accepting things as they are

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  • Steven
    Member
    • Sep 2013
    • 114

    accepting things as they are

    I am going through some tough times right now, and I find it increasingly difficult to accept things as they are. It's easier to let go of my thoughts of "I should have done this" or "what if it happened this way" when I'm sitting, but when I get off of the Zafu, it's almost as if I've forgotten how to accept things. It does help if I have a task to perform and I can be mindful of my work, but once I stop the thoughts flood back into my mind. I don't have a particular question; I just wanted to mention it and see what others at treeleaf have to say.

    Gassho,
    Steven
  • Bunny
    Member
    • Sep 2013
    • 111

    #2
    I will speak from my own experience/practice. From my own experience I have learned that sometimes when life/practice is particularly tough it's best to practice in bite sized chunks. Sometimes if I am in the middle of a strong emotional reaction or difficult external experience...I might only be able to stay with the experience for a few breaths of time. That's okay. Sometimes I need a break. I just keep coming back to it and taking those little bites as much as I can. Those little bites add up and sooner or later the big unbearable thing (whatever it is at the moment) becomes more bearable-I'm more able to practice with it for longer periods of time.

    A couple of other things that are useful to me...
    -I also find that self compassion is important during tough times.
    -Viewing the difficulty with objectivity definitely helps too.
    -If I am aware I am getting carried away in thoughts or emotions, I can use that as a wake up bell to return to the present. If I notice all the thoughts flooding into my mind I can think to myself, "there are those thoughts again. time to get back to the present" and then just gently shift my attention to whatever is going on in the present moment (sounds, smells, textures, whatever I am able to notice).

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Gassho
    Bunny

    Comment

    • Yugen

      #3
      Hey Steven,

      Awareness of what your mind does is a big deal - well done.

      Difficulty in accepting "things as they are" is a cause of great suffering - I'm sorry things are tough. Zazen doesn't offer easy answers.

      The fine print: sometimes the noise is so loud that the best you can do is white knuckle it from moment to moment - like they say, sometimes you have to "fake it 'til you make it."

      The good news: It is possible to find the stillness in the midst of the noise you experienced on the zafu at anytime however - remember to breathe and be aware of what your mind is broadcasting. Whether you are an observer of those thoughts or participant is up to you - it does take practice.

      You could have a number of mini-zazen sessions during the day if your schedule permits.... even two minutes while parked in your car or stopped at a traffic light.... standing in line at the supermarket. Like "topping off the tank", to keep your emotional reserves up.

      Thanks for this post. We are always here if you need us - let us know how things are going.

      Deep bows
      Yugen
      Last edited by Guest; 10-10-2013, 02:01 AM.

      Comment

      • Heishu
        Member
        • Sep 2012
        • 484

        #4
        Steven,

        You have already received wonderful advice. The one thing that I have told my sister is to quit beating yourself up over things that happened. Nothing can change what has happened but as it was already said having self compassion can help you deal with the thoughts of the moment. We do learn from the things of the past but dwelling on them is hurtful. One of the Precepts is "do no harm". Love yourself. If you can try, each time that those thoughts begin, stop what you are doing if you can and take three breaths. With each breath say I am in control of the present and I am not controlled by the past.

        Gassho,
        Heishu


        “Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape." Author Unknown

        Comment

        • Yugen

          #5
          Heishu,


          Thank you for a wonderful teaching I would do well to heed myself.

          Steven,
          Thank you for offering us an opportunity to practice - we are all teachers and students at the same time.

          I bow to you.

          Yugen
          Last edited by Guest; 10-10-2013, 02:17 AM.

          Comment

          • Steven
            Member
            • Sep 2013
            • 114

            #6
            Originally posted by Bunny
            -I also find that self compassion is important during tough times.
            This is one of the harder things for me to accomplish. I find it much easier to be compassionate towards others than myself.


            Originally posted by Yugen
            You could have a number of mini-zazen sessions during the day if your schedule permits.... even two minutes while parked in your car or stopped at a traffic light.... standing in line at the supermarket. Like "topping off the tank", to keep your emotional reserves up.
            Yugen, thank you for this suggestion. The thought of having mini-zazen sessions never crossed my mind. I am definitely going to try this out throughout my day.

            Gassho,
            Steven

            Comment

            • Yugen

              #7
              I'm interested to know if the mini-zazen (Jundo calls it "insta-zazen!") helps - stay in touch!

              And first of all, as good friends here have reminded us, be kind to yourself.

              Deep bows
              Yugen
              Last edited by Guest; 10-10-2013, 02:31 AM.

