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Now We’re Finally Getting Nowhere!

October 12, 2012

(A recent conversation between teacher and student in a meditation class. Or was that in my head? Hard to say.)

“I was really having a rough day yesterday, what with the company stock price doing what it did and I was so stressed out I just had to do something. I decided to meditate to get my head straight and it was a fiasco! Over and over, I found myself caught up in one nightmare scenario after another. Then I would notice I was caught up in it all and I’d bring myself back to my breath. No sooner than I had returned and it seemed like I was back into the muck again. I was really frustrated and I could feel a knot in the pit of my stomach.”

“Excellent!” I reply enthusiastically.

“No, you don’t get it. I was tense and riled up and my mind was so stuck on what might happen if this keeps up and my retirement fund shrinks more. It was like my brain was a broken record, playing out the worst case over and over. I couldn’t stop it no matter what I tried. It just kept up.”

“Wow! You were quite aware of the ‘full catastrophe’ weren’t you?” I exclaim.

“Well, yes, yes I was, but I really had the idea that the meditation would help me get centered and out of the mental rat race I was in. I had the thought that ‘this just isn’t working for me today’ and I felt really disappointed in myself for not being able to calm myself down. It was like this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.”

“Ahhh,” I exclaimed. “Interesting. Anything else?”

“Ummm, well I guess I noticed that the sinking feeling was really uncomfortable and I had the thought that ‘maybe I’m not cut out for this meditation stuff. I ought to have managed this much better than I did.’ And I guess I got a little sad too. And this reminded me of how badly I’m managing my money and then I was back on the hamster wheel of my thoughts about the market. It all felt so fruitless!”

“Hmm. Fruitless huh? Were you hoping for apples or bananas?”

“What? I don’t get it. I didn’t actually want fruit! I just meant that all that time on the cushion seems completely wasted because I couldn’t change the anxious and sad feelings that came up. No matter how much I tuned into my breath, I didn’t get anywhere!”

“Where did you think you were going to go, sitting cross-legged on a lifeless meditation cushion? Paris?” I say with a smile.

“You know what I mean. I couldn’t change how I felt and all I could do was to watch it all unfold, including my frustration over wanting it to be different, the sinking feeling, the frustration, the sadness. Coming back to my breath, over and over again, getting lost, getting tangled up, coming back. And through it all, wanting it to change and get better, wanting to feel better, differently.”

“Oh, I see. You wanted things to change because now you’re meditating?”


“What would it be like to let go of wanting anything to be any different in the moment?

“I don’t know. It wouldn’t be my usual mode of doing things, that’s for sure!”

“How’s that mode working out for you?”

“Hmmm. Not so well lately.

“Now we’re getting nowhere!”


One Comment leave one →
  1. Ed Harpin permalink
    October 15, 2012 10:58 am




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