When we say we want change, on a societal or personal level, we mean only certain types. I mean, I want to be a “better person”, but I’d prefer to skip the bifocals if that’s cool. Change in that direction is scary, for it reminds us of our own ephemerality.
The most honest line I’ve heard to describe how meditation changes people, or at least how meditation has changed me, is: “Hurt more, suffer less.” Things go through more quickly, because there’s less blocking and protecting. But they also hurt more, because … there’s less blocking and protecting. That’s what happens when you let life in.
Fortunately, a similar dynamic applies to the sweetness of everyday pleasures.
So how do we heal from lifelong habits forged in times we can hardly remember? What can we realistically expect when it comes to healing and addressing the deep traumas and challenges of our lives? And how does this healing relate to the larger social and intergenerational trauma all around us? Because none of this happens in isolation. My struggles have emerged out of my own unique circumstances of nature and nurture, but also from the cumulative trauma of the families that made my parents, and theirs, and so on, as well as the societies that informed all of them. Including this one. There’s so much healing needed, individually and collectively, as a species and as a planet, it can be hard to even know where to start.
As I deepen into questions of identity and ecopsychology, I am coming to experience the nature and the wilderness that appear beyond or outside of me as extensions of the nature and the wilds within me. Meditation offers us the opportunity to sit within ourselves and to clarify our true natures.
Rest for me was equivalent to unproductiveness, boredom, and weakness. “You can sleep when you’re dead” – I used to say all the time. I used this to justify overworking, staying too late at the party, or taking on too much. “I don’t have time to rest.” That was another one I used to tell myself. What I didn’t know then, was this was a boundaries issue. I didn’t actually have time to rest. Trying to carve out a 5 minute meditation in my day seemed impossible. And 8 full hours of sleep? Forget about it.
By Tasha Schumann
Relaxing with wakeful attention makes space for what is hiding in plain sight: the natural creativity of mind. Each moment of experience is already a complete display of creativity. Everything that prances across the stage of the mind – thoughts, feelings, stories, perceptions, beliefs, images, memories – is totally, artfully unique to the experiencer.
By Luke Anderson
The tools and practices we employ to help support and promote our well-being, be they musical, meditative, contemplative, creative, active or ingestible, open us to recognize and receive the insights that emerge. Sometimes in surprising ways.
We usually think of concentration like any other skill; we get better at it with practice, by applying more effort. While the former is absolutely true, the latter is not always so, and in fact trying harder to concentrate often leads to more inner turmoil. Like a Chinese finger trap, the more I tried to escape my restless, distractible nature, the more stuck in it I became.
It’s December, our favourite CEC theme: “Fuck it”.
Yes. Rescue me please from my precious pieties and grown-up self-regard.
And all the hand-wringing about “getting it right.” The tut-tutting on meditation postures and the microschools of thought on which subcontinental strand of Buddhism is most pure.
Truly: Fuck it.