Morning Trip (193)

“So when these states of mind arise – restlessness, desire, fear, wanting, worry, agitation, or judgment, if only it were somehow different than it is, “I don’t like this” – what to do with them? Sit in the very middle of them and study them. Note how they feel in the body. There’s desire. Desire runs much of our world. Pay attention to see what it’s like, how do you feel it in the body, what is it like in the mind. Give clear and careful mindful attention to it, without getting caught – not suppressing it, or trying to get it to go away, and not getting involved. Just noting, “desire, desire, wanting,” until you come to see its nature and you come to some balance where you’re not so caught up in it or afraid of it.

The same for anger. Most of us are either afraid of it and stuff it down or we act it out. See if when judgment or anger arises you can just sit and note, “angry, furious, judging,” whatever it is, and feel it. Heat, movement, energy in the body, certain contractions, different qualities of mind, see if it is possible to experience that energy and learn from it. See how it changes, what it does to you, what its flavor is, its effect on you, and then maybe you can learn not to be quite so caught in it. It doesn’t mean it won’t still come, heaven knows, but your relationship to it can be a wiser one. Do it again and again – with fear, with all the kinds of mental states that come up, especially the difficult ones – until you can sit and allow them to come and go like cows or sheep in the meadow.

What if they’re very strong, what if they’re too difficult, they’re really, really hard, what should you do? You’re so restless you just can’t stand it, what to do? Die! Be the first to ever die of restlessness. Just say, “Fine, take me.” Surrender to it and let it kill you. And what you discover if you do that is that in a way you die; what dies is your resistance to it, and that you just carry on. You discover this powerful capacity we have, if you work with it, to open to all of our experience and find some balance in it.”
– Jack Kornfield
Householder Series

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