Whatever is IN the way, IS the way
Meditation practice is a practice for a better life. We sit and practice on the cushion (or the chair) so we can see the truth clearer and live our human existence with more wisdom and skill. So what we experience in our meditation practice can be directly applied to our daily life.
For example, many people sit down to meditate and they experience things that are uncomfortable, such as shoulder discomfort, or knee pain, or their mind wanders or the chair isn’t comfortable and so they feel annoyed with these phenomena. So then they say, I cannot meditate. My shoulder is uncomfortable and my knee hurts, my mind wanders way too much and this chair is very uncomfortable! So, basically they perceive those experiences as “in the way” of meditating. But, actually, those experiences are the very path of Mindfulness Meditation.
Meditation isn’t sitting down and trying to get rid of stuff - meditation is learning to become one with the present moment - “union with the object of meditation” - that IS meditation. If shoulder pain is what is in the moment, than your job as a practitioner is to become one with the shoulder pain in that moment. If you are trying to “get rid of it” or ignore it then you simply cannot be present with the experience and understand what the pain feels like, how strong it is, where it is originating from, is it hot or cold, how painful is it compared to what you think it is. This willingness to investigate allows us to understand the actual truth of that moment - you can try to deny it all you want, but it is still there, it IS happening. When you have information, you can make informed decisions about what you might do next or not do next. For example, most people immediately move their shoulder to “get rid of the pain” BUT this compulsive response, void of all the information, does not yield the results they want. Now there is more pain in the shoulder due to the new positioning and now there is a pain in the neck as well and it has caused the mind to begin to obsess about never-ending shoulder pain and impending shoulder surgery and how their healthcare bills will be out of control...and so on... When all they wanted was peace of mind in mediation, damn it!!!!!! Wonder what could have happened if they sat with the shoulder pain and attempted to learn about it...?
So, let’s apply this to daily life. Whenever it feels like stuff is in the way...you gotta ask yourself what exactly is it in the way of? Usually, it is in the way of what WE want! What WE think is the best thing to be happening. What fits into OUR plan. We are conditioned to only like to pay attention to or appreciate the things that are happening that feel good to us and fit our desires and if they don’t, we must quickly get past them or get rid of them. But, one, this causes us so much unnecessary stress and suffering because, quite simply, fighting against what literally IS happening is futile. And, two, how do you know it is in the way, and isn’t actually THE WAY for you to get wherever it is you are meant to go? It is only our small-minded ego that believes it is a problem or not the right thing….but what does the infinite-minded spirit say?
What if it is very much exactly what you are supposed to be experiencing and it is an opportunity for you to learn and grow?? And you are missing it?? Instead of trying to get rid of things that are unpleasant or not what we want to happen in meditation practice, we can learn to welcome them, get curious about them and explore them with a kind heart and an open-mind. This is how we learn to embrace the truth of what is actually happening in our daily lives.
The truth is, nothing is in the way, at all, ever. WE just think it is. But really, IT JUST IS! IT JUST IS what is happening, simply put. So, to see it as inherently “in the way” is to deny the very truth and reality of your current existence AND to deny yourself the fullness of experience that life is offering you in that moment. So, when you feel annoyed by something or like it is literally standing in the way of what you want or how you want to be, whether emotional or physical, try to get curious about it and open up to the possibility that it is not, in fact, “in the way!” Perhaps...it IS THE WAY!
SHINE YOUR LIGHT!