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Ven. Chodron - hindrances to mental cultivation/metta

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  • Sharon
    One big topic of rumination is past hurts. I was so hurt when my spouse said xyz. I worked so hard for the company but they didn t appreciate me. My
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2006
      "One big topic of rumination is past hurts. 'I was so hurt when my
      spouse said xyz.' 'I worked so hard for the company but they didn't
      appreciate me.' 'My parents criticized the way I look,' and on and
      on. We have an excellent memory for all the times others have
      disturbed or disappointed us and can dwell upon these hurts for
      hours, reliving painful situations again and again in our minds. What
      is the result? We get stuck in self-pity and depression.

      "Another topic is past anger. We repeatedly go over who said what in
      a quarrel, analyzing its every detail, getting more and more agitated
      the longer we contemplate it. When we sit to meditate, concentrating
      on the object of meditation is difficult. But when we reflect on an
      argument, our concentration is great! In fact, we can sit in perfect
      meditation posture, looking very peaceful externally, but burning
      with anger inside as we single-pointedly remember past situations
      without getting distracted for even a minute. When the meditation
      bell rings at the end of the session, we open our eyes and discover
      that the event we spent the last half hour contemplating is not
      happening here and now. In fact, we're in a safe place with nice
      people. What is the effect of ruminating on anger? Clearly, it's more
      anger and unhappiness.

      "When we ruminate on feelings of being misunderstood, it is as if we
      were chanting a mantra, 'My friend doesn't understand me. My friend
      doesn't understand me.' We convince ourselves of this; the feeling
      becomes solid, and the situation looks hopeless. The result? We feel
      alienated, and we unnecessarily back away from those we want to be
      close to because we're convinced they never will understand us. Or we
      may spill our neediness over the other person in an attempt to make
      them understand us in the way we want to be understood . . .

      "The only time we ever have to live is now. The only time that
      spiritual practice is done is now. If we're going to cultivate love
      and compassion, it has to be in the present moment, because we don't
      live in any other moment. So, even though the present is constantly
      changing, it's all we have. Life happens now. Our past glories are
      simply that. Our past hurts are not happening now. Our future dreams
      are simply future dreams. The future tragedies we concoct do not
      exist at this time. '

      ~ Ven. Thubten Chodron, "Ruminating"


      May this be of benefit.
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