              Comment

              • Bunny
                Member
                • Sep 2013
                • 111

                #8
                Objectivity has been really helpful in bringing compassion to myself. If I am able to relate to myself as just "a being suffering" rather than "me with all my history, emotions, thoughts, behaviors, etc" it's much easier to get to that compassion. Sometimes a mental exercise can be useful-trying to view myself through the eyes of the ones that love me.

                I love "mini zazen"

                Gassho
                Bunny

                Comment

                • Ishin
                  Member
                  • Jul 2013
                  • 1359

                  #9
                  Metta to you and your difficult spot. We all have them. Do I think Zen has helped me in tough times? Yes!!! It is important to recall when things change, that when things seem to be going all our way Zen is important too. Good, bad, rough, easy-Zen

                  Gassho
                  C
                  Last edited by Ishin; 10-10-2013, 03:14 AM.
                  Grateful for your practice

                  Comment

                  • Mp

                    #10
                    I don't have much to add Steven that the wonderful folks here have already said. But, I do wish you much metta and hope things work out for you soon.

                    Gassho
                    Shingen

                    Comment

                    • MyoHo
                      Member
                      • Feb 2013
                      • 632

                      #11
                      Hi Sam,

                      Great advise and wise words already have been spoken here. I would like to add my thoughts (for what it is worth) if you don't mind?
                      There are two ways we can deal with all that challenge us in our lives. We can fight and live in a constant state of readiness to fight, defend, take, grab etc. outward to others but oddly enough even more so inward, aimed at ourselves. Being like a rattlesnake all the time, poised and ready to strike at an instant. There is a second way you know. One that takes a lot of courage, practice and a very different state of mind. The best word as far as I can tell ( so that is not saying much) is to SURRENDER. Dear Rev. Taigu often says: "Drop it, just drop it!" Not meaning to just lie down, take every beating you or someone else wants to give you and just give up mind you, but a very different kind of surrendering. How this works is different for everyone I'm afraid? Maybe take a broom and practice surrendering to the sweeping itself? That's a "bridging practice" I do sometimes, maybe it works for you too? Just sharing you know, not saying I know anything.

                      Gassho

                      Enkyo
                      Mu

                      Comment

                      • Emmet
                        Member
                        • Nov 2011
                        • 296

                        #12
                        Certainly the dichotomy between the way things are and how I wish they were is my greatest source of suffering. I spent most of my cushion-time (I can hardly call it zazen) last night wrestling with such things, despite Robert Aitkin roshi's observation that my aversion to the way things are is not external to me; it arises from within my own mind. When I push against it, it pushes back, and this is actually one motion, as it's me pushing against myself. Futile, frustrating, exhausting, but perhaps part of the process...and in my experience acceptance is a process, not an event. Perhaps it's because I'm such a dull practitioner; acceptance of reality only comes to me with the exhaustion of all other alternatives. Many of us must learn to accept the wholly unacceptable; my brother & sister-in-laws are just beginning to learn to accept the death of their only child; a Dharma sister the death of her grandson. I cannot find a mustard seed from a home that death has not touched. Cognitively, I understand this. Yet it's still very hard for me. Them, too.
                        Just this; just as it is.
                        May you be at peace Steven.
                        Last edited by Emmet; 10-10-2013, 11:32 AM.
                        Emmet

                        Comment

                        • Jinyo
                          Member
                          • Jan 2012
                          • 1957

                          #13
                          Metta to you Steven.

                          I think we all go through periods of rumination when it's hard to let go of stuff. My mind has been racing all over the place this week due to a difficult
                          group dynamic I'm involved in.

                          Today I thought - there should be a box on those forms - where they ask what faith you are - labelled 'failed Buddhist' - just for me

                          Please be kind to yourself and know this will pass.

                          Gassho

                          Willow

                          Comment

                          • Rich
                            Member
                            • Apr 2009
                            • 2587

                            #14
                            There is a certain angst in the human condition because we don't really know anything about the future and our thoughts are dominated by the past . Embracing this not knowing, this don't know mind happens one breath at a time like one ocean wave at a time. And as yugen says sometimes we have to white knuckle it.

                            Sent from my RM-860_nam_usa_100 using Tapatalk
                            _/_
                            Rich
                            MUHYO
                            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                            Comment

                            • Kyonin
                              Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                              • Oct 2010
                              • 6739

                              #15
                              Sometimes mental images are like zombies. When you think you killed them, they return and sometimes even stronger!

                              But being mindful of when your mind floods with crap is a good start because you can actually see where it's all coming from and eventually you'll be able to let go.

                              The more resistance, the more suffering.

                              I have found that observing life and understanding that it's me clinging to my ego and to my ideal results, I end up suffering.

                              So just surf the waves, don't oppose them!

                              Gassho,

                              Kyonin
                              Hondō Kyōnin
                              奔道 協忍

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