Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nutritional value of difficulty

Last night I ran into some difficulty while trying to video stream meditation (twice per week I offer online meditation on Ustream). It turned out to be a great opportunity to practice Don't-know mind.

First, I attempted to stream using my new laptop, but there's no setting to keep the computer from falling asleep. So, following someone's advice online, I opened another window and played Pandora in the background, on mute. But I guess the music was eating my bandwidth, so I kept getting disconnected from Ustream. This went on for like eight minutes, which meant I was late for the meditation. And I hate being late.

Now ordinarily I'm pretty high strung, and a situation like this would get me spuming, but rather than get all bent out of shape I just opened myself up to it. The event was neither good nor bad; any judgments were entirely of my own making. So I had a choice: make something out of the situation--get all upset because life wasn't meeting my expectations--or remain open in a non-possessive, uncontrolling mode of experience.

So eventually I got my old computer set up. I apologized for being five minutes late, and then we began to meditate. But about 20 minutes in my old laptop restarted. Talk about irony: I use my HP to avoid my new computer going to sleep, and then this one restarts on me! It's like a Seinfeld episode. Okay, maybe that last one's a bit of stretch, but it was just as comical as it was annoying.

Once again I found myself staring at an uncooperative computer screen. So I just sat there. What else was there to do? Sure I felt like a nincompoop, but getting upset wasn't going to change anything.

Don't make anything, my teacher always tells me. So that's what I was doing, or not doing---not making anything.

Usually I engaged the huatou, "What is this?", a useful method to disarm habit energy and the judging mind. But I didn't need it this time. I just opened myself to my slowly loading computer, my dull disappointment, to whatever else arose.

When I finally logged back on, I apologized once again. Then I sat the remaining minute and a half of the meditation period, and closed with the Bodhisattva Vow.

So that's what happened.  As it turns out, difficulty was a good teacher. Grist for the mill, some might say. For it's when things don't go our way that we feel the edges of our egos stretching, and our capacity to be open and accepting grows. 

Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: Public Domain Photos.

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