Monday, February 12, 2007
One Further Thought
So let me end with these additional words (abridged) from Pema Chöndrön’s “Awakening Loving-Kindness”:
[The Buddha] taught that there is a kind of innocent misunderstanding that we all share…as if we were in a dark room and someone showed us where the light switch was. It isn’t a sin that we are in a dark room. It’s just an innocent situation…
The innocent mistake… is that we are never encouraged to see clearly what is with gentleness. Instead there is a kind of basic misunderstanding that we should try to be better than we already are, that we should try to get away from painful things, and if we could just learn how to get away from painful things, then we would be happy. That is the innocent, naive misunderstanding that we all share, which keeps us unhappy.
Meditation is about seeing clearly… It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now… It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness…
The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself. … Our neurosis and wisdom are made of the same material. If you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom. Someone who is very angry also has a lot of energy; that energy is what’s so juicy … that’s the reason people love that person.
The idea isn’t to try to get rid of your anger, but to make friends with it, to see it clearly with precision and honesty, and also to see it with gentleness. …The gentleness involves not repressing the anger but also not acting it out. It is something much softer and more openhearted. … So whether its anger or craving or jealousy or fear or depression- whatever it might be- the notion is not to try to get rid of it, but to make friends with it. That means getting to know it completely… and… once you’ve experienced it fully, to let it go.