My regular Thursday and Sunday posts have been rather irregular for I remain in a free fall flare or the state of still falling apart, which is not to say it is not enlightening for it is.
As a dear friend pointed out, a flare is a flash of light, and this recent lupus flare is full of light for me. It is not so much a matter of physical or emotional discomfort but more a matter of “nowness” as Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche calls it:
“The way to relax, or rest the mind in nowness, is through the practice of meditation.
“In meditation you take an unbiased approach.
You let things be as they are, without judgment, and in that way you yourself learn to be.”
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
I, myself, learning to be is what this flare feels like, if not quite a true free fall at least in constant motion. Sometimes, the flare feels like a game of pinball, silver-steeled balls bumping up against this teaching only to zip over to that tradition and back up to yet another healing alternative–all disappearing only to re-emerge.
No doubt that sounds rather scattered and perhaps unpleasant but it does not feel that way. Frankly, it feels like heightened awareness for unlike the game of pinball, I am allowed to sit in the energy of each moment and explore it through the practice of meditation.
“Sitting meditation opens us to each and every moment of our life. Each moment is totally unique and unknown….
“This very moment, free of conceptual overlay, is completely unique. It is absolutely unknown.
“We’ve never experienced this very moment before, and the next moment will not be the same as the one we are in now.
“Meditation teaches us how to relate to life directly, so that we can truly experience the present moment, free from conceptual overlay.”
(Pema Chödrön, How to Meditate: A Practical Guide)
In the eyes open meditation that Pema Chödrön is describing, we separate the storyline or thoughts–the conceptual overlay– from the energy of the emotion or sensation we are feeling. In essence, we are open to it.
I am new to the eyes open meditation that Pema Chödrön advocates and first tried it during the online retreat offered by the Omega Institute. In eyes open meditation, the gaze is downward but the head is erect and one is constantly aware of what is occurring in the present moment.
“Open the eyes, because it furthers this idea of wakefulness. We are not meditating in hopes of going further into sleep, so to speak.
“We are not internalizing. This isn’t a transcendental type of meditation where you’re trying to go to special states of consciousness.
“Rather, we meditate to become completely open to life— and to all the qualities of life or anything that might come along”
(Pema Chödrön, How to Medicate: A Practical Guide).
Meditating with my eyes open was not as difficult as I thought it might be, even the first time, but then, I have the advantage of being in a flare, of being in a flash of light. In a flare, it is obvious that the gift of any moment of discomfort is present moment awareness.
Beyond the flare, practicing this wakeful kind of meditation at the start of my day prepares me for the post-meditation moments. Sitting meditation isn’t always comfortable and neither is life but meditation helps us sit down into the shifting emotional energy that flows through our daily lives.
We learn to go deep, beneath the conceptual overlay or storyline, to the energy of our emotions, of our pain. When we sit within the energy of our pain, we see into the state of us. There, we begin to heal—to suffer less—for we accept the alternating pain and pleasure that is the nature of our human condition, part and parcel. We, ourselves, learn to be.
Thank you for reading my blog. It matters a great deal to me that you do.