, in our lives. Whether at work, at home or in our social and community circles, we experience pleasant and unpleasant circumstances and events daily. That is the reality of life.
What is key is how we handle the roller coaster ride of life.
When you experience a pleasant circumstance that makes you feel elated, excited or thrilled, how do you react?
Do you cling to the good feelings, crave for more of these feel-good sensations and wish that they would never end?
Then when you experience an unpleasant situation that makes you feel sad, angry or frustrated, how do you react?
Do you brood over the irritation stirring up more negative motions and thoughts, retell the story repeatedly aloud and in your head, and wish that it would all just go away?
Reacting to the pleasant and unpleasant events of our lives exacerbates the ups and downs that just happen in life. It makes us feel like we are riding a roller coaster of emotions and detracts from our true experience of the fullness of life. During these times when we react, we let our egos take over and chatter away in our heads with mind-made stories that cloud our vision of reality and make us lose focus on the here and now.
But you can get off the ride.
With our meditation practice, we are reminded to be fully present in each moment. When we are mindful and in the now, we are more aware of the reality of the moment, whether pleasing or unpleasing, and we are more aware of how we feel about the moment – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. We can “see” the situation more clearly and how we, and others, may start to react to the situation. Being aware and grounded, we can then observe our feelings, be open to these emotions without letting them takeover the situation and without judging them. Then, we can act appropriately out of love, doing what is the right next step for us, which is guided from our True Being, rather than our ego.
Jack Kornfield, who trained as a Buddhist monk and holds a PhD in clinical psychology, is a prolific writer and teacher of mindfulness meditation in the West. In his book, Meditation for Beginners, he sums up well how mindfulness can help us with life’s roller coaster ride of events. He states:
“Meditation trains us to be present in each moment with awareness, with a greater sense of openness of heart, and with clear seeing. It can help us to learn how to remain more open, and it can help us learn how to love with our whole hearts – and to be unafraid to express that love. Even in our difficulties, meditation can show the possibility of being a little less attracted to the inevitable ups and downs in our lives, less afraid of the changes in both pleasures and pains. Meditation helps us to learn to love well, by discovering we can openourselves to all the aspects of our minds, to whatever is difficult as well as to whatever is easy.”
So as you go through this week, I encourage you to be still, remain open to life’s ups and downs, connect with Your True Being, act without reaction, so that you may love well and live more abundantly!
Note: For those of you in Toronto, the meditation group sessions will be starting again in October 2013 at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto.