Arriving Home :: Putting The Pieces Back Together
Putting The Pieces Back Together
"We don't sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation to become more awake in our lives." ~ Pema Chodron
What does it mean to be awake? What does it mean to not turn away or repel discomfort in all of its variety? What does it mean to be okay with our pleasures and comforts going away?
There have been times in my life when the only place I knew I could find a sense of familiarity and home was in my meditation practice. When my external environments were in flux because of moves or breakups. When workplaces were not easy. When life just felt like it stopped flowing or making sense. The only place I could count on to feel "okay" was in my practice.
Sometimes we have no choice to show up to our meditation because it's the only place we know will not disillusion us. This also means that at times, meditation itself is not comfortable or easy. During really challenging times, I can remember the mixture of aversion and craving I had for meditation. I craved my meditation because I knew it would make me see clearly and honestly what was happening for me in my mind, body and heart. And at the same time, I would be dragging my heart kicking and screaming to my meditation because I knew it would be really difficult to sit with the intense emotions, thoughts and experiences I brought with me. Being honest about the truth of our reality can be immensely hard at times. But what we also know is you only have two choices when you're in moments of brokenness: you can continue to hide or you can turn and look at your broken pieces directly with as much compassion as you can.
Being awake means in the midst of life's up and downs, there is an opportunity to meet the present moment with clear eyes and compassion. Our human landscape is so rich for practicing compassion, knowing that feelings of insecurity, uncertainty, anxiety and fear are a universal experience everyone has felt before. When we turn towards our brokenness and humanness instead of distracting ourselves away from it, true strength and resilience can be found.
Inner strength is what begins the process of putting the pieces back together. This means showing up to be with yourself even when it is the last thing you want to do. When you show up, you become stronger - even if it doesn't feel that way at first. Meditation is a cumulative practice. Each time you show up, are with yourself and the present moment and do not distract yourself from how you are really feeling, strength and the ability to love are built.
Being broken is not as bad as society makes it out to be, because it is in our brokenness where clear understanding and the deeper ability to love can be found. Buddhist teachings point us towards an experience of being okay with the impermanent nature of our lives. I have found that if we can find some degree of feeling "okay" when we are broken, we help alleviate the sting of our sufferings.
Even when life is not going our way, knowing that we are "okay" also helps put the pieces back together. Emotions will come and go in varying degrees, and thoughts are just a creation of our mind - they don't define us. Deep down, knowing that we are okay even when our thoughts and emotions may be telling a different story helps heal the pieces and leads us down the path of feeling whole again.
A Practice For Returning To Wholeness
Loving kindness, the practice of sending well wishes to ourselves and others, is much like a healing balm for our wounds of brokenness. If you can learn to wish yourself well even when you feel broken, your muscle of inner strength and compassion will grow and blossom.
Gently repeat the following phrases silently in your mind during your meditation or at anytime that is needed:
May I know healing and peace.
May my mind find equanimity.
May I meet my hardships and truths with compassion.
May I find wholeness and ease. May I find wholeness and ease.
May you be strong and courageous as you put the pieces back together and heal.
With Love, Amanda