Emerging field tackles the "inner bully" ~ Article by Kristin Neff
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ANGER by David White
ANGER is the deepest form of care, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt.
Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger points toward the purest form of compassion, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for. see more.......
Underestimating Resistance & Doubt by Ezra Bayda
An obstacle we encounter in practice, is underestimating the degree to which resistance is a predictable and inevitable part of a practice life. Resistance comes in many forms: not wanting to sit in meditation, not wanting to stay with our experience for more than a few seconds, spinning off into thinking about the past or the future, suppressing or avoiding emotional pain, finding fault with ourselves, finding fault with others. We can see resistance in our commitment to believing such thoughts as “This is too hard,” “I can’t do it,” or “I’m unworthy.”
Yet another, more subtle form of resistance is thinking and talking about practice rather than actually experiencing our life. Thinking and talking about practice are easy substitutes for the real effort that a practice life requires. We resist facing life as it is because that would mean abandoning our views of how we think it should be. The most basic form of resistance is wanting life to be other than it is.
For the most part, we don’t really want to wake up. We have to be honest about this. We want to hold on to our beliefs and even to our suffering. Afraid of the unknown, we cling to the familiar. We don’t want to give up our illusions even when they make us miserable. Resistance is the ego’s effort to maintain control. Yet no matter what form it takes, it brings us no peace. Pema Chödrön tells a story about a friend who as a child had recurring nightmares in which ferocious monsters were chasing her through a house. Whenever she closed a door behind her, the monsters would burst through the door and frighten her. Pema once asked what the monsters looked like, but her friend couldn’t tell her, because in the dream she had never turned around to see.
At some point, however, she decided not to turn away from what she feared. The next time she had the nightmare, just as she was about to open a door to avoid being caught by the monsters, she stopped running, turned around, and looked the monsters in the eye. They were huge, with horrible features, but they didn’t attack her; they just jumped up and down. As she looked closer, the three-dimensional multicolored monsters began to shrink into two-dimensional black-and-white shapes. At that moment, the girl awoke, and she never had that nightmare again.
It is in running away from our “monsters” that we make them seem so solid. Whatever we resist exerts a strong hold on us: in solidifying it, we empower it to stay in our mind and our life. But when we cultivate the willingness to be with life just as it is, our relationship to what we’ve avoided starts to change. Once we see through the solidity of our resistance, our lives become more fluid and workable. We’re able to move beyond where we were once stuck. Even if we don’t like our life as it is, we don’t need to wage war against it. We can start meeting our resistance squarely by noticing all of the ways in which we avoid the present moment, the ways in which we avoid practice, the ways in which we resist what is. Understanding the depth of our resistance is of major importance in furthering our practice.
Another form of resistance arises when we hit the “dry spot.” The dry spot is the moment when we lose our connection with the aspiration that originally brought us to practice. Often we hit the dry spot when our expectations of practice are unfulfilled—when it isn’t bringing us the immediate peace, calm, or freedom from fear that we had hoped for. Disappointment leads to anger, and anger to resistance.
It’s important to understand, however, that vacillating between aspiration and resistance is the natural rhythm of practice and that the dry spot is a natural manifestation of this cycle. But the first few times we hit the dry spot, it doesn’t seem natural at all. We may even feel as if we’re failing at practice, since the thoughts that arise in these moments seem like fixed truths. It’s hard to see them for what they are—simply automatic reactions to the inevitable ups and downs of practice life.
Hitting the dry spot is the point at which students often leave practice. But if we can wait it out, we begin to understand the natural cycle of resistance. We even come to expect the doubting mind to arise. Doubt in itself is not the problem. The problem comes from identifying with the doubting “me” and believing that this is who we really are. But if seen for what it is, doubt can even be a positive force in practice. Provided we don’t get lost in the negative beliefs that arise with it, it can lead to a deepening of our quest. As practice takes hold, we can learn to use doubt as an opportunity to experience the grief of our unfulfilled expectations about practice. We can learn to surrender to, and reside in, the physical experience of what doubt feels like in the body, instead of following the story line of negative thoughts. Not following the story line can be difficult, because the thoughts seem so true, so solid, so compelling. But if we can stay with the visceral experience of doubt, even as the anguish of not knowing remains, the dryness is transfused with a deeper sense of aspiration.
Thomas Merton expressed this clearly: “True love and prayer are learned in the moment when prayer has become impossible and the heart has turned to stone.” When we understand the cycles of resistance and can wait out a dry period by resting in the direct physical experience of doubt, we will gradually come to feel a renewed sense of direction and hope.