Now that anxiety’s grip has loosened, I see now how all my responses were severely restricted by it, and how constricted and imprisoned I felt. My responses to each life situation were not free, they were made with a limited range of options and energy. That is when I notice I revert to ‘scriptyness’. Unnatural responses made while feeling self conscious, not free open and undefended. Its pretty interesting to note the difference. I had almost got used to the anxiety as it lingered for day after day, but not quite. I still had a bodily memory of not having it, and knew I was suffering.
I also notice that life’s experiences have opened up again. I can feel the sun on my face walking out the door and really really be right in the experience. The experience of swimming was different this morning. I loved every minute of it, I wasn’t rushing to get onto the next thing I need to do. I was there fully and nothing else existed for the duration. It is easier to see and allow and let go of the various thoughts that come and go to, they didn’t have such a hook on my attention. I was able to express myself at that group meeting last night completely naturally and I wasn’t afraid to be open. It was an intimate sharing.
One of the things I noticed that the therapist said yesterday was that our goal is the cessation of suffering. I was glad to be reminded of that. I often forget that, and think that my goal is to be a better war tank, or increase my ability to bear suffering. I forgot that it was even possible. This of course leads to a bracing of oneself, defending instead of an opening.
I think I have also been afraid to turn towards my suffering, and have been flinching away from it, hoping it will go away. I asked for his help to enable me to turn towards it, as I knew this was the way to deal with it. Buddha didn’t run away from the voices of Mara under the tree, he welcomed them all, was open to them but was simply not distracted or knocked off his centre of awareness.
We talked about turning towards our suffering with compassion. And I liked how he mentioned love to, which is he said, compassion.
We talked too of equanimity as a goal. This was good to clarify for myself too. The way to gain equanimity isn’t to squirm away from any perceived threats to it. Its to see through the temptations, the’threats’, to fully understand that absolutely nothing can threaten that part of us that remains permanently constant. So to gain equanimity we are not trying to develop some new quality in ourselves that we don’t have, we are rediscovering what we have, who we actually are at our core.
I am very pleased that I now have a coach to help me remember, and to help me break some old habits.
I really like what you said about “the part of us that remains permanently constant.” That’s something I’ve noticed when I’m really present to the moment, but often forget to connect with in my daily life. But it’s comforting to know that there is a part of us that can’t be hurt by the difficulties we face each day.