2021-11-24-Discomfort (3 of 5) Resting in Discomfort
3:47PM Nov 24, 2021
So again, good morning, then this week, we're exploring the topic of discomfort, that is a common experience of life and becoming wiser about it. So discomfort. So one of the things about discomfort that's useful to practice is to make a distinction, see, see the distinction between the discomfort, which is physical, pure and simply physical. And that which is more emotional or mental. And the reason for the distinction is that, if it's physical discomfort, if that's the, one of the primary characteristics of the discomfort, or if you see that physical discomfort is this the, you know, the most obvious part of it, then what we can do is rest in the discomfort. And this might seem paradoxical. But to find where the discomfort is, in the body, maybe the stomach is in knots, or maybe the chest is swirling and agitation are tight, whatever it might be, there's a restlessness that we feel in our arms and our legs, our hands. And wherever it might be that physical symptoms of being uncomfortable is you might be in pain is to see if it's possible to have the attention or have your view yourself, rest into the discomfort. And so that the discomfort is not a source for agitation, but rather, is the basis where we kind of, we stop, to really rest in it, to be with it, to allow it to be there. But not allowing it to be there. To do whatever it wants, but allowing it so something inside of us stays close to it and rests in it, it's kind of like a friend of ours might be really upset and agitated about something difficult that just happened. And maybe, obviously very uncomfortable. And, and you might come over and just index your friend, or you might come over next your friend and and, and hold their hand, and you're the calm presence, you kind of rest calmly with the with a person. So to feel the physical restlessness or discomfort, and breathe with it, feel it in your body, center yourself on it, and find a way of being grounded or centered through it, not around it. And, you know, by avoiding it. And so partly what it's doing is learning to not give into the reactivity of the discomfort, the subject of yesterday's talk, all the different ways we might react to it. But rather, to not allow their reactivity to take over, but to find how to rest in it. And sometimes there is physical discomfort, if you do that will begin relaxing itself. And it also allows for a the second part of stopping and that is seeing. And there's this pairing in Buddhism of stopping and seeing, we stop, we slow down, we come down in order to see more clearly. And when we're uncomfortable and agitated by that, there's not going to be a lot of clear seeing. So to find, find, find out where that is in the body and rest in it and breathe with it. And so if it's their social discomfort rather than spinning out in the mind and the thoughts about what's happening socially, find the physical discomfort and rest in it, they're standing it or open to it or breathe with it. And that's an art form or it's a skill to learn this skill of turning towards the discomfort and resting in it. And you'll probably you might find that there's a kind of rest there's a kind of calmness that can be found in the middle of the storm by resting attention and just being with it. For a lot this is uncomfortable and being with it. If it's an emotional or psychological discomfort or social discomfort, it has to do with the ideas and thoughts and experiences that happen interpersonally
If it is a, if there's physical manifestations of that, then it's really useful to rest in that to stop and really feel it, it might be the simplest way, the easiest way to begin relaxing, and not being caught in the grip of the social, emotional discomfort that might be there, the discomfort doesn't have to go away. So that's a little bit of a trap to think you're trying to get rid of it. But there's a way of resting in it. That gives us a vantage point in which to see more clearly, to not be seeing through the reactivity we might have. So not of course, not all social situation, we find ourselves give us a time to do that. But there are some where we can just take take our time, and just okay, I'm, I'm really uncomfortable here, let me feel it and be with it. Occasionally, there's a, there's something that's uncomfortable, that's not so much physical, but primarily mental or emotional. And then it's interesting to also come to your body and find it, you know, find their little remnants of or little places where traces are that discomfort in your body, even though the primary thing is psychological. And, and maybe it's easy to relax that way. Or maybe we find the body becomes the, the holder, or the grounding from by which we were not caught or trapped by the thoughts, the stories, the judgments that are involved in the social discomfort we have. Or if there's uncomfortable things happening around us, we're not so much we're not taking it in as deeply. If we feel the body, the body becomes more porous, or balanced, or that sometimes the body becomes more of a shield, even from the social discomfort coming into the mind or into the heart. So to, to find some place of rest, and in the body in relationship to discomfort, get grounded, get stabilized in the body. And sometimes that can involve changing your posture. If you're standing, stand and stand in such a way that you're kind of that really balanced and strong. And the posture like your both feet are firmly on the ground, and you're standing tall. And maybe even if you can, if it allows a situation allows it close your eyes and really feel be with the body. If you're sitting in a chair, there also be sure you don't, you're not in a posture that collapses, or a posture that is overly tense. But take a balanced kind of upright posture, that with a body support, the body supports embodied awareness. So they keep coming back to the body. And then the second part of it is the seeing to stop to rest and to stop for the discomfort really feel it in such a way that the mind quiets down just enough that there is space to really now study what is really going on here. And maybe we can look at all discomfort as a messenger. And the question is, what is the message? What is it to learn here in the situation. And there's many things that can make us uneasy. And sometimes the uneasiness discomfort is actually a wise thing to listen to. There's some real message here something is wrong here something is off. And maybe I need to listen to this. Maybe I need to pay more careful attention what is going on here. Many times in my life, I felt uncomfortable but sit by about something. And it didn't really stop to look at it or take take it in. And so I overridden overrode it and did something or said something that or participated in something that later I regretted where initially there was the warning and this is This doesn't feel right. And that not feeling right is part of this discomfort, wise discomfort. And other times where my discomfort was limiting me. I was afraid and and so it was uncomfortable because I was somehow neurotically anxious about something about what was happening. And I felt myself pulling back or shutting down and limited by the discomfort and, and I learned that if I stopped and really brought presence to it attention to it, that I could see oh, here I am holding myself back. I'm anxious, I'm afraid. Do I need to be afraid? Should I get into the fear? Sometimes it's appropriate to override the fear or open up To the situation, be willing to be vulnerable.
Like, for example, if it's someone is, you know, has a lot of warmth, a lot of kindness and care and love, it can be it can be frightening sometimes to have someone really love love us. But is it necessary to be frightened? Is it possible to open? What's the message what is the discomfort about and? And so, sometimes we stop we learn to rest and the discomfort rest in the physicality of it. So, we can begin investigating considering what is the message of discomfort? What is it telling us? What is it? How is it useful to know? And what is the useful way of being with it? Is it to open up is it to heat it this is to to step back is to stay quiet, is it to step forward? Is it to understand ourselves better is to investigate what is happening here for me. So, this willingness, ability to stop for discomfort, and to rest in it, I kind of resting in the agitation resting in the unrest thing. Discomfort is a kind of something is not really at ease. And so resting in the unease and see what happens, discover what happens, what opens up. And so this resting in discomfort is a stepping stone to begin being able to ask ourselves, what's the message here? What is it to learn here? Is this discomfort useful? And wise? Is it not useful? Is it unwise? And we can answer that question much better if we've stopped and figured out learn how to rest in it and make room for it and space for it. And chances are is that chances are that more often than not, there will be a time you'll have the time that space maybe even just a minute or a few seconds to step back and and rest in the discomfort and rest in the body, the physicality of it and see what happens. See what opens see what you learn. See what might relax. So
and so I wish you well some of you will be traveling and going in places where maybe lots of joy and might also be a fair amount of discomfort as well and gatherings that might be happening. And so maybe it'd be wonderful laboratory to explore your discomfort and develop greater wisdom and self understanding around this territory of discomfort. And maybe these next days will go easier for you. Thank you