Suffering and Mood – August 12 2017

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.
Hafiz
         
Before I learned to meditate, I always was looking for something, anything, to take away the pain I was in. And it was painful to be me at that time. I don’t say this to be dramatic. That simply was the way life felt. I hurt in every moment, except those where I was able to distract myself. In retrospect I see a few of the components that made up the experience of suffering I was in.
 
First was the fact that I was filled with stresses. A lifetime of experiences had imprinted themselves on me, and each day was a re-triggering of all these fight or flight, overwhelming reactions to life within me. It was uncomfortable to be in my body; so even though I did my best to practice present moment awareness, achieving it was a mixed blessing, at the best of times.
 
Second, I was not in conscious contact with the field of all possibility on a regular basis, as we are when we meditate. Of course we can’t help but be in contact with that field, since we are that field; still, identified as we are with the small self, with the ego, before meditation it was a rare thing actually to feel that connection. With meditation, the connection is there always, and all we need do is turn in its direction to receive healing and inspiration from it. When I feel myself ‘at one with’ this field, the discomfort of this one small speck of the field–me–simply disappears. Without knowledge of this truth, our pain and suffering swells to take up all the space there is in our world and becomes our sole experience of life. Knowing this truth, we rise above the pain and the suffering. We are healed.
 
Third, I did not know then how to choose my mood. I was at the mercy of my feelings, at the mercy of all the uncomfortable body sensations and the stories my mind told me to explain to me why I had them. How do I feel? Bad. Why do I feel bad? Because you are bad. Bad is all you deserve to feel.
 
What is different today? One, by meditating each day, the stresses unwind from the body, leaving us more and more free and clear, ready to be present to life. Two, by meditating each day, we are ever more fully in contact with this place within, this field of all possibilities, and fed by this field. Three, meditation helps us to feel better, day by day. And on those days when we do not feel so good, we no longer have to be identified with the feelings. The feelings simply are. The feelings are evidence of stresses leaving our body. Though we may not have a choice as to how we feel, as meditators we do have a choice as to our mood. I do not have to be dragged down by the negative feelings. I can let them be and I can choose joy. I can choose graciousness and gratitude. I can choose not to suffer. I can choose life.
 
Today I will assume a joyful mood, even if a situation ‘tells me’ I should suffer, or be in fear, or hate some one, or hate some thing, or hate life, or hate myself.
Waitress, Glendale, CA
All original material copyright © 2017 Jeff Kober