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Issues… Struggles…etc

July 12, 2010

Man oh man, the past week or so have seen some serious struggles personally. I’ve had some news and was forced to come to terms with impermanence in a way I wasn’t really prepared for. This has knocked me around a bit, and has steered me way off course.

Some others, who are close to me, are unaware of the news so there aren’t many details to explain. I’ve had a time and a half trying to get myself on the cushion. I know it is there that I can really try to focus on this thing, but once I get there my mind is unfocused and wants to go other places. I know this is my minds way off not dealing with this, but at some point I am going to have to force it to do so.

Unfortunately, the low quality of sitting, or lack thereof, has created chaos for me. Irritation is at an all time high, and for lack of a better description, I’ve been an asshole lately. My lack of motivation is irritating folks as well, especially those in my household. As usual, I turned to the internet for some semblance of balance, whether it was a quote, help from a friend, etc.

The teaching appeared to me though, not during my search but while I was just checking out a page, frustrated with the search.

Most of us dread bad or uncomfortable situations, wondering what we can do to make them less unpleasant. But as far as the [Dharma] practice is concerned, that isn’t the point. Surrendering to a situation might indeed make us feel better, but that is not the purpose of the exercise. Surrendering allows us to feel the qualities of a situation and to see things clearly. If we turn away or respond with aggression, we never get the chance to do that.

So even if you feel the situation that’s about to unfold might be so embarrassing, frightening, or difficult you would never recover from it, just open to it. It may appear like a high wall that you can’t see beyond, but you will pass through it and come out the other side. It’s going to happen anyway, and one way or another you will deal with it. So take the attitude “Even if this situation destroys me…” Logically, you know this won’t happen. You will live through the experience. But by entering into the situation with openness, you have a chance to see its nature. You get to taste the whole situation, just as you would in formless meditation. You get to treat it as a guest rather than an adversary.
SOURCE: Rigdzin Shikpo, Never Turn Away: The Buddhist Path Beyond Hope and Fear

So, I guess it’s time to invite this discomfort in and deal with it now, rather than when it becomes raw and unbearable. In this situation, one may ask “Why me?” Hell, I think I even asked myself the same thing, but had a quick answer, “because that’s the way it is!”

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 3:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing so honestly!
    When I feel upset, unmotivated, irritated, etc.. my practice is to be with that feeling without the added layer of ‘i shouldn’t be feeling this’ or ‘it’s wrong to feel like this’.
    My teacher has told me that: it’s not wrong to feel bad, it’s just bad. When I don’t add the extra layer of judgment to the original feeling, it passes more quickly

  2. Tony Miller permalink
    July 13, 2010 8:42 pm

    Hang in there as best you can Nate.

  3. nathan permalink
    July 12, 2010 9:27 pm

    hang in there. i appreciate the honesty of your post.

  4. July 12, 2010 5:30 pm


    Thanks for the comment and sharing your story here. I totally understand the situation you mention, and I probably would have reacted the same way. Like yourself, I am so very much at the beginning of this path as well. The lessons we’re learned via teachings seem so easy to implement, but in the real world… yeah that’s a whole different story.

    The best we can do though is keep on with it and try the best we can. Bit by bit, with experience of course, it will hopefully get easier!

  5. Greg Horton permalink
    July 12, 2010 3:50 pm

    I hope things get better for you Nate.

    You know it’s funny you mention this. I had a deep struggle over the weekend, letting anger really take hold of me and direct way too much negative energy towards a group of kids at a fair who thought it was great to cut in line too many times while my son and I waited long and patiently. Once I decided to speak up and they were not respecting me I lost it. It was a short outburst but embarassing for my son and me, and it made me question all of the work I have been doing for these past few years. I haven’t learned enough to just take a few seconds to think about the right reaction to have (Right Action, Right Effort, Right Speech, Right Intent…it was all way off base). It was a really deep struggle that I still am trying to overcome. This has not happened in years. It makes me feel really hypocritical about what I’ve been trying to become, when I still have that on the inside. But one thing that helped was to try and bring things back to the present moment again, and openly discuss with my family how this happened and how important it is to learn from it and use it as a tool for improvement, and not try to hide anything (which was my initial reaction). Now I am feeling like I did OK in dealing with it after the fact and teaching some valuable lessons to my son, and I can move on.

    I have not had a deep learning experience like this in a long time. Relating to your quote, it did feel like that situation could destroy me but then deciding to approach it with openness really helped.

    I wish you the best with what you are dealing with now.


  6. July 12, 2010 3:48 pm

    Who wants to “Open” themselves to all situations? Isn’t it enough for me to “pick my battles” with the forces I think need my discerning effort? Each time I feel good about dealing with one thing, I get blindsided by something else where I’m not prepared Buddhist-wise to deal with it.

    In other words, I know where you’re coming from . . .

    michael j

  7. July 12, 2010 1:07 pm

    Surrendering, being transparent… seeing things as they really are and not as we want them to be. Probably the toughest lesson.

    You are not alone!

  8. July 12, 2010 12:38 pm

    I hope things get better for you soon man. Great quote!

  9. July 12, 2010 11:24 am

    Great Quote! I needed that little message today myself.


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