Four Powerful Ways That Meditation Helps Us in Difficult Times
Meditation takes us just as we are, both with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is a simple, direct relationship with our innermost being. Buddhists call this “maitri” – which means loving-kindness toward ourselves and others.
There are four qualities that are cultivated when we meditate:
When we practice meditation we are strengthening our ability to be steadfast with ourselves, in body as well as mind. Challenges do not throw us off centre so easily!
2. Clear seeing.
This is another way of saying that we have less self-deception. Through the process of practicing the technique day in and day out, year after year, we begin to be very honest with ourselves.
Many people in this world are acting unconsciously from strong ego desires – yet can be in total denial about their motives. Look around and take note.
3. Experiencing our emotional distress.
We practice dropping whatever story we are telling ourselves and leaning into the emotions and the fear. We stay with the emotion, experience it, and leave it as it is, without proliferating.
Thus we train in opening the spiritual heart to the restlessness of our own energy. We learn to abide with the experience of our emotions.
We don’t judge!
4. Attention to the present moment.
We make the choice to be fully here. Cultivating presence is a way of being tender toward self, toward others, and toward the world. This quality of attention is inherent in our ability to love.
These four factors not only apply to sitting meditation, but are essential to all the “bodhichitta” or “awakened heart” practices and for relating with difficult situations in our daily lives.
Who, after all, does not encounter difficulty?
By cultivating them we discover for ourselves that it is enlightenment and compassion, not confusion, that is basic.
Based on Pema Chödrön’s best-selling book, “Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion.”