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Lions Roar : July 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2007 44 where we feel the emotion in our body and what happens to it as it is held in mindfulness. Next comes the mind. What thoughts and images are associ- ated with this difficulty? What stories, judgments, and beliefs are we holding? When we look more closely, we often discover that some of them are one-sided, fixed points of view or out-moded, habitual perspectives. We see that they are only stories. They loosen their hold on us. We cling less to them. The fourth foundation to investigate is called mindfulness of the dharma. Dharma is an important and multifaceted word that can mean the teachings and the path of Buddhism. It can mean the truth, and in this case it can also mean the elements and patterns that make up experience. In mindfulness of the dharma we look into the principles and laws that are operating. We can notice if an experience is actually as solid as it appears. Is it unchanging or is it impermanent, moving, shifting, recre- ating itself? We notice if the difficulty expands or contracts the space in our mind, if it is in our control or if it has its own life. We notice if it is self-constructed. We investigate whether we are clinging to it, resisting it, or simply letting it be. We see whether our relationship to it is a source of suffering or happiness. And finally, we notice how much we identify with it. This leads us to the last step of RAIN, non-identification. Nonidentification In non-identification we stop taking the experience as me or mine. We see how our identification creates dependence, anxiety, and inauthenticity. In practicing non-identification, we inquire of every state, experience, and story, is this who we really are? We see the tentativeness of this identity. Instead of identification with this difficulty, we let go and rest in awareness itself. This is the culmination of releasing difficulty through RAIN. One Buddhist practitioner, David, identified himself as a fail- ure. His life had many disappointments and after a few years of Buddhist practice, he was disappointed by his meditation too. He became calmer but that was all. He was still plagued by un- relenting critical thoughts and self-judgments, leftovers from a harsh and painful past. He identified with these thoughts and his wounded history. Even the practice of compassion for himself brought little relief. Then, during a ten-day mindfulness retreat, he was inspired by the teachings on non-identification. He was touched by the stories of those who faced their demons and freed themselves. He remembered the account of the Buddha, who on the night of his enlightenment faced his own demons in the form of the armies and temptations of Mara. David decided to stay up all night and directly face his own demons. For many hours, he Formal walking meditation on the Spirit Rock grounds