Thursday, October 30, 2014


Using my attention in meditation is a powerful tool.  Getting more sensitive to how I am thinking increases the flexibility of my mind so that I can employ different perspectives more completely and faster.  Say, for instance, that my father-in-law misses having his daughter in his house, there to talk to at the table and to enjoy.  He can't help seeing me as the beast who stole his daughter.  He is older and wiser than me and I know it.  I respect him and I know my wife loves him.  Normally, I would see things from their perspectives as well as my own and express my respect for him, for the father-daughter love between them and for the wonderful woman he helped create and raise.  But his power and maturity intimidate me.  I am threatened and you know the typical reaction of a threatened male animal - anger, gruffness, hostility, maybe a little (very adult, of course) petulance thrown in.

At least being aware of the state of my mind and emotions gives me a little insight into what I am doing inside.  I can respect the fear and threat I feel as normal biological tools of self preservation built into my DNA over millennia, nothing to be ashamed of, as such.  However, I can also see that a little love for my wife and her father would go a long way to helping us all get along together and appreciate the gifts and strengths we have.
Seeing my reactions for what they are, neither shameful nor a good guide to action, helps me find tools that take me and those I love to a better situation.  I may be too threatened at first to see past my reactions but the inner light that is trained by meditation shines as soon as it can on the whole situation.  I see his fears, my fears, her fears more clearly for what they are and I get the strength to tolerate them and work on both appreciating them and transforming them.  Even though I have practiced observing my mind and feelings, I don't always that the power to accept the layout of feelings and expressions right away but the back of my mind keeps bringing my attention back to what I am doing and thinking.  That gives me the chance to see things in their full implications and to work with them.

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