The Lie: Time Heals All Wounds. The truth is there are losses you never get over. They break you to pieces and you can never go back to the original shape you once were, and so you will grieve your own death with that of your beloved lost. Your grief is your love, turned inside-out. That is why it is so deep. That is why it is so consuming. When your sadness seems bottomless, it is because your love knows no bounds. Grief teaches us about who we are, and any attempt to crush it, to bury it with the body is an act of vengeance against your own nature. If instead of pretending we are okay, we would take the time to wail, to weep, to scream, to wander the woods day after day holding hands with our sadness, loving it into remission so it doesn’t turn cold inside of us, gripping us intermittently in the icy fingers of depression. That’s not what grief is meant to do. Grief has a way of showing you just how deep your aliveness goes…If you have been sitting on old grief from your childhood, your failed relationships, the loss of a family pet when you were nine, and any other losses you were unable to honor in the past, this left-over grief will also come through the broken damn. Let it……Alison Nappi
There was a story about the Zen master Suzuki Roshi.
This was a situation where his students had been sitting and they were 3 or 4 hours into a very hard sitting period, a sesshin. The person who told the story said every bone in his body was hurting—his back, his ankles, his neck, his head, everything hurt. Not only that, his thoughts were totally obsessed with either,
“I can’t do this, I’m worthless. There’s something wrong with me. I’m not cut out to do this.”
It was vacillating between those thoughts and
“This whole thing is ridiculous. Why did I ever come here? These people are crazy. This place is like boot camp.”
His mind and body were just aching. Probably everyone else in the room was going through something similar.
Suzuki Roshi came in to give the lecture for the day and he sat down. He started to talk very, very, very slowly and he said,
“The difficulty that you are experiencing now…”
And that man was thinking,
“will go away.”
And he said,
“This difficulty will be with you for the rest of your life.”
So that’s sort of Buddhist humor.
But it is also the essence of maitri. It seems to me in my experience and also in talking to other people that we come to a body of teachings like the Buddhist teachings or any spiritual path, to meditation in some way like little children looking for comfort, looking for understanding, looking for attention, looking somehow to be confirmed. Some kind of comfort will come out of this.
And the truth is actually that the meditation practice isn’t about that. The practice is more about somehow this little child, this I, who wants and wants and wants to be confirmed in some way.
Practice is about that part of our being finally being able to open completely to the whole range of our experience, including all that wanting, including all that hurt, including the pain and the joy. Opening to the whole thing so that this little child-like part of us can finally, finally, finally, finally grow up.
Trungpa Rinpoche once said that was the most powerful mantra,
Om Grow Up Svaha.
But this issue of growing up, it’s not all that easy because it requires a lot of courage.
Particularly it takes a lot of courage to relate directly with your experience. By this I mean whatever is occurring in you, you use it. You seize the moment. Moment after moment? You seize those moments and instead of letting life shut you down and make you more afraid, you use those very same moments of time to soften and to open and to become more kind.
More kind to yourself, for starters, as the basis for becoming more kind to others.
where do the wild and the sacred connect? where does equanimity and pure heart meet to honor the hurt and the neglect and the disillusion of our lives…..be tender in your judgments……and in your softening……
Most people are basically kind and gentle but haven’t yet cured themselves of the reactive, injurious quality of their anger. Few have taken tea with their outrage or confusion. Most try to push it away, causing it to explode unconsciously into a world already overflowing with violence and reactivity. To take responsibility for our anger means to relate to it instead of from it. To be responsible is to be able to respond instead of having to react. Responsibility enters the moment anew. To respond to it is to invite it in for tea, to meet it eye to eye in the light that streams through the wide entrance to our cavern. As mercy develops, we see how painful it is to be in anger and we are reminded to soften, to look gently on it as it arises…….Stephen Levine