Sunday, September 2, 2012

Meditation: Opening & Relaxing With Whatever Arises


"Sometimes we feel guilty, sometimes arrogant. Sometimes our thoughts and memories terrify us and make us feel totally miserable. Thoughts go through our minds all the time, and when we sit (in meditation), we are providing a lot of space for all of them to arise. Like clouds in a big sky or waves in a vast sea, all our thoughts are given the space to appear. If one hangs on and sweeps us away, whether we call it pleasant or unpleasant, the instruction is to label it all "thinking" with as much openness and kindness as we can muster and let it dissolve back into the big sky. When the clouds and waves immediately return, it's no problem. We just acknowledge them again and again with unconditional friendliness, labeling them as just "thinking" and letting them go again and again and again.
Sometimes people use meditation to try to avoid bad feelings and disturbing thoughts. We might try to use the labeling as a way to get rid of what bothers us, and if we connect with something blissful or inspiring, we might think we've finally got it and try to stay where there's peace and harmony and nothing to fear.
So right from the beginning it's helpful to always remind yourself that meditation is about opening and relaxing with whatever arises, without picking and choosing. It's definitely not meant to repress anything, and it's not intended to encourage grasping, either." 
~ Pema Chödrön, American Buddhist nun, "When Things Fall Apart"