Wednesday, December 21, 2016


"[W]hen I'm consumed by a feeling, I lose touch with the world around me and everything I say, do or feel is based on the world projected by that feeling and not the world that I actually inhabit." 

This fine jewel of wisdom appears in the latest Unfettered Mind newsletter (#29) mailed out by Ken McLeod. 

I don't know about you, but I'm consumed by a complex of negative feelings arising from the recent election and imminent ascension to the presidency of a man whom I'm not alone in considering utterly unprepared and unfit for the job. Fear, anger, terror, sadness... they all roil in the pit of my stomach and compete for attention in my ever restless mind. 

Ken continues, describing his own response to the onslaught of feelings: "I sit and do nothing -- whatever I'm feeling, whatever is happening in my body or in the world around me. I wouldn't even say that I sit in awareness, though some may choose to use such a phrase. Basically, I just sit there. [...] In doing so, I am not waiting for the feelings to dissipate. Nor am I seeking to transform the feelings into their corresponding manifestations of awakening."

Further: "If I'm waiting to let the feelings dissipate, I'm doing something. If I try to transform the feelings into something else, I am also trying to do something. No, I do nothing, to the extent that I am able. There is nothing outside me that can resolve these feelings. The often overlooked corollary is that there is nothing inside that can resolve them, either. What I am left with is the feeling itself, naked, red and raw."

Reading these thoughts yesterday, I appreciated Ken's help in reminding me that the illusion of "doing something" is just that: an illusion. If I manage to just sit, doing nothing, "something strange happens. This is result, what happens, not what you do. (Italics mine.) It doesn't happen all the time, and it doesn't happen according to any identifiable timetable. But it happens often enough and it happens consistently enough that I have come to trust it, even though I cannot say what 'it' is. A clarity and peace are present and manifest in the very midst of whatever turmoil I'm experiencing."

This, it seems to me, is one true benefit of meditation practice. It's possible to learn not to be controlled by external matters that are, by definition, beyond your control. There's much more than this to Ken's newsletter. If you're experiencing  hope you'll read it for yourself. Here, once again, is the link.

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