Updated: Apr 6, 2022
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” Excerpt from When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön:
I've been hiding away from some feelings most of my life, and it was only after years into spiritual practices that I understood that the moment we hide from uncomfortable feelings we are also pushing away deep joy and contentment...
When we feel discomfort of any kind, our automatic response can be to run in the opposite direction. At least I do! This reaction often creates even more tension and discomfort, therefore increasing overall inconvenience and tension.
There is no light without darkness and there are times in life when we find ourselves in total despair and loss. But if we lean into the feeling, welcoming it deep into our bodies, breathing all the way through it, we reach the other side with a moment of clarity.
It's a matter of becoming intimate with fear rather than treating it as a problem to be solved, we may be able to use it as a told with which to dismantle all or our familiar structures of being. We might be able to undo old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and thinking! To be brave is not to not feel Fear but the intimacy with Fear!
Pema argues that "Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again, whether we like it or not, we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation — harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration."
So the practice becomes about letting go of control, opening the heart and with deep compassion and getting really intimate with the moment. It's a very freeing and yummy feeling not having to do anything about it. Things become very vivid!
I was keeping myself from feeling all the joy, excitement, yumminess and happiness life could gift me!