“Practice every day. It will save your life.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
As you may have noticed, we've been bringing a lot of awareness to our reactive patterns—for good reason! We're working on unraveling a lifetime of unconscious habituated tendencies that are the root of our suffering and inhibit us from living a life of liberated intention. This work of dismantling patterns is no one-and-done exercise or quick fix dealeo … it's an ongoing lifelong practice. So kudos for taking a few minutes out of your day to practice with me. This will no doubt create a healthy foundation for dismantling illusions and ripple freedom throughout the rest of our lives ✨🙌
Today, let's observe how pattern-based living creates suffering on an emotional level.
The mind of emotion rides change. Patterns, on the other hand, make minimal adjustments to change. The constant effort to control what arises in experience manifests externally and internally. When circumstances line up with the projected world, we experience fulfillment. When circumstances are contrary to the project world, we experience disappointment. However, when we attend with mindfulness and care, our reactive emotions can become a place of deep transformation and freedom. Let's explore!
HAVE YOU NOTICED?
We defend against change in every way possible.
Emotional swings of hope and fear, attraction and aversion, anger and desire, grief and triumphs, loss and gain characterize the suffering of change. Whenever the divergence opens up space between the world as it is in the world of our own projections, reactive patterns of behavior arise and attempt to control what is being experienced: rigidity, evasiveness, devouring, dizziness, and confusion. Overtime, our range of experience and feeling shrink to conform to the dictates of the pattern. Unless of course, we shine the light of awareness on the pattern—which we'll practice … after a short story.
ONCE UPON A TIME
The following story illustrates how the mind of emotion makes minimal adjustments to the experiences of life.
A duck walks into a bar, climbs onto the barstool, and waits.
The bartender comes over and asks, “what can I give you? ”
“Got any grapes? “Ask the duck.
“No, I don't have any grapes.
“Got any grapes?”
“No. This is a bar. We don't carry grapes.”
“Got any grapes? “Ask the duck yet again.
“Listen, duck,” growls the bartender, “I don't have any grapes, but I'll tell you what I do have — a gun. You ask about grapes one more time and I'll blow your head off. Got it?”
The duck smiles, climbs down from the barstool, goes out the door and up the street. He goes to the next bar and climbs up on the barstool.
The bartender comes over
“Got any guns?” The duck asks.
“No. This is a bar. No guns here,” says the bartender.
“Got any grapes?”
With the compassionate action of our loving awareness, patterns that create suffering naturally dissolve. Let's practice:
- Bring to mind, a pattern that formed because of a difficult situation.
- Rest attention on the breath, and let the pattern unfold in your imagination.
- Continue to hold the pattern in awareness as you notice how the pattern creates emotional shifts:
- How do you feel after the pattern has run?
- What is the predominant emotion that is operating as the pattern runs?
- How does the predominant emotion affect the way you interpret what is happening around you?
- How are other people viewed through the lens of the pattern?
- What emotional reactions arise when your experience diverges from the expectations of the projected world of the pattern?
- How does the pattern attempt to reestablish itself?
I radiate peace.
(In Sanskrit: Om Shanti Om.)
I return my attention to the still awareness in the background of my mind.
I hold nothing too tightly.
Released, emotions flow freely and thoughts become unstuck.
My life is lightened as I create space for peace to radiate through me.
What is one way you've noticed a pattern affects your emotions?
We'd love to hear in our private community comments.