Bliss & Non-Bliss: Practicing Equanimity 

I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness meditation with my partner this morning. We are so “on the go” in our busy, Los Angeles-based, commuter culture, we rarely find time, even on weekends, to simply sit together and meditate.

We started with a reading, to focus our practice, that centered on allowing the mind to simply experience “negative” mental states, rather than becoming caught in them. This is a common instruction in mindfulness practice, but there’s a reason for that. Generally, I need frequent reminding, as do many mindfulness students, because this is easy to say and hard to do.

My experience of this instruction was multilayered. Initially, I was entranced by the warm air blowing from the windows, the sound of the shutters rattling in the breeze, coming and going, because it was relatively pleasant. Particularly since it was accompanied by the scent of a familiar incense, one I associate with previous experiences at retreats and meditation centers.

My personal commitment to my inner workaholic includes allowing more arising of bliss and enjoyment into my moment to moment experience, so, I focused on this, reminding myself as I did, that enjoyment should not invite clinging. This pleasant state persisted for some time. Then, as if by invitation, I was hit by a thought of some task I had failed to accomplish at work, and a wave of guilt and shame assailed me.

Happening in such a contrarian manner,  a bubble of amusement arose, quickly following, that loosened the grip of this distressing feeling somewhat. With this crumb of grace, I was able to settle back into my breath, just observing it, until that panicky energy subsided & eventually my meditation bell rang.

Being able to share and laugh about this with my small sangha (husband & cat), after the fact, felt very nourishing and supportive. Nice reward for 15 minutes worth of time invested.

Gate. Gate.  Paragate. Parasamgate. Bodhi, Savha.

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