Each week a friend and colleague of mine (fellow iRest® teacher) meet for co-meditation. We take turns. Co-meditation is called a Dyad in the iRest practice. It is essentially someone reflecting back to you your moment to moment experience across all dimensions from gross to subtle (e.g. physical, energetic, emotional, mental) that you’re sharing with them. So, kind of mindfulness on steroids. The power of this practice rests on the understanding that meeting whatever is arising in your present moment experience is the greatest wisdom we can follow. Withdrawing our attention from past and imagined future experiences, which aren’t real (they are just categories or mind states that we can only experience in the present moment anyway) is a salve.

My internal lava lamp

In a recent session (my turn to share) I found myself as a lava lamp (internal imagery). A beautiful interplay of blue and clear fluid, always moving, fluid form in an ongoing interplay. The image came from an internal recognition that my sadness, disappointment and grief are always intertwined with moments of peace and joy. It was such a comfort to recognise this. Even in my darkest moments there are moments of peace and joy that shine through. Recognising this constant interplay frees me from the relentless pursuit to make everything alright, to fix things, solve problems. I’m less rigid than I used to be, not so fixated on particular problems in my life and much more able to welcome and accept things as they are. Everything, just as it is.

Becoming comfortable with discomfort

Hmmmm, there’s a part of me that knows that to be true, simply because the way things are, are the way things are. As Byron Katie says, “you can argue with reality and you will lose, but only 100% of the time”. It doesn’t mean we have to like things the way they are, or condone situations that we find unacceptable. But, the surrendering of ideals and our resistance to things as they are, is our ticket to freedom. It’s so counter intuitive, but slowing down and really allowing the reality of things to settle in to our understanding allows us to touch down, or ground before we respond. We are then responding from truth rather than an ideal superimposed over the truth. This does require us to become comfortable with any discomfort present in our own present moment experience rather than trying to outrun it.

The cycle of life

Just like the lava lamp, life is an interplay of constructive and destructive forces, of pleasure and pain, of joy and sorrow. Personally, I much prefer joy over sorrow, pleasure over pain, construction over destruction. And, when inevitably the unwanted arises in life there is comfort in recognising that this is simply the cycle of life playing out. Everything in life goes through the cycle of birth, growth, stability, deterioration and dissolution. The later stages aren’t usually pleasant but are made so much more unpleasant in our resistance to them. The wonderful thing is that there are always different cycles happening at the same time, intersecting.

An obvious example is as the cycle of our physical existence enters the deterioration and dissolution phase there may be a birth and growth of wisdom and surrender. That’s simplistic, we’re so complex, with an ongoing interplay of cycles, dissolution always followed by birth. All aspects of the cycle are always present somewhere if we train ourselves to notice them. So that we can find a salve, a balance in our internal condition rather than being totally hi-jacked by our troubles.

Intentionally noticing the good

We have to be quite deliberate in noticing the peace and joy amidst the pain and anguish. Our brain has a negativity bias, and depending on our temperament and how much challenge we are facing in life, we can become totally consumed by one particular problem, or series of problems, so that it drowns out any peace or joy that may be present. The peace and joy may not be grand, but there nevertheless. If we pay attention, seek it out. It could be really small things like the warmth of the sun, or a cup of tea, the smile of a child, the way the light catches the leaves, the antics of a pet. It’s a work in progress for me, learning to stay connected to the natural state of peace and joy within me, despite my troubles.

I find comfort in the gentle, ongoing movement of the colours of my internal lava lamp. Always changing. When I’m in Awareness and observing the colours changing, not caught by one or the other, just watching the flow from a bit of a distance, I can stay connected to my peaceful observing presence in the midst of chaos.