Weekly thoughts and insights from participants of the Finding Centre meditation class series:
This week’s contribution is by Eric Smith:
In reflecting on Cara’s class I’ve been contemplating what I really mean when I say I’m “feeling good”. What is my definition of “good” to begin with? It seems to me that “good” is purely based on my personal preferences, on things going my way or at least in alignment with most of my expectations. Unfortunately this kind of good is pretty flimsy and unreliable. As soon as life throws a sucker punch my way my good feeling is gone because I didn’t get what I wanted. We all know life is full of unexpected surprises some of them to our liking, some of them not and we all know we can’t always get what we want.
So why do we bother meditating and making an effort to cultivate a “good” state if it can just be pulled out from under our feet so easily? Ahh well a good state is quite different from what I just defined as simply feeling good. In class, Cara referred to this state as the “Ultimate Good”!!! (queue cavernous reverb and deep echoing voice) Oooh sounds like some kind of peak experience where I never have to feel bad ever again right?! Well… kind of… but not the way you might think. The ultimate good Cara is talking about is a state of balance where we are not subject to the causes and conditions of what we define as “good” or “bad”. We simply see things as they are.
This “ultimate good” is starting to sound less and less exciting isn’t it? So we just reach this state of balance and from there on our lives just flat line and become some kind of cold, robotic, emotionless and passionless experience? Nope it’s not like that either. You will still feel shitty those mornings when your alarm goes off at 6am for work while the night before you were up until 1am in complete rapture after having seen the new Star Wars movie in theatres for the third time in a row. You will likely still feel rejected when you finally work up the nerve to tell that girl you’ve had a crush on for a while how you feel and she breaks it to you that she’s a lesbian. And you might even still feel frustrated and annoyed when you sit down to meditate and for the love of God, your mind will just not shut up with that new Nick Jonas song you heard on radio earlier that day for the entire forty minute duration of your sit.
All these and other such similar things will happen, that’s life. We just realize we don’t need to take it all so personally. You might even be able to have a good laugh about it all. When a feeling arises, we acknowledge it, see it for what it is and just allow it to be. We don’t need to fight it and we don’t need to feed it. It doesn’t mean that our emotions just magically up and vanish. It’s that we don’t go throwing all sorts of fuel on the fire until we have a raging inferno to deal with rather than one little hot ember. The hot ember still burns but it’s much less all consuming than our self perpetuated emotional inferno. If we practice cultivating this kind of perspective we can learn to live from a place of truly knowing that, as Cara said, “It’s all good even when it’s not good.” and as our teacher Doug Duncan Sensei says, “It’s not personal even when it’s personal.”
Join us in the new year for our next series of classes called: Heart Matters (click the link for more info!)