Friday, March 16, 2012

Tea With Mara

In a book I read recently (Radical Acceptance) the author describes how the Buddha meets with Mara. You can think of this encounter sort of like Jesus in the desert and encountering Satan/temptation. Buddha is confronted with Mara who tries to question Buddha's right to speak/think what he does. I've really connected with this Buddha/Mara image in my own body. When I feel fear/anxiety/tension begin to build in my body, when I start to question my path or decisions, I can step back and say, "Oh, hello Mara." Identifying these thoughts as Mara, as something separate from me, from my best self, I can sit down and have a chat with Mara. I can invite these feeling and questions in and have a conversation with them, allowing me to fully explore them and literally diffuse them. Rather than ignoring these things, building a wall and tensing my body. Rather than them creating tension in my life, I can invite them in as an old friend with some advice. Advice I might follow or ignore. I can look at them honestly and maybe even learn something important from the encounter.

I have even started envisioning asking Mara, when I recognize her, to have tea with me. "Hello Mara, I see that's you," I like to say. "Please sit and have some tea with me." Mara is usually grumpy and a bit juvenile, but like a patient parent with a hormonal teen, I can wait for Mara to open up to me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am brilliant in the morning!!

So independent confirmation that early morning, blurry, wild ideas are good to record! I am reading an article I got at work called "Getting to No: The Science of Building Willpower." In a sidebar note, they say this:

"The habits most of us follow each  morning, it turns out, run exactly counter to the conditions that neuro-scientists and cognitive psychologists tell us promote flexible, open-minded thinking. Our hurried wake-up leads most of us to miss imaginative insights, which are most likely to come to us when we're groggy and unfocused."

They also recommend standing in the warm water of a shower, not thinking about plans for the day, but just enjoying our wandering thoughts. I'm an expert at that!