Monday, November 19, 2012

The Blessing of Awareness

Funny thing about Thanksgiving, the opening event of the season of ritual correctness and hopeful anticipation. It seems the entire cast of our inner feelings and voices want to be invited in too, especially the ones we don't usually allow in the front door: the painful pitiful ones, the ones who lurk in darkness, the ones that make us numb ourselves. So before you leave for the event, be sure to fluff up your inner witness.

If you've ever meditated, you have that witness in your tool chest, that witness who is present to the rise and fall of emotions without being carried away by their power. The factory model comes equipped with compassion, curiosity, love and tenderness. When a bit of fear or resentment or a feeling of being left out or under appreciated comes into your awareness, it's important your inner witness puts her arm around her and breathes with her and then lets her go. She does best if she doesn't become the center of attention.

Martha Beck has a great suggestion. Think of a person (or situation) you love, but about whom you feel some level of anxiety, anger or sadness. Think how your loved one (read that as the dark anxious part) must alter her behavior before you can be content. Then complete the following sentence by filling in the name that fits (a person for example or a feeling) and the way you'd feel if the change occurred.
If _____would only_____, then I could feel_____. Then scratch out the first clause and all that remains is I could feel _____. This last sentence is the truth. The cooperation of others or even parts of yourself would be nice, nevertheless, you can feel the way you want to. Even peaceful.

Perhaps something that has worked for me when I've gone to events I'm not sure about may work for you too. I imagine I'm in a foreign country. I don't know the customs or even the people. I'm an interested and neutral observer entertained by the local way of doing things.

Baruch ata me to enjoy my big noisy family and their many friends. Help me to use all my tools and  be amused and enriched by their enthusiasms. May I feel peaceful and thankful. Amen

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