"Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality." --Thich Nhat Hanh
Reality cn be hard. Like tonight, I received some difficult news and it is affecting my experience of everything; feelings of sadness and overwhelm make life feel contracted and confusing. Before the call, life seemed open and alive, but after I hung up it felt like the entire world had turned on me.
Mindfulness and meditation practice doesn't necessarily make everything better but it can help us from believing a contracted view of ourselves. The Buddha taught that the core of suffering happens when we forget who we are and become fixated at the egoic level of awareness which is small and separate.
Remembering to intuit and honor our vastness is to recognize the dimension of soul beyond the limited personality engaged in the up and down of human experiences. From a physics perspective, "having a serene encounter with reality" (bringing self-compassion to hard moments) allows for a wave-like experience alongside the particle-like experience; opening ourselves to a larger dimension of being.
As I share this, I sense a lightness. Tara Brach, Buddhist teacher and psychologist, writes, "We need to see the movie we are in and step out of it." Awakening heart and spirit breaks the trance of ego, bringing freedom and a capacity to hold discomfort in the larger perspective.
In those moments of contraction, it's hard to remember our vastness. This is not a problem it's actually the process and curriculum for spiritual growth. Staying aware in the moment and asking, Is this the "real me"? begins the shift.
How do I know if it's the "real me"? According the the innovative work of Richard Schwartz, PhD there are eight "C's" of Self Leadership, (also known as Self Energy, no-self and presence.) They are confidence, calmness, creativity, clarity, curiosity, courage, compassion and connectedness. When these qualities arise, we are in the "real me". Otherwise, we are taken over by a part of ourself that inhibits our ability to access vastness and the now.
Taking a pause when triggered helps soften the reactivity of the nervous system so we can "step out of the movie" into the vastness of reality and our true identity.
"You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather." --Pema Chodron