around and around we go…

…where it stops, nobody knows!

In a recent discussion, I was asked about the ups and downs of life.  Here was my response:

We do want to cultivate equanimity, a feeling of acceptance with resolve and without resistance.  The resolve is that everything is perfect without attachment to a specific version of perfection.  The resistance is found in attaching to a particular outcome that leads to stress and unbalanced emotions when expectations are not met.  I believe meditation is the key to dwelling in equanimity, but some teachings are very helpful along the way…

I play a game with the kids called “fortunately, unfortunately” that arose from an old story of a farmer and a horse, sometimes titled, “Who knows?”  The game is best played with an odd number of people as one person starts a story with Fortunately… and then the next picks up with Unfortunately… and next to Fortunately… and around and around we go.  For example:  Fortunately I found a $20 bill on the ground; Unfortunately it was Mexican Pesos; Fortunately I was in Mexico;  Unfortunately…   The game has no end, but stops when our food arrives or whatever.

This game demonstrates that we don’t know the outcome of any given scenario.  The ecology of the situation is too complex.  What appears good can turn out bad (think lottery winner that dies of a heart attack from all the excitement) and often what appears bad turns out good (like relationship troubles that force players to learn and grow).  The only truth about the Universe that we can agree upon is that it’s expanding and I like to interpret that to mean that there’s always another opportunity ahead.  If I hold onto frustration, anxiety, anger, resentment I’ll likely miss some great opportunities.

Changing how we react to situations first requires awareness of how we are currently acting.  After analysis, if we see a better way, we begin practicing until it becomes 2nd nature.  Being well-nourished (sleep, food, love, laughter, purpose) will really help as our minds are definitely affected by our bodies.  But changing how we see the world requires an inner inquiry into our soft-squishy centers that can reveal some painful truths.  Accepting them with resolve and without resistance takes a willingness and vulnerability that is courageous to say the least.

To answer your question about how to greet certain feelings, I would start with validating them.  Call them out and then question them.  Why am I feeling resentment?   What’s so awe-inspiring about this?  How come that just seems normal?  And then practicing non-defensive responses that refuse to run and hide, nor become aggressive.  Luckily, our mind can change in an instant.  Our body may take a little longer…

Earlier I said the the body directly affects the mind, the opposite is also true.  When feeling angry, resentful, or even vulnerable it triggers a stress response that leads us to fight, flight, or freeze.  Once we become aware of the ‘negative’ feeling we can work to replace it with something more helpful.  I search for compassion when angry.  Forgiveness when feeling resent.  Courage when vulnerable.  Right then and there as I become aware of the emotion so it doesn’t linger and soak in.  I can find the more positive response by inquiring deeper into the offender’s motivations as well as my own nature.  Almost always it reveals that the offender is not so offensive, and that my nature could use some enhancements.  In the end, I’m left thanking what originally hurt me.  And around and around we go.

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Author: adamcoleshapiro

- just a man, father, husband, son, brother, and friend to many trying to make a difference by sharing what i've learned and think will be useful to you. My background: Mr. Adam Shapiro is a Nationally Certified (NCCAOM) and Colorado State Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), holding a Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) from The Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, CA. Prior to becoming an acupuncturist and herbalist, Adam studied several ancient martial arts including Tai Ji, Bagua, Hsing-I, and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, as well as healing arts known as Qi Gong. Adam's love for these Chinese internal arts paved the way for him to become a hands-on healer and heart-felt teacher sharing the gifts he's gained from his years of dedicated study and practice.

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