Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don't White Knuckle Your Way Through: On Correcting All Wrongs With One Intention

My daily and weekly routines have been disrupted, smashed to pieces, because of recent events. I've not been able to meditate for more than five minutes at a stretch and I can't concentrate much. The well worn ruts in my mind have become easier and easier, so I really needed the message behind this new tenet.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let me walk you through the research I always do...

There is no mistaking the fact that this teaching is a companion to the one I wrote about last week
Correct all wrongs with one intention.
As usual, the translation at is fairly different: "Use one remedy for everything." The explanation provided resonated deeply and made me feel a bit more optimistic about getting back in the habit of meditating:
"Use taking and sending to counteract any reactive tendency that arises."
Taking and sending is a hard practice since it goes against some ingrained ideas about "in with the good and out with the bad," but when I have practiced it regularly I found it extremely effective. I'm in the process of grieving for the cat I recently lost to kidney disease and just the reminder of taking and sending helped a bit. 

Then I turned to Tricycle to read Judy Lief's piece about correcting all wrongs with the "intention to train [my] mind in loving-kindness." Then there was the passage that made me cringe a bit because it totally captured my mindset lately:
When you encounter obstacles and obstructions to practice, how do you get back on track? How do you correct your course? The approach of just trying to push your way through does not work very well; it is hard to fight with your own state of mind.
Oof. Yes, that is exactly what I've been doing. Berating myself for not meditating and then, when I manage to sit zazen for a moment, not being able to concentrate. Me trying to push through this block is like Maru trying to get out of that box by walking forward. I can't just white-knuckle my way through the things that are getting in my way.

That's what makes Lief's advice particularly important to me. She recommends: 
When you find yourself struggling with an external or internal obstacle and falling into resentment or discouragement, notice the tendency to simply feel stuck and under attack. Notice how your relationship to such obstacles shifts when you reconnect with your intention to train your mind in loving kindness.
Wow, I needed to hear/read that.

So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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