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Lions Roar : September 2018
It takes courage to face unwanted conditions, emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. Making a bigger space doesn’t necessarily eliminate suffering. But it does give us more options for working internally with what is arising, and more clarity about what to do in the external world. As the Buddha says in “The Five Remembrances” from the Upajjhatthana Sutta: “My deeds are the ground on which I stand.” Being present to what is happening is just the first step. Then we have to do something. I have discovered that the more I practice, the more lay- ers of my endlessly perfected, elaborate self-construction fall away. Peeling away the layers of identity is sometimes very painful. Sometimes it has felt like I was going to die. Of course, while I didn’t die, something did. Doing this practice of meeting everything as an example of the awakened heart means risking more and more tender- ness. But as painful as it is to meet suffering directly, it’s also a relief. There is more spaciousness, more freedom to feel the wondrous aliveness of being. There is more energy available to do what must be done to heal the world. MEDITATION PRACTICE: Creating Space Around Difficulty Here are some basic instructions on using awareness to engage with all the various forms of suffering we encounter as humans plagued by fear, anger, and delusion. First, find a place where you can sit quietly and upright, lowering or closing your eyes. If you are aware of some dif- ficulty or pain, gently bring it into the foreground of aware- PHOTOBYALISANIKULINA/MILLENNIUMIMAGES.UK LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 38