The Messenger

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Meditation is one of the few spaces in life where there’s no pressure, where you’re not trying to feel or not feel any particular way, where you’re being receptive to a truthful experience without judging. It can be a difficult practice, because challenging thoughts and emotions inevitably pop up. The practice is not to ignore your thoughts and feelings but to accept and respond gracefully to whatever is true for you in the moment.

Richard Miller writes that thoughts and emotions are just messengers. Instead of ignoring or resisting them, he says, we should practice welcoming them. If you’re feeling angry or jealous, for example, pay attention. The emotion might alert you to something deeper, just like a fever alerts you to an infection in your body. Instead of reacting to just the fever, be open to the underlying cause. Action might be appropriate, but it will come from a place of understanding and acceptance rather than knee jerk reactivity.

Below is a quote from Frank Zappa, whose music I was introduced to as a teenager by my brother, Peter, a gifted and troubled seeker who has a way of both avoiding and getting to the heart of his truth.

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If you’ve never tried it, give meditation a shot this month. Just remember not to shoot the messenger.

Susan JohnsonComment