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Lions Roar : November 2014
when somebody who’s world famous is yelling at you! Peter was also extraordi- narily nice to me at really key moments too, but it wasn’t something i could count on. i can count on that with these guys, even when they’re pointing out that i’m being a moron. question from the audience: i find that when i meditate thoughts pop into my head and a lot of them are very anxiety provoking. often they elicit a physical response. Should i embrace this or just be aware of it? Joseph Goldstein: What you’re describ- ing is not unusual at all. See if you can relax into the sensations of the anxiety, knowing that it’s okay to feel them. When i started meditating the major difficult emotion that was deeply con- ditioned in my mind was fear. i worked with it for a long time, thinking i was being mindful of it. But finally i realized that even as i was recognizing my fear, i wanted it to go away. then there was a moment when i was doing walking med- itation and something shifted. i thought, “if this fear is here for the rest of my life, it’s okay.” that was my first moment of genu- inely accepting my fear. acceptance doesn’t mean that fear doesn’t arise any- more, but acceptance does change the relationship. it’s the same with anxiety: it’s okay to feel it. So acceptance is the first step. once you’re okay with the feeling, then you don’t need to be afraid of the thoughts. you see the thoughts come and go. Normally, our thoughts have tremen- dous power in our lives. they are the dictators of our mind: Go here, go there, do this, do that. We’re the slaves of our thoughts. and yet when we are aware of them, when we are mindful that we’re thinking, we see that a thought as a phe- nomenon is completely empty and fleet- ing. it’s little more than nothing! it’s tre- mendously interesting to learn this about one’s mind. it’s very freeing! ♦ viDeoCaPtuReByeDWaRDBoyCe “Those are my people,” said Salzberg, “the ones who say, ‘I tried it once, but failed.’ I love those people, because you can’t fail at it.” SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 39