Mindfulness: Some Assembly Required

How one meditation teacher deals with all of those difficult feelings that surface, both on and off the meditation cushion.

Voyagerix/Dollar Photo Club

As a mindfulness teacher I notice how easily people get riled up over very little. At least that’s one of the things I was thinking when I threw the leftover pieces from my new couch at the feet of the indifferent clerk at the IKEA return desk.

After twenty years of mindfulness practice and several years of teaching it, I was very  aware that if I continued freaking out, I’d be banned from IKEA forever…and might never again get to sink my teeth into one of those lousy little meatballs.

Living in the city, or living at all, seems to trigger stress in the calmest of souls. Sartre said hell is other people and who am I to disagree?  Yet, slowly, my practice is softening me to understand that it’s the imaginary people in my head he was probably referring to. I may not be ever-peaceful, ever-smiling and thought-free, but I notice that thanks to all those years of practice, I was able to soothe my savage breast…before the IKEA police threw me out…this time.

 I have spent many an hour on a cushion weeping, fuming, lusting…and amazingly, I just keep sitting.

Yes, even after all these years of practising, I still have thoughts, strong emotions, opinions, moodiness, and an aging body.  I have spent many an hour on a cushion weeping, fuming, lusting…and amazingly, I just keep sitting.

Breathing in, I open to whatever shows up: feeling, noticing, and being with it all. Breathing out, I let go, over and over. It’s okay. I’m okay. Just being here with whatever shows up is the best practice.

IKEA was probably created purely as a practice opportunity for all of humanity; a giant mirror of the mind that certainly always shows me exactly where I’m at. Thank you, IKEA! I so appreciate the chance to practice…but does mindfulness really have to come with so many damn pieces left over!

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