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26 June 2015

How to Work through the Different Experiences of Discomfort in Meditation.

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Ok, so let’s have a look at the sort of stuff that does come up to rock your boat when you’re meditating. The sort of thing where you’re concentrating, you’re working through the body and something comes up and before you know it you’re embroiled in it.

This kind of internal pain that is appearing that doesn’t appear to be as a result of any strain upon the body. So where is this coming from? This is the charge that you are holding in your body. As you start to build up your mindfulness, you start to become aware of different layers of blockages within you and what is oppressing you unconsciously. So for example, if you have this heavy energy in your chest, normally we are not consciously aware of it, but unconsciously it is affecting our mood, our attitude, how we feel. With enough mindfulness you become consciously aware of the energy you are holding and now you can watch how you feel about it. But can you see how it has actually been making you feel? This is what is key because it is not just an unpleasant physical feeling, if you really go deeply enough you’ll get a sense of what it has been doing to you at a mental and emotional level, this energy that you hold.

Now you have to go very deeply into this, it is all very well to say; “yes it’s impermanent, this is the arising of bad reactions in my memory, my feeling is one thing, my reaction to it is another” , but this is actually just a mechanical mental exercise. Instead you need to try and really embody what you feel because we have spent a lot of time trying to not feel it. Now it is possible to do your meditation for many, many, years believing you are very skilful and paying attention to what is going on in your body without recognising at all how you actually feel. So how do you really feel? The truth is you don’t know how you feel. You don’t know how you feel because you don’t allow yourself to feel it. And yet how you feel is driving you at every level. Whether it’s frustration, fear, worry, anxiety, resentment, we do not see how we are being driven by how we feel. It is the feeling that is driving the grief, fear, anxiety etc, not the fear that is driving the feeling. It is important to recognise this.

[groups_non_member group=”Registered”]Some people do not have an over elaborate idea of themselves, there is more of a sense of immediacy to them. On the other hand, some people have a very elaborate idea of themselves, and are very wrapped up with themselves, or self absorbed. How wrapped up in ourselves we are, will express itself in how complicated and complex our array of responses are to what we actually experience. How much there is in the way between us and what we are experiencing? Normally of course we have no idea about how much there is there, we’re not aware of how complicated we have become and how entangled with those feelings we are and how driven by them we are. In some cases it can be a single thing right at the root of our being driving, nuancing, flavouring and texturing almost everything we do. We will always be hugely conditioned and driven by it until we see. Our whole world is defined by our attempts to justify our position. Do you understand what I mean by that? The way we see the world is our attempt to justify our position. And that position that we have taken is utterly conditioned by the feelings that we have had and the feelings that we are holding on to about certain things. So some people might think one thing is really important, other people might think another thing is really important and other people might think, “don’t be ridiculous, neither of those things are important.” And that bone that we gnaw on, the axe we grind, that we see as so fundamental to life, is not fundamental to life; it is just fundamental to us upholding our ideas of self. And the energy that we invest in it, is the energy that separates us from just being able to get on.

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[groups_member group=”Registered”]Some people do not have an over elaborate idea of themselves, there is more of a sense of immediacy to them. On the other hand, some people have a very elaborate idea of themselves, and are very wrapped up with themselves, or self absorbed. How wrapped up in ourselves we are, will express itself in how complicated and complex our array of responses are to what we actually experience. How much there is in the way between us and what we are experiencing? Normally of course we have no idea about how much there is there, we’re not aware of how complicated we have become and how entangled with those feelings we are and how driven by them we are. In some cases it can be a single thing right at the root of our being driving, nuancing, flavouring and texturing almost everything we do. We will always be hugely conditioned and driven by it until we see. Our whole world is defined by our attempts to justify our position. Do you understand what I mean by that? The way we see the world is our attempt to justify our position. And that position that we have taken is utterly conditioned by the feelings that we have had and the feelings that we are holding on to about certain things. So some people might think one thing is really important, other people might think another thing is really important and other people might think, “don’t be ridiculous, neither of those things are important.” And that bone that we gnaw on, the axe we grind, that we see as so fundamental to life, is not fundamental to life; it is just fundamental to us upholding our ideas of self. And the energy that we invest in it, is the energy that separates us from just being able to get on.

