January 3, 2011

To the Mat, Step Eleven

Many of us, human or animal, behave as if being comfortable here is our primary goal in life, and that a good life is pain-free.  

But, "If we're committed to comfort at any cost,  as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we're going to run; we'll never know what's beyond the thing we are [apprehensive about]."

By trying to hold on to the familiar,  I  became my own problem again.  My Thanksgiving relapse was neither pain-free nor comfortable (emotionally, or to my family);  when I slipped and hit my bottom I found familiar discomfort and fear. 

But the recurrence got my attention.  The message I got is that even with a program, it is possible to fall. 
I am back to keeping it simple.

I've discovered a Buddhist practitioner whose words are helping me to stop returning to my old defenses.  My job this month is to use mindfulness meditation just to be aware of life as it is happening, and to bring the practice into at least one place in my life that I don't like. That could be washing the dishes or simply getting up in the morning.   

I am beginning to see that mindfulness practiced in a relaxed fashion does not even judge the mind. Or forever point out my inadequacies.  I believe it was conditional thinking that got me here:   " If only I could do _______, every day then I'd be fixed...."  

My customary way of "taking on" a problem would be to use the following kind of thought as a motivator for my practice...."If I could meditate and calm down I would be able to be super-Smitty!" 

Catch-22's  like this prevent many of us from committing to meditation at all.    "If it weren't for my mind, my meditation would be excellent!"  What about you?  Do you also think your mind is your problem, and that it would take a magic wand for Step Eleven work for you? 

Thank HP, that I've just made "a Buddhist in a book"  the key member of my biblio-therapy team;  the local library put me in contact with a teacher that I can read again and again.  With this author's help,  I will make meditation my practice. 

Over this coming month I plan to allow myself to remain uncomfortable as I put an emphasis on a meditation practice. My nun has reminded me that it is kinder and more joyful and interesting, to develop my curiosity-- without trying so hard to fix my life!    I already like the the first taste of the teachings, as I tear the juicy meat with my teeth. I am quite willing to use the whole carcass, even down to sucking the last flavor from the bones. Twenty minutes at at time, is enough for me.

With my Buddhist's guidance and my learning to laugh, I may finally accept that the world does not need any more "Super Smittys!" 

Let each of us find our way to be seated 20 minutes at a time. 


  1. being an existential buddhist i so enjoy the love of simple...the pain that is there will always be there, we are the ones that have to detach from it and a lot of other things but it is so possible and what lays on the other side, well for me that's the miracle!!!

  2. To fix or avoid-? breathe and allow.

  3. I am so glad that there are others ahead of me on this path. Thanks Gabriella and izzy! I am humbled, but relieved at the simplicity of Buddhism. No wayward minds left behind!


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