One of the biggest turning points in my practice was understanding that our relationship to what is happening is far more important than what is happening itself.
The late subway train, the tiny kindness, the person mouth breathing next to me — all of that is essentially meaningless. It’s the meaning that I assign to what is happening that is important. And sometimes that meaning is genuinely unpleasant. But that doesn’t have to be a problem.
There are few places where this is so clearly witnessed — and made workable -- than on the meditation cushion. In part, because we don’t have many options for escape. It’s here that we can access a clear view of how we relate to things as being some combination of pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, without instantly acting out the impulse that arises from that relationship.
Space and clear-seeing, paired with a dash of curiosity about our experience creates the possibility of relating to it differently. When we understand that our relationship to our circumstances -- not the circumstances themselves -- is the pivotal piece in the equation, we can crawl out from under the pillow-fort of “no bad vibes” and get curious about our relationship to ‘unpleasant’ instead. This can make our life bigger. More inclusive. Less narrowly inclined to only one spectrum of experience.
In this way, everything becomes fodder for practice.
---Via MNDFL Wind-Down Wednesday