Friday, October 7, 2011

The Keen Observer: On Testing Friends & Fear in Meditation

I test people. When people claim to have forgiven me, I test them. I don't test them to be cruel or hurtful. I test them so that I can understand and know on what level this person lives their testimony.

You cannot practice the dharma without artful listening and compassion. I cannot practice without learning to be kinder...and I am trying.

My wife and I had a long discussion last night about the dharma. I have a long way to go. I was explaining to her that I am not afraid of death, but that I have a lot of anxiety about an " unprepared" death because I would like to reincarnate mindfully.

I have a lot of confusion about society and social circles. I wrote a blog a few days about about my 10 year highschool reunion, and about how I had no desire to go. I had never before considered that I should probably extend my compassion to these people. An experience today made me realize that I am still reacting to an experience of these people that is ten years old. I need to get current. I cannot continue to react to people that no longer exist. I am projecting my memories and powerful feelings of resentment etc onto the current people and this might not be fair :)



People do change.

Some people change slowly...but people do change.

I have a real vindictive streak. When a person hurts me deeply, it is hard for me to walk away from that and then rejoice when the person is happy. One of my gurus taught me that that this is the equivalent of swallowing rat poison and thinking the rat will die LOL. When you carry around all this anger and resentment, you poison yourself- it doesn't touch the person you are angry with- it touches only you. If you eat rat poison, you will suffer.

I have such a long way to go :)

In some areas I am on solid ground, and in other areas I just don't understand. I don't understand why people have been able to harm me when I have been kind to them. But then, I suppose I have cast stones against other people without a compassionate heart. When I am mindless, impulsive, and angry, I impose limitations on my goodwill.

I have feelings about people. Some people evoke in me feelings of peace, goodwill, love and tranquility- others evoke pain, anxiety, fear, restlessness, and paranoia....they bring me closer to these aspects of myself.

In my meditation today I keep coming into contact with a bodily sensation of pain in my heart on the left side. I am having difficulty in detaching my mind from this painful sensation. During my meditation this morning, I wanted to scream-to break out into sobs. My mind started chattering, telling itself that the sensation was too painful to sit with, that the sensation would make me go insane. I felt as though I needed to vomit... then I remembered to emphasize the comforts around me. I focused on the feelings of warmth in my hands. I focused on the feeling of well-being radiating through my feet. My feet seemed very happy.

I am not sure of how I should approach this pain in my heart. Although I want to be a fearless meditator, when I focus on this area of pain I get waves of pure terror. My mind starts to play naughty tricks on me, telling me that the feeling could swallow me and that I might jump out of a window or something, in an irrational fit of anxiety and fear. With this kind of chatter, my mind convinces me that there is real danger in feeling this amount of terror. When this happens, I try not to participate,but to observe, but the feelings of terror just seem to multiply and swallow me.

I was able to sit through this terror once before, but I actually feel traumatized by what I experienced. I wish I could say that I look back on the experience fondly, but I don't. I meditated through a panic attack that literally lasted six hours, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.

When I find answers, I will post and share. If you have answers/suggestions..I'd be grateful to hear them.

UPDATE: A few friends proposed some interesting ideas to me about this. One suggested it is my ego trying to save itself from obliteration- and the other suggested i am identifying with this voice on some level. Both suggestions were extremely helpful.

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