Posted by: scintillatingspeck | February 12, 2013

Catching the moment of that gap.

…when something stops your mind, catch the moment of that gap, that moment of big space, that moment of bewilderment, that moment of total astonishment, and let yourself rest in it a little longer than you ordinarily might. …. Usually we’re so caught up in ourselves, we’re hanging on to ourselves so tightly, that it takes a Mack truck knocking us down to wake us up and stop our minds. But really, as you begin to practice, it could just take the wind blowing the curtain.  ~ Pema Chodron

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The quote above just arrived as a gift from a beloved friend.  It caught me by surprise, so I’m dwelling in that moment, just like Pema suggests.  What has appeared in the gap?  A lot of tears.  I stopped my mind, and all these tears fell out.  I’m seizing the moment to write through it.  Can I avoid the clinging of my mind, the creation or maintenance of story lines?  Probably not.

Lily was sick last night, vomiting and crying and feeling miserable.  She’s much better this morning, but the residue of stress and exhaustion is all over me.  My mind is spinning stories about suffering and being stuck: we’ve had to cancel all of our plans for today, of course.  I feel trapped in the house, unable to see anyone face-to-face other than Lily.  On top of that, I feel less than well myself right now.  My mind is declaring, “Harrumph.  I’m grumpy.  I wish I could have a cup of tea with a friend in some cafe, and have an hours-long conversation.  I wish I didn’t feel so isolated so much of the time.  I wish I didn’t have all this laundry to deal with.  I wish I didn’t have to think about what to prepare for lunch and dinner.  I wish someone would just swoop in and take care of me and Lily.  Grumble grumble grumble.”

How can I practice stopping my mind and resting in the gap?

As is my habit now, my mind turns to the astonishing fact that we’re alive at all, and that we can be certain that life will end.  I want to relinquish the anxious beliefs that I should be making the most of every moment and I should be working my butt off at all times and I should strive for equanimity – oh, I could list an avalanche of shoulds.  I am buried under them.  The weight of the snow is unbearable.

We’re hanging on to ourselves so tightly.  There’s no prying the fingers off of ourselves.  There’s some gentle, subtle way to allow them to unfurl on their own, surely.  I don’t know what it is.  All I know is that the idea of letting myself rest in the middle of bewilderment sounds about right.  Are other people capable of this?  What is this “rest” Pema speaks of?  The more I think about rest, the more I wonder if I’ve ever rested.

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