[Jan 2013] Meditation and Acceptance

I think I just found something important in my meditation practice. Kabat-Zinn had a metaphor in his book, that I really liked but then I completely forgot about it. He said that meditation is like sitting out to the banks of the river of our thoughts for a while, instead of flowing with the river. Just watching and listening to the river and its constant flow, without letting it carry us away. Whatever happens inside the river, it is nothing more than a thought, not the absolute truth. When we feel something, it is not more than just a feeling. When we think something, it is not more than a thought, generated by our mind. And it really is possible to look at thoughts as mere thoughts, feelings as mere feelings, just watching them, accepting them just the way they are, and not letting them have too much power on us.

I learned so far how to be alert and mindful to some degree, how to focus and concentrate, how to empty my mind temporarily, by just focusing on my breath for example. But when this metaphor got my attention again, and when I first discovered mindscape¬†meditation, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t fully comprehend true acceptance yet. I can’t really just watch things and accept them the way they are, with the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of them. I still have the irresistible urge to be something else than I am, to feel something else than I feel, to think something else than I think, to be somewhere else where I am, and to be some other time, than right now. If I really think about it, my whole life was about always wanting to be more and better, wanting to do everything better and better. And to be honest, this attitude has brought me really far, I should be grateful for that. I think that’s why it is very difficult for me to think about meditation differently. No matter how hard I try, meditation is still a tool for me that makes me more and makes me better every day. That’s why I am doing it. Acceptance is very hard for me, but I feel I can undestand a little of it and of its importance, and I might be able to embrace it even more some day. My mind can understand it, but my heart just can’t yet. My mind can understand that thoughts are just thoughts, feelings are just feelings, and I am already perfectly whole and fine, and wherever I go, I am already where I should be, and I am already who I am supposed to be. And if I can’t embrace this way of thinking, I will always be just chasing dreams, and I won’t be able to be who I really am, and I won’t be able to live in the present. My mind generates thoughts and feelings constantly for me, that I usually take as absoulte truths, I overrate them. My mind judges and labels everything as good or bad. But these are also just the products of my mind, and maybe only true to some degree. What will I lose if I don’t judge everything all the time? If I don’t judge my thoughts, if I don’t judge my feelings, if I don’t judge myself? Nothing I think. If I really think about it, my life will much better without it.

I also experienced what happens to me, when I drink a glass of wine. Then my mind starts working a little differently, I know the feeling very well. It stops generating negative thoughts all the time, it stops evaluating and judging everything, it stops naming and labeling things, it just feels good the way it is. I guess anti-depressants do the same trick with the brain, I’ve never tried that. But I am not willing to accept that I need either of these to feel calm and satisfied with what there is! I truly believe that this feeling and attitude can be embraced with meditation practice.

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