It is not the mind-stuff that blocks us from the present moment. It is the resistance to the mind-stuff that does so, says Suma Varughese
The holy grail for those of us on the jnana path is to remain stable in the present moment; which is to say, remain stable regardless of how much the bronco of life is kicking and heaving, or neighing and whinnying. Every moment brings a new challenge. Either the mind is prancing off chasing a brown study, is immersed in a fantasy about the future, resisting the back pain that has suddenly manifested, or recalling the insult meted out by a colleague. The mind is bouncing about all the time, and unless one is super alert, it inevitably sucks us into its preoccupations; and there goes the present moment.
Of course, the heart of the practice is to attain such a high level of consciousness that no matter how compelling the lure of the body and mind, we can transcend it effortlessly. How do we do that? Of late, what has been working for me is the realisation that what comes in the way is not the thought, feeling, or sensation, but our default resistance to it. Unconsciously, we are in a state of deep resistance to thoughts, uncomfortable feelings, or sensations, and resistance immediately blocks us from the present moment.
So, I have been consciously welcoming everything that shows up in the mind space, for I realise that each of it will lead me to the present moment if I do not resist it. Thus, when jealousy shows up, I am learning to welcome it. If I resist the jealousy, I enter into a vicious cycle of feeling jealous, feeling bad about feeling jealous, feeling bad about feeling bad and so on ad infinitum.
Resentment, anger, grief, guilt, discomfort with self, even just spools of thought, will all lead you to the present moment if you do not resist them. Staying with these feelings and experiencing them deeply will inevitably cause you to breathe deeply, and after a time, the feelings will vanish, leaving you at a deep level of peace.
The amazing experience of being able to be comfortable with even the most uncomfortable physical sensations or emotional turbulence frees one of the fears that always surrounded one.
For instance, I was always afraid of my lack of self-control, which would cause me to act impulsively or even recklessly. I would put a tempting morsel in the mouth even though it would not be in my interest to do so. But now, self-control is slowly creeping in because all I have to do is to be with the feeling of being tempted.
Even red-hot anger is a comfortable companion when you spend time in its company and slowly breathe into it until it loses its charge. How wonderful to control it within oneself instead of spewing it out into the world.
Of course, I lose track of my thoughts and feelings all too often, but when I do return to consciousness, I no longer berate myself for having got lost in my thoughts. Instead, I happily embrace the absent-mindedness because only that will lead me to the moment. Freeing myself increasingly of my habitual resistance is also loosening up the body and enabling it to relax.
So remember not to resist resistance!
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