Have you ever been in a crowded subway or busy street and felt like it was just too much, lost in a crowded marketplace in a foreign country, or caught up in an argument that was going nowhere?
A great meditation teacher once said that there should be no difference between meditating in a cave or in the center of a city as peace is inside us and is not dependent on external circumstances. Although this is undoubtedly true, it is definitely put to the test when our lives are full of chaos or anger.
Being in touch with your inner peace is not the same as being happy. When difficult or painful things happen, such as the loss of a loved one, you will not feel happy, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t mean you have to lose your peace. Beneath the tears and grief there can remain a steadiness, an inner stillness, independent of the circumstances.
Maintaining that peace, especially when confronted with difficult situations, means being able to let go all the time, constantly, in every moment. We say, “don’t even pick it up!” for as soon as you begin to hold on, whether to resentment, irritation, hurt or anger, you create suffering for yourself. Your mind gets caught up in the emotion and you lose your balance. Letting go does not deny your feelings. You can feel all sorts of things, whether sadness, joy, anxiety or laughter.
The difference is that you are not holding on to these feelings. They come and then they pass. Like birds in the sky of your mind, let them fly away.
One of the greatest spiritual teachings is the awareness that all things are impermanent, that all things come and go, that we cannot cling to anything, not even pleasure, without also creating suffering. As we integrate the truth of this teaching it is wonderfully liberating for it brings us back into the present moment. If everything is so impermanent, including ourselves and our feelings, then there is no purpose in holding on and trying to make those feelings last longer. Rather, there is far greater joy in releasing them and reconnecting to sanity and peace.
Next: Just Being Meditation