I walk to the Gloucester Unitarian Church 5-days a week to lead morning meditation. Last Tuesday, I got a late start, so anxiety quickened my pace. With my rushed steps, I added tension and stress to the walk. Of course, I made it to meditation on time, but I also decided to set out ten-minutes earlier for my walks. These extra ten-minutes give a boost to the quality of my day. No more rushing, a bit more relaxing. Part of the deep healing I need to do in my life involves noticing and letting go whenever I slip back into habit-stress and habit-struggle. The extra minutes give me time to walk slowly, to rest and relax, to let go along my way.
Anger is an important, extremely unpleasant, powerful, and often destructive energy. Personally, any time I feel it, I immediately know that something I’m deeply attached to is at stake. When I feel antagonized or emotionally chafed I know that I’m clinging to some opinion or idea I hold dear in the moment. When I find myself boiling with resentment, that uncomfortable roiling around my heart prompts me to identify my personal boundaries and tells me I expect they’re about to be crossed. This kind of informative clarity might be called anger’s upside.
Do you quarrel with yourself, or get down on yourself harshly? Can you be your own worst enemy? Do you give up on or berate yourself at times? That feels awful, right? Of course, we’ve all done this, yet a deeper, more satisfying friendship with ourselves is possible. How so?
Seeds of peace grow peace, which plants seeds of peace.—Ben Connelly
Getting Real About Spirituality
“Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but… we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts… That is the foundation of… conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it.”
― Chögyam Trungpa,
Once, long, long ago, a large group of monks settled down for the three-month rainy- season retreat in a beautiful forest in the foothills of the Himalayas.
“You should benefit self and others alike.”
~~Dogen Zenji, Bodhisattvas Four Methods of Guidance
Often, when I find myself with too much work, or when I’m feeling under appreciated, or fatigued, or otherwise stressed, I notice that my mind, as if on auto-pilot, has dialed in one of my most habitual internal channels. I call it, Negative Self-Talk Radio. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you know it from personal experience. This is the channel in the mind that’s non-stop blaming and nagging, with nearly never a commercial interruption. However, we can always tune in to Kind Speech!
Do You Ever Feel Shut Down?
There are times when I feel up tight, when my heart feels contracted and shut down. When I’m in this state and my whole inner world seems smoggy and toxic, I feel a little desperate to feel something better; I’m thirsty to feel even just a tiny bit better.
This kind of shut-in-and-closed-off experience can happen when I’m in heavy, rush-hour traffic, or when I wake up to the barbed sensations around my pounding heart in another three-in-the-morning anxiety attack.