Skip to main content

Being With What Is

Every now and again life delivers a 'game changing' event.
One that challenges us and shakes our very foundations.
It is in these transcendental moments we have revealed to us the true value of our practice. We are given a very real and meaningful yardstick for where we are at.
It can be all too easy to adopt a philosophy or belief that acts as a pacifier, to retreat into language in order to hide from our true feelings because the feelings are just too much to bear - To simply talk a good game.
Our work is not to arrange life so as to avoid feeling pain or sadness but to re-examine our relationship to these valid and inevitable emotions and feelings.
We have been taught to run from or distract ourselves from painful emotions instead of embracing them and investigating them, allowing them to appear as they are, giving them space to arise and impart upon us their profound wisdom.
To maintain an open heart and willingness to learn takes great practice and a certain patience and kindness toward oneself that does not seemingly come naturally. Once we embark, it is an ongoing unfurling.
We will all have life deliver these earth shattering events to us and our lives are perhaps best defined by the way we can meet them.
Personally, at this time, I am at a juncture at which all of the work of meditation, inquiry, contemplation and so on is revealing it's worth to me in a very real way. I have discovered that I have the capacity to be completely heartbroken and yet, remain willing to walk this path and stay with all of the pain that accompanies my current circumstances. I can be with the heartbroken-ness and also notice the subtle ways I might try and not feel it.
I am able to feel sadness as profoundly beautiful, so much so that it brings me to tears.
I am eternally grateful for the time I have spent, sitting, observing, reflecting - this could be seen as a kind of preparation for those parts of life we would prefer didn't happen.
This groundwork allows me to experience these parts of life as they happen and thus participate in more a meaningful way.
To be present to and appreciate life in all it's tragic glory.

September 2016


Popular posts from this blog

Crackhead Mentality

I remember, quite clearly, the first time I tried crack. I'm not sure what the allure of the drug was, exactly, but as I exhaled my first hit, I distinctly recall being thoroughly underwhelmed. And yet, just a few short months later, I’d been smoking it every day since, staying up night after night in an attempt to satisfy the urge for more.
The effects of the drug were incredibly subtle – for me, at least. It lacked the wow factor of the other drugs I’d indulged in, and yet it had me hooked. In the blink of an eye, I’d crossed the line from recreational drug user to 'crackhead'. It began to consume my thoughts on a daily basis. I pretended to myself that I could take it or leave it, but was certain to make sure I had enough to get through the night ahead. Afraid that my friends might discover the extent of my using, I became something of a recluse.

So what was it that had me coming back for more?

During this time, I realised a funny thing. I saw that the mentality that was…

If This Was Your Last Day

Just consider for a moment, how would today be different if you knew it was your last?
How would you be? What would matter? What might you notice?
Maybe you would take it slow. Maybe you would savour each moment. Maybe you would tell those that mattered that you loved them. Maybe you would resolve an old and now meaningless conflict. Maybe you would watch the sunrise. Maybe you would taste each meal and be grateful for each meal you’ve failed to taste. Maybe you would just watch. Maybe you would embrace what truly mattered. Maybe you would smile or laugh, taking yourself just a little less seriously. Maybe you would sing at the top of your voice without a care in the world. Maybe you would be kinder or more compassionate towards yourself and others. Maybe you would finally give yourself a break. Maybe you would listen to the birds. Maybe you would meet someone fully and without judgement. Maybe you would notice the subtle in/out of the breath that will soon desert you. Maybe you would…

Shattering The Great Doubt

I have just returned from a quite beautiful week in Wales.
Still very much re-entering the space we refer to as 'normal'.
It seems anything but.

The retreat I attended was called 'Shattering the Great Doubt', also known simply as a Koan Retreat.
For those you unfamiliar with the term 'Koan' it is a short story, statement, dialogue or exchange between master and student, that is used as a form of practice in the Rinzai tradition of Zen. We are asked to meditate on , and merge with the koan, observing how it 'triggers' us or prompts and provokes habits, patterns and ways of being.
It is something that must be experienced to be truly understood but that is a brief and simplistic overview.

I met with 18 other curious souls to investigate and come face to face with ourselves in a rustic, electricity-less farmhouse in the middle of the welsh countryside.
The schedule would involve a week of silence, meditation, great food, working for the bene…