So what we’ve got to try and do is to acknowledge or just touch what it actually feels like being me. Employ real openness and honesty and real willingness to get on down and stop tap dancing about in our efforts to keep the “me show on the road. We need to stop thinking what we think we ought to be thinking, displaying what we think we ought to display, pretending that we feel what we don’t and get right down to the square root of what is actually driving you and see where it is appropriate and conducive to your well-being or where it is detrimental to your well-being. Now that is what we do when we go on retreat.

We can very religiously, diligently and ardently practice our meditation. Going through this body feeling the four elements, feeling impermanence, feeling this is anger, this feels like attachment, without getting to the square root of where it is coming from. Now that is what we’ve got to try and touch. Because when you get down there and start pulling those things out by the root, you start to dislodge all the other limiting structures that are conditioning you. It is not just about saying I shouldn’t be greedy, I shouldn’t be attached, I shouldn’t get angry. Those are all just by products of where we’re stuck. Nobody is innately greedy or innately angry it is only confusion – you’ ve got to see where you’re confused. Which means you’ve got to have a willingness to acknowledge, “I’ve not figured it all out yet.” I don’t understand these conclusions that I am doggedly clinging to, why don’t I just drop them and assume that I don’t know anything yet?

The swiftest progress is when you realise you don’t understand a thing. And you just drop deeply into what you feel and what you are actually experiencing just as it is. Stop trying to understand it, because your efforts to try and understand it are just getting in the way of you being with it. So meditate really deeply inside, when you get really deep down within yourself and when you start to feel, drop deeper into it. When you go back into memories from your past and you think they made you feel like this, how you think they made you feel is your way of pretending to yourself that they are alright. That is not how you feel. Go deeper – how do I really feel? What has it actually been doing to me trying to pretend to the world that I feel like this? What has it actually been doing to me trying to show the world this person I want to show, when actually I’m only doing this because it’s what I think I ought to do.

Try to free yourself up, so you can just be who you are, if there was nobody out there to notice you where would you be? How would you be? How would you be with it all? How driven have you been by your need to be seen by others in one way or another? And in doing so how much energy have you invested? And how appropriate is it to continue to invest such energy? And how much of that energy could we have back? So we could just be a functional part of the group that we are part of rather than this highly defined individual. There is nothing wrong with being individual, there is nothing wrong with being this unique expression of life but if you cling to it and define your life in terms of it, then you are separate from everyone around you rather than connected to them.

The awakened being is a functional member of the group – no better or worse than the next person. All this fixation with self is an adolescent fixation. It is the desire and the need to be seen. When we make that transition into what we call spiritual adulthood, we are willing to go unnoticed, willing to just be and in being, perform our function. It doesn’t matter what your function is, you don’t have to fry your head trying to decide what it is you ought to do. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you can do it with good heart and turn up for it – that is all that is asked. So stop thinking that you’ve got to change the world, invent a rocket ship or be a super star, because that is just vanity.

So you work through the body, you get deeply concentrated, you keep going, deep into the organs and the deep structures of your body, deep into your system, deep into your heart, deep into your belly, feel all the feelings and allow them. As your mindfulness builds within you instead of distracting yourself and going off somewhere else sit with them, keep opening and relaxing into them and allow them to start to yield and release. Be with how it feels while you go through that experience. When I say how does it feels, I don’t just mean; it feels really hot in my heart. How does it feel to have a really hot heart? It feels like my chest is being crushed in a vice. How does it feel when your chest feels like it is being crushed in a vice? It feels like my stomach is a washing machine. I feel slothful, but what does it feel like to be really slothful. How does it feel? Go there and gradually let it release from there. Don’t worry about it or judge what you find, and build your harmonious mind gently. Concentration, mindfulness, equanimity – understand that it is all changing. When something does come up don’t fight with it with aversion or go to it with this desire for it to go, meet it. That is how you free yourself from the charge you are carrying around inside. And that is how you start to experience a sense of inner spaciousness and freedom.[/groups_member]

2 Responses

  1. Wanda nascimento hiller

    Thank you Burgs! This is a great post and touches deeply in my soul. Just what I needed to read right now.

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