Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Spectrum of Reality

I'm struck lately by the odd nature of life. How we tend to refer to the bad stuff as *reality* or something that interrupts our otherwise pleasant, pain-free experience. ("Back to reality, now." "I got a major dose of reality this morning!" "Reality check!")

But this is faulty thinking.

It is all *real*.

My recent post over at Nerdy Renegade News gained its title from this very concept. I have found myself, over the past 48 hours or so, going through a roller coaster ride of experiences and emotions. And then witnessing my mind's attempts to trick me by categorizing them as either good or bad when, in fact, they all just ARE. They require no label. They are all a part of me and my life in this world at the present time.

We had an amazingly wonderful time on our concert trip to Cleveland. We came home to find a relative very sick in the hospital with what might be irreversible brain damage. Needless to say, my mind was having a hard time wrapping itself around the contrast.

So, this morning I immersed myself in the wisdom of Pema Chodron's words. If you haven't read her works, especially When Things Fall Apart, please allow me to highly recommend them to you.

Everything is real. And our attempts to seek pleasure and avoid pain are just ways our monkey mind has of tricking us into staying asleep. Preferring death over life, we cling to the familiar and try to insulate ourselves from the *bad* stuff. Or allow ourselves to get totally frazzled and knocked off kilter when they come, which they always will.

And herein lies my connection to spending! So much of it is based out of trying to meet an emotional need. I buy things to make myself feel better. If I can only *protect* myself by acquiring a possession, or groceries, or concert tickets, etc. then things will be alright.

I'm beginning to see the hilarious, faulty, never-ending cycle of this type of thinking. But, boy, is it hard to break. Instead of sitting with my uncomfortable emotions (much of what Pema Chodron and the Buddhist philosophy encourages us to do), I distract myself with shopping, acquiring, spending - or simply even surfing purchase options but not buying. :-0

Yes, of course, we needed the cat food and canned goods and toilet paper that I purchased last night. But I also realize that I was shopping to distract myself and provide a sense of comfort and accomplishment on what had been an otherwise yucky day.

And so the quest continues.

To root out the real reasons for my spending. To bring them to the surface, dust them off, look at them in the light - and accept them for what they are. And then, if need be, work diligently to replace them with healthier choices that will serve my higher self in more effective ways.


Amy said...

Dear Lisa-

I am so sorry for your recent troubles. I hope you will find the comfort you need.

I am happy to have found your blogs and enjoy reading your posts.


Jena Strong said...

Lisa - I so appreciate the honesty of this post, and relate deeply to much of the content. Staying, being still, with whatever IS, without labels or judgments. Just this morning, I sat and did my ten minutes of meditation at a cafe downtown, noticing the impulse to get up and go... shopping.

xo Jena

P.S. Love to your relative.

GailNHB said...

Thanks for this post, Lisa. This reminder that all that is - is. Real. True. It is. Live with it. Live through it. Feel it. And learn from all of it. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you.

Lori said...

I am really enjoying your blog! I also love reading Pema Chodron's books. She is very inspirational and I first read one of her articles in the Oprah magazine and have read several books by her since. It is an ongoing, never ending process to know yourself, being still and quiet with the meditation helps greatly! Keep up the great work Lisa!

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