I Don’t Want This Experience

In my twenties I would ask myself the question,’Why don’t I want this experience?’  At that time I really didn’t understand the importance of my query.  It seemed so obvious, the one I didn’t want was painful.  Why would I want to feel that?

The question haunts me now as I feel the pain of loss, the ending of my brief love affair.  This relationship felt like a miracle.  It came when I believed it could/would never happen.  I am too old, too particular – unlikely I would find another who would mesh with me.  Yet it did happen. I gave myself to its siren song and believed I could be in its warmth till the end of my days, but it was a shooting star illuminating the sky for only a moment.

My heart is hurting.  I feel anguish and despair.  I want this love! In clear moments I’m guessing it couldn’t sustain itself, would end at some point.  But right now I want more time, a chance to make it work, to believe I could have this.  To believe I am still loved and cherished.

I know enough through my Buddhist practice to look.  Look at my body sensations, look at the thoughts that arise, the emotions moving through me, and the story I assign.  My teacher tells me I have no choice which thoughts and feelings come.  I know this is true.  They come unbidden, unplanned.  Bubbles rising to the surface, propelled by countless cycles of birth and death.

I see how I grab them, fan them with the flame of memory and wish for the future.  I know in the moment they arise here is choice.  Viktor Frankl writes, ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies the freedom to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom.’  So what do I want to choose?

I ask myself, is it possible to celebrate the aliveness and not assign a value?  Can I let these thoughts and feelings come, abide, dissolve?  Here are the kleshas, the three poisons – ignorance, attachment, aversion.  I want to hold to my version of how things should be.  I don’t want the painful feelings.  My reaction rises in the hard-to-let-go habit which wants to repeat the story of abandonment, I will always be left.  This is my mud puddle.  I sit in it – a small child, a teen, an adult.  It is warm and familiar.  I know this place.

How can I hold this experience and not make it solid, give it room to be fluid, not reject nor make it an identity?  How can I see this is only habit and not a definition of who I am?  The Buddha says,’ Suffering exists but no one who suffers.’  I understand this intellectually and maybe at times know it directly.  Right now I am caught in the whirlpool of understanding and confusion.  Caught in the swirling waters of ignorance, of holding onto a self who is hurting, where the emotions and their body sensations feel solid.  I don’t see the moment to moment arising, the interdependence that brings this to fruition.  I don’t see how I freeze-frame it into my suffering.

NVC says that when we don’t experience choice we must reject or submit.  Hard to feel I have a choice.  I’ve hard-wired this stimuli into my personal heartache.

Another piece of wisdom, act as if you chose it.  I am kicking and screaming into this one.  The best I can do is look.  So I’m looking at my thoughts, my body sensations, the story I tell.  It is like walking on the crumbling edge of a great canyon.  I haven’t fallen so far that I can’t crawl out.  I’d like to think there is steady ground somewhere.  I suspect it is always balancing this edge and only an illusion that solid ground exists.

It’s good I get to work with my aversions.  I don’t want this experience, but without it, I’d have to use the ones I do want.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Love you mom!


  2. Posted by Art on March 26, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Lots of empathy going your way Linda. Knowing the answers is much easier than realizing them. When in the grip of the story all one can do is breath and not try.
    You have my support.
    One thing though, about this quote:
    Viktor Frankl writes, ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies the freedom to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.’ So what do I want to choose?
    This is not true for people with ADD. That’s our problem. Having no space to make that choice. That’s the important feature of ADD.


  3. Thanks for being my loving friend.


  4. Posted by D. Crow on May 1, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    You have my compassion for your suffering. You have the way to joy and happiness in your mindfulness. So be it.


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