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Sitting With Our Discomfort

Updated: Jan 16

"In meditation we discover our inherent restlessness. Sometimes we get up and leave. Sometimes we sit there but our bodies wiggle and squirm and our minds go far away. This can be so uncomfortable that we feel's it's impossible to stay. Yet this feeling can teach us not just about ourselves but

what it is to be human...we really don't want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present.


These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down...so whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to "stay and settle down. Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay! Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay! Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay! What's for lunch? Stay! I can't stand this another minute! Stay!" ~ Pema Chödrön


Why is this so important? Because when we can train ourselves…yep, I said train because that’s what we’re doing - we are re-training our brains. Basically meaning, our unconsciousness, programmed, knee-jerk responses. So when we can sit in our anxiety, in our discomfort, in our restlessness, when we can come back to ourselves in those challenging moments in our practice a few minutes each day, we begin to notice, over time, that we are able to sit with our discomfort in any moment that presents itself in any part of our day.


And why does that matter, you ask? Because when we are able to sit with ourselves in all degrees of our uncomfortable feelings, not only are we less likely to fall into our habituated ways of coping, we are more likely to begin to understand ourselves on a deeper level. Which is the beginning of loving and accepting ourselves just the way we are. Remembering that, we’re not trying to change or get rid of anything, we’re simply wishing to understand and bring love and compassion to the deepest most disowned aspects of ourselves.


When we get to this point of loving and accepting ourselves, the changes that are needed to sustain us, take care of themselves naturally. I wonder if this isn’t the true meaning of letting go. I also wonder if this isn't the true meaning of loving ourselves on the deepest level.

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