Posts Tagged ‘pain’

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.