Today the Warriors of the 100 Day Warrior met for the 5th time. We had our 4th yoga practice and 4th proper meditation class (the first sessions was more an ice-breaker and a kick-off ritual).
When I was designing this process I expected things to get raw at a certain point. This is what happens when a group of people departs on a journey that is about getting real: the truth will show up and we often experience this as painful. What I didn’t expect was that we would get real so fast.
This morning’s session was probably the most intense session I ever lead. Quite often I have seen participants shed a tear when they shared something hidden they had found. What I had not seen before was that almost everybody let go of a whole flood of tears within the time span of 15 minutes, for various personal reasons. But what we all had in common was that we all felt squeezed between a rock and a hard place.
Many people think that meditation is just a bunch of relaxation techniques. You might even look forward to a course where you can chill out on a black cushion on Sunday mornings, surrounded by nice and calm people. After your session you walk out and enjoy the autumn sun. But it gets a bit more difficult when you realize that you need to apply the principles of spiritual practice unconditionally. And when you turn the light inwards you might see that you are not living the harmonious life you thought you were living.
Practice mindful breathing, observe the breath, observe thoughts as they come and go, don’t go into reactive mode: none of what we’ve learned seems very relevant when our lover leaves us, when our child has a tantrum in the supermarket, when we’re insulted by our colleague. How do we work with our resentment when a client or contractor tries to rip us off? How do we reconcile that frustration and humiliation with our longing to be calm, courageous and compassionate and not to harm ourselves or others?
This is an interesting place to find oneself. For an aspiring Warrior, this is an exceedingly important place.
This place of the squeeze is the very point in our meditation and in our lives where we can really learn something. The point where we are not able to take it or leave it, where we are caught between a rock and a hard place, caught with both the upliftedness of our ideas and the rawness of what’s happening in front of our eyes—that is indeed a very fruitful place.
When we feel squeezed, there’s a tendency for mind to become small. We feel miserable, like a victim, like a pathetic, hopeless case. Yet believe it or not, at that moment of hassle or bewilderment or embarrassment, our minds could become bigger. Instead of taking what’s occurred as a statement of personal weakness or someone else’s power, instead of feeling we are stupid or someone else is unkind, we could drop all the complaints about ourselves and others. We could be there, feeling off guard, not knowing what to do, just hanging out there with the raw and tender energy of the moment. This is the place where we begin to learn the meaning behind the concepts and the words.
Excerpt from “Three Methods for Working with Chaos” by Pema Chödron
For the ego, the one that is concerned about its own survival, this is a very difficult message. The invitation is to just let yourself fall into the turmoil and not resist while all the fear, anger, sadness and sadness is washing through you. I know it is close to impossible. But what helps me is the hard-learned experience that my ego isn’t going to solve my problems either. Letting go might be terrifying it is still the best option that I have. And it can happen that I sink so deep into my despair that I arrive at the eye of the tornado, where everything is one. This is the place that the spiritual texts speak about. It is a source of incredible strength and peace.
This is episode 29 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here or sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.