I’m in a weird sort of in-between spot in my practice right now. I’ve reached the point where I’m beginning to recognize when I’ve gone and screwed something up…but only after I’ve gone and screwed it up.
Example: I had a bit of a falling out with someone yesterday. Voices were raised, tempers ignited, and needless to say…I made a fool of myself. After it was all said and done, I was mad at the other party for all of about two minutes. Then my internal conversation turned to self-judgment: “Dammit Zack, we talked about this. About getting stressed out and overreacting to situations. This is why you practice meditation, right?”
I realized what was going on in my head, and tried to apply what I’ve learned from meditation. I stepped outside for a walk and began breathing steadily. I tried to focus on the thoughts in my head to see what story they were telling. It didn’t take long. After a few deep breaths I realized that my problem was, wait for it, attachment. As soon as the conversation began, I had immediately decided on the appropriate outcome. When I didn’t get the answer my mind had attached itself to, all hell broke loose. An image popped into my head of the Buddha looking me in the eye and saying, “Do you get it now?” I chuckled, took a few more deep breaths, and moved on.
So while it’s well and good that I could recognize all that, it would have been a lot better if I could’ve recognized the attachment before the conversation went south. That’s why I’m saying that I’m in an awkward spot right now; all the pieces are there, I just seem to put them together too late. Oh well, it takes time, I guess….
….that’s why they call it a practice.
Oh, and the conversation with the other person?
We resolved it in a way that made us both happy. So it wasn’t a total loss. I guess it wasn’t even a complete loss in the end, was it?