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Lions Roar : May 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 105 That’s the value of sitting meditation practice. You train in coming back to the unadorned present moment again and again. Whatever thoughts arise in your mind, you regard them with equanimity and you learn to let them dissolve. There is no rejection of the thoughts and emo- tions that come up; rather, we begin to re- alize that thoughts and emotions are not as solid as we always take them to be. It takes bravery to train in uncondi- tional friendliness, it takes bravery to train in “suffering with,” it takes bravery to stay with pain when it arises and not run or erect barriers. It takes bravery to not bite the hook and get swept away. But as we do, the absolute bodhichitta realization, the experience of how open and unfettered our minds really are, begins to dawn on us. As a result of becoming more comfortable with the ups and the downs of our ordinary hu- man life, this realization grows stronger. We start with taking a close look at our predictable tendency to get hooked, to sep- arate ourselves, to withdraw into ourselves and put up walls. As we become intimate with these tendencies, they gradually be- come more transparent, and we see that there’s actually space, there is unlimited, accommodating space. This does not mean that then you live in lasting happiness and comfort. That spaciousness includes pain. We may still get betrayed, may still be hated. We may still feel confused and sad. What we won’t do is bite the hook. Pleas- ant happens. Unpleasant happens. Neutral happens. What we gradually learn is to not move away from being fully present. We need to train at this very basic level because of the widespread suffering in the world. If we aren’t training inch by inch, one moment at a time, in overcoming our fear of pain, then we’ll be very limited in how much we can help. We’ll be limited in helping ourselves, and limited in helping anybody else. So let’s start with ourselves, just as we are, here and now. ♦ Excerpted from Practicing Peace in Times of War, by Pema Chödrön. © 2006 Pema Chödrön. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications. Pema Chödrön continued from page 63