I joined the group from Alamogordo, NM, not a place I’d recommend, other than having beautiful places like White Sands National Monument close by. I’m out of the bad weather, but many of you are having a bad time with the storms, and I hope you all stay safe.
Today I brought up the idea of anger, which is one of the hindrances, as something to sit with gently, rather than immediately try to get rid of it. I offered two instances of anger that arose in me in the past day. One came about when I read this article in the New Yorker about people with diabetes struggling with the rising costs of insulin:
Living with Type 1 Diabetes When You Can’t Afford Insulin
When I observed the anger that arose from this story, I saw that anger was not an adequate term to describe what I was feeling. There was compassion and frustration and sadness. And I saw it wasn’t a problem to deal with these emotions and thoughts because they led me to recognize that I could go beyond those feelings to clearer thinking about the problem and real solutions.
The other anger episode was completely personal and ephemeral, but that didn’t make it less potent. We were in a hotel where there was construction and even though I specifically said I wanted to be away from the noise there was drilling next door all day long and then a large family moved into that room and there was all sorts of yelling and carrying on! The feeling that arose was anger, but looking at it I felt helpless, out of control, frustrated and tired. I allowed it to play out. I also understood that that anger didn’t define me, and I was able to work out a solution, which was to get my room changed!
In both cases we can see that, if left unexamined but just pushed away in meditation as being “bad” we’d never get to the heart of what we’re experiencing.
Finally, and totally off that subject, I would like to send love, praise and thanks to all the significant others (partners, beloved animals, children…anyone) who allow us (more or less) our meditation time on Sunday afternoon. Thanks always go to my spouse, Ken, who today waited patiently for the end of our sitting before we continued our road trip. The quintessential representative of this dog-loving group is long-standing attendee Joey Davis, Mary’s pet, who many of you’ve probably seen on screen.
Here’s a picture I did of him: