My response

I’ve had something profound happen that I, unfortunately, cannot write about in any depth or specificity yet as there is still a great deal of fear attached to what has occurred. I’ve been experiencing abject fear since last week with this particular person, and it has come to a head.

By the grace of the universe, I am able to extricate myself from having this person in my life. Or at least I will be able to do so in short order.

I’ve spent the better part of the last few days dreading tomorrow when I will finally see this person since our last interaction. I’ve alternated between realistic and calm brain, and fearfully active brain. I’ve hiked, gone for walks, talked with friends in person and on the phone, and still the fear would not leave my being. I even resorted to watching a bad movie last night for distraction to no avail. The movie, You, Me and Dupree did not serve as a distraction for me, but that could be because I am a movie snob.

I woke up this morning with that fear that just envelopes me like a big heavy blanket thrown over me that I cannot get out from underneath.

And just so you know the bizarre way my mind works, here’s how I finally found some peace with this …

To distract myself I started reading the Kripalu catalog of upcoming workshops, and I found a workshop by Noah Levine scheduled for the upcoming fall season. His workshop is related to overcoming addiction using the Buddhist path as an overlay to the Twelve Step approach. I immediately looked up a YouTube video of a talk on Buddhism he gave at USC to see what he’s all about.

The following quotes from the talk, I believe, are the reason I came across this today:

“My goal is to meet every unpleasant experience in my life with love, with compassion, with kindness.”

“Compassion is responding to pain with kindness and love rather than aversion and hatred.”

I found myself listening to the entirety of his hour long talk, and I looked up others as well. Before I knew it a couple of hours had passed, but I noticed that I finally started to feel at peace for the first time in days. I finally started to feel like I could handle this difficult situation, or at least I finally feel hopeful that I can handle it.

I then headed out to the bookstore to purchase his new book, Refuge Recovery. Alas, though the bookstore indicated it was in stock I could not find it, and I was not in the mood to ask if it was shelved elsewhere. I then happened across Sharon Salzberg’s book, Loving Kindness, and I believe everything in this quest happened as it was supposed to happen because I opened up that book to find an exercise on contending with a difficult person. This was exactly what I needed.

I needed to read that compassion was tantamount to this challenge. The exercise advised to contemplate a good thing about this person (and in this particular case, that is not hard to do), and direct loving-kindness phrases towards them such as, “May you be free from danger, may you be happy,” Though, as the book advised, I replaced “you” with “we” because articulating the “you” was a stretch for me at this point. The author calls the compassion we send “metta.” It was surprising to find that I was able to do this. I thought of a couple of vulnerabilities that likely bring her suffering, and I was able to feel compassion for her.

I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve no background in meditation or Buddhism. Let me be clear: I know nothing, absolutely nothing aside what I’ve gleaned from today’s journey. All I have is a great desire for peace with this person.

There is still some fear left in me, but I believe in peaceful interactions with all my heart, and that is all I want. All I can control is my response, and my reaction to whatever happens tomorrow. I am asking the universe for all the strength we can conjure for the best response.

One thought on “My response

  1. Good luck with your challenges today, and I hope all goes well. Buddhism can be extremely helpful as part of recovery and healing. I read Buddhist books extensively and practiced meditation which was amazing for grounding me and for cleaning out self-images in my subconscious that were ugly and negative. I don’t practice Buddhism, but its principles are a part of my life now.

    Right now I’m using Falun gong, a qigong energy practice to keep me grounded and focused. It is especially good for the physical issues with chronic illness that I have.

    These things are deeply personal, and if Buddhism isn’t comfortable for you (although it sounds like it may be), perhaps something else will work for you.

    All the best,
    Cinda

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