Zen, Tao, and the difficult.

It’s how we respond during the difficult times that tells us who we are. That’s what the difficult times provide for us, the opportunity to attend clearly, and respond in balance.

I know that’s easy to write or say and not so easy to remember when we are caught up in a difficult situation. But, it’s why we practice awareness. Over a period of time we start to see the rising of the emotional structure when it starts, not in the middle or when it’s over when we are doing the instant replay in our mind.

One of my guides was always insisting that all emotional structure starts in the body. So our feelings (emotions) actually start with feelings (physical sensations.) I never thought that was true but I think that’s because at one point I realized that I was never in my body long enough to recognize the beginning signs of emotional response. I am a drug/alcohol addict in remission, I hadn’t lived in my body for decades. I lived primarily in my mind. Now that I have an ongoing awareness practice I can see that the emotions start in the body.

It might be a tightening of the area around the eyes, a clenched hand, that empty butterfly feeling in the stomach, or a narrowing of the senses which actually are our bodies, although we sometimes confuse them with mind. Sight is the body seeing first, not the mind’s interpretation of what we see.

So, when we recognize those signs in the body that are the early warning signs of emotional reaction, we find we can start working to have some jurisdiction over how we respond. It’s the minds early warning system. We can start to deconstruct any possible conditioned emotional outburst by seeing it a light year before the emotions can hijack the ability to use our thought structures to ensure a safe response. You know you can respond in a skillful way because you have responded in skillful ways. We all have had some practice at that.

Knowing this and being able to put it into practice meant that I started to be able to handle “difficult times” in a totally different way. People around me noticed that I had changed. It didn’t happen overnight and it required some ongoing practice. I think a sitting practice helped although there is no need to start practicing Zen or Tao to be able to start noticing your bodies reactions. It means you need to find a way to practice noticing.

Many of us live in our mind. That means we live in relationship to what we think and that acts as a barrier to experiencing that which we are thinking about. It’s like always using a camera to view life. Your not getting the full impact and experience. So making that commitment to move from mind focus to mind and body attention will open a new world.

I encourage people to start an awareness practice. That means finding a way to focus on the above information. It doesn’t matter what practice you choose as long as you decide to commit to developing ways to experience your life without the conditioned reactions. I have never met anyone who hasn’t been successful to some degree once they started to become consciously aware of the body.

Let me know if you find this useful. Pass it along if you think it might help.

Bog Bows to you,

Bryan

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