I can really only describe my meditation of this morning as a “festival of grievances” – the phrase which popped into my head mid-meditation as I pulled myself back (for the thousandth) time from thoughts about people who aren’t doing what I want them to do. My step-daughter didn’t acknowledge me on Mother’s Day, one of the members of my work team isn’t very flexible, I’m annoyed by my supervising professor from last semester for not providing comments on my essay, there’s a guy back east who is going to make updating an aspect of our intranet really difficult. Etc. Etc.
Once I owned up to the nature of my distraction, I was then distracted with thoughts about this post by my friend Carmen over at Bicycle Buddah in which she describes a meditation epiphany centered on the root of the dissatisfaction she is experiencing with her practice: “I am hoping that the experience will change. I am hoping that I can fix the problem. I am believing there is a problem to be fixed, and that there can only be one really satisfactory outcome….”
Which of course is the same item at issue with my own practice this morning. I am aggrieved with people because I *wish* or *hope* they would behave differently than they do. This is the heart of it. When I am angry with myself, it is because I wish I had behaved differently and I *hope* I can change myself in the future. It’s the crux of it when we’re unhappy – is that we wish it were otherwise. As I discussed with my counselor on Monday – the problem with my relationship with a certain family member is that I wish it were different. If I just accepted it as it is, and myself as having the relationship that I do – I would not be nearly so anguished about it.
Of course knowing something intellectually and accepting it in the heart-sense are two totally different things and the gulf separating those states is an awful lot of practice. Which is what I am doing every morning before work as I sit on my cushion and direct/redirect my thoughts towards my breathing. Being with what is, watching the emotions rise and move through me, knowing that the feelings are okay but they aren’t the whole of me, don’t have to rule me or my reactions, or complicate the present. Practice, practice, practice.
When I got off the bus downtown this morning I put that practice into action, raised my head and focused on my breath as I met the morning head on. And so much, as I attend to my work this morning, I am so much more accepting of what is. What is right now and not what should be.