Being Zen has been sitting in my library book basket for a couple of weeks. I even had to renew it once b/c it was lingering & threatening to move to "overdue" status. It's not that I didn't like it - it's just that I was having a hard time getting into it. Which, in retrospect, is pretty funny given that I could apply that comment to my meditation practice a lot of the time.
When I picked up the book again today, I thought I'd just read a few pages while I ate brunch. Instead, I found myself scrambling for post it notes to mark the passages that I wanted to remember (the only downside to library books is the inability to highlight!).
A favorite passage about resistance -
Resistance comes in many forms: not wanting to sit in meditation, choosing to spin off into our mental world, suppressing or avoiding emotional pain, finding fault with ourselves and our lives. No matter what form it takes, resistance brings no peace. Whatever we resist, we actually strengthen, because we solidify it, empowering it to stay in our life.
And this, about experiencing emotions -
It is in these darker moments, when we feel overwhelmed, that we are apt to judge ourselves most harshly. We're likely to solidify the most negative core beliefs about ourselves, seeing ourselves as weak, as losers, as hopeless. It's at this point that we most need a sense of heart, of kindness, of lightness, in the practice. We do this by learning to breathe into the heartspace, thereby undercutting the relentless self-judgement of our deeply held beliefs.
And finally, this -
We can come to see - to experience - that we are not broken, that we were never broken, and that we don't need to be fixed. This is the essence of the practice life: continuing to see through the crippling boundaries that we ourselves maintain with our blind belief in the solid reality of our substitute life.
Powerful stuff. I know that not everyone in my life understands why I practice meditation. I suspect that more than a few think that I've just been drinking the hippie VT water for too long. The work that Ezra Bayda talks about in this book - working with believed thoughts, working through the broken parts - that's why I practice.