A few days ago I wrote a post entitled, "Our Racing Minds". I suggested that our minds begin to race when we are out of touch with our bodies. When we are out of touch with our bodies, we are out of touch with our feelings. For most of us, much of energy is spent trying to avoid our feelings, This is certainly my own challenge. I don't like feeling uncomfortable or painful feelings. Avoiding our emotions is likely to be the one thing that causes us the most stress and anxiety. As I have mentioned, it likely is responsible for much of the pain and inflammation in our bodies. At times we may hear people talking about loving themselves. We may even hear people say that we can't love others if we don't love ourselves. There is likely some truth to that, it is also likely to be a matter of degree and not an, "either or". How much do we love ourselves? How much do we care about others? How much have we watered the seed of love and compassion for ourselves and others? How can we love ourselves deeply if we spend most of our time abandoning ourselves? When a person says they love themselves, and spend most of their time avoiding their feelings, it is not likely that they are being truthful. Remember not everyone tells the truth! Would a person feel loved by us, or could we say we love someone, if we run away everytime they were hurting, showed sadness, or expressed some other painful emotion? As children we are more mindful, we are with ourselves, we are generally more loving. We don't run from our feelings so much, we express them, and we are generally happier. As we become adults we are less mindful, we hide our emotions from ourselves and from others. Put simple we, "Mess ourselves up", and unfortunately this ignorance is often reinforced by those around us, who may be running from their own suffering. As the Monk Br. Phap Huru says, "during retreats participants are consistently encouraged to come back to themselves". Most of us he says are," moving out", away from ourselves, using a variety of distractions to help us accomplish this. We are abandoning ourselves. Coming back to ourselves can be painful, and yet seems to be the true road to happiness, ultimately relaxation, and compassion for both ourselves and others. In this tradition, individuals our encouraged to be aware of their inbreath and outbreath. This traditional practice brings us back to our bodies, and out of our heads, with even a small amount of practice our minds will likely slow down, however, we may, "initially", feel the discomfort of tension in our body, as well as feelings which may be painful or uncomfortable. Just one inbreath can bring us back to our bodies.
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