I recently attended a 10 Day Vipassana meditation course. Here you spend 10 days in Noble Silence practicing and learning the technique of Vipassana meditation, the original teaching of Gautama Buddha, for 10+ hours a day with up to 90 (sometimes more depending on the location) of your closest strangers. It is a big, intimidating undertaking, and it is BEYOND worth it. Not only will you learn a lot about yourself, a lot of truths about the world can become revealed to you.
One of the really powerful learnings for me was seeing and experiencing on a deeper level what negativity resistance and reaction bring into our lives. On a surface level these occurrences can be seen easily, but when you experience them from an objective place of depth (like I was able to in meditation) the realization becomes much more powerful and change inspiring.
Resistance breeds anger and resentment, when we resist rather than open up our perspective of many situations becomes painful, self-harmful, and upsetting. Reaction is similar, however, we can choose our reactions. We can choose a positive or detached reaction rather than a negative one. Resistance and reaction are simple thought patterns that we have been seasoned to own, and they are nasty habits that are easier than you would think to kick.
When I was 16 I resisted my family moving out of state (and away from my friends). This was selfish of me and completely upper limiting and misery-causing. While I didn’t know this move would be one of the most positively identified changing things I would experience I resisted with every fiber of my being. Maybe this wasn’t completely visible, but I felt it. I wouldn’t even allow the possibility of the move being great into my mind, I wouldn’t allow myself to be open with the experience. I chose that resistance and that reaction, it was petty and it hurt me. These two choices of my own doing caused all of my misery surrounding the event when truly in the end of it all this move opened my entire life up expansively and for the better.
Something as small as seeing how a reaction to a physical tension during meditation can bring anger and upset brings even more power to the lesson at hand. So how do we change this? We pause to choose better thoughts, or we allow ourselves to detach from the physical and mental negativity. It is then that we can objectively look at the negativity with the clarity and perspective to find wisdom in our experiences. If resistance and reaction are the bearers of misery, and we control them, then why don’t we choose to live from a lighter and brighter space to banish misery for good?
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