I have experienced a lot of physical pain. Everyone has. We all have our own challenges. Pain is part of being human. From I was a baby I had sore throats and tonsillitis. When I was seven I went to hospital for a week got my tonsils removed. I must have had a lot of pain but I dont remember it. We block out pain its easier.
When I was 21, I was knocked down by a car outside Queens University and spent 22 days in hospital. Tossed 15 feet into the air, shattering the car windscreen and landing in the middle of the Stranmillis Road on my left side. I ended up (luckily) with just a broken tib n fib, a muscle hernia in my leg, shattered shoulder and some stitches in my eye… Those injuries 25 years later constantly cause me trouble and pain. I’ve also added a few more: twisting my ankle, breaking my foot. staving my finger…. I’ve always something, sore stomachs, itchy hives, bad hip… I’m only in my 40s but I could complain like an old granny if I you let me… Several times in the last few years, my back has seized up just like an old granny and I’ve had to get physio in order to straighten up and walk again! It’s wild… So TNH’s words:
“To smile to our pain is the wisest, the most intelligent, the most beautiful things we can do. There is no better way.”
is a challenge to say the least. He must be kidding right?
And I’m just talking physical pain – we all know emotional and psychological pain can be, and oftentimes is, much worse – sometimes even causing physical pain… and I’ve had plenty of that too, thank you very much…
So this meditation practice it is nothing if not challenging. Right now my right foot is broken and and throbbing and calling out its brokenness – can I smile to it… I think of how silly I was in doing it. I smile to my silly self. It’s currently healing. I smile to the amazing healing process of the body. Its only one tiny part that is painful, I smile to the rest of my body not in pain. I smile to this foot pain as Thay told me too… I’m smiling, breathing. Its ok, I can do it 🙂
It’s hard to smile that the things we don’t like. To do it is a practice. If it was easy we wouldn’t have to practice it. Even just smiling to our body can be challenging. I’ve been practising it for a while. I have a lot of gratitude for my body and all that it can do and has been through. I smile in gratitude.
But Thay doesn’t stop there, in this meditation he advises us to smile at our mind, to the roots of pain in our mind. To furthermore smile at the roots of fear, the roots of insecurity, the roots of sadness, the roots of anger, the roots of jealously, the roots of attachment, the roots of being caught. He then saves us by advising we also smile to the root of our joy, the roots of the joy of freedom, the roots of the joy of relaxation. The roots of the joy of letting go and the roots of neutral feeling.
I can smile at my fear. That’s an easy one for me. It is my practice to feel the fear and do it anyway. I love to feel fear and challenge myself to overcome it. Fear for me is feeling small. I smile and rise up to that with the mantra as Jesus said: ‘do not be afraid.’ Ok. I smile.
I smile at my insecurity. Especially in the past. How small I felt, how I’m only a wee girl. How I thought ‘I can’t do that’. How I still sometimes feel that. I smile and say ‘it’s ok’. How empowering to smile at fear. I am Sasha Fierce – smiling 🙂
I smile at my sadness, though it’s not easy. Sadness is still here with me. Sadness at my my miscarriages. Babies that never were. A life that could have been their’s and mine. Smiling in compassion for myself, smiling because what else can I do? I said ‘i can’t accept it’, he said ‘but you have no choice’. Force that smile. see what happens. Keep practising.
I smile at my anger. But I also brood on it. I was SO right. I was justified, their behaviour was outrageous. My ego was so snubbed! How dare they! I smile at my own self-righteousness. I smile because of my stupidity and ignorance. I smile because Thay says ‘there is no better way’. I smile but I still need to practice more.
I smile at my jealously. It’s active. I want that too. I wish I had that. Why can’t I also have that? Why does she get that and not me? Wow jealousy is present in me. Wow i’m also a human, I feel jealousy. It’s ok, let go. Smile.
Smiling at the roots of attachment. Is this attachment healthy or unhealthy? I am judging myself. I am a human being of course I have attachment. I don’t have to change anything. Just smile.
Smiling at the roots of being caught. Oh how easy it is to be caught! How easy to fall into that web, to get hooked, or sucked in as they say here 🙂 I smile so next time I can see before I’m sunk.
Smiling to the roots of the feeling of joy! Aww this feeling of joy, so simple, all the rest falls away. Just sitting, breathing, smiling.
Smiling to the roots of the joy of freedom, I breath out. Freedom is my mantra. I just want to be free… maybe my ideas and way of being free were wrong? I am learning. This is freedom, free from the tyranny of the thinking mind. Just smiling.
Looking at the roots of the joy of relaxation. How much do I love relaxation?! Teaching it, practising it, benefiting from it… every day. I remember the time I practiced it every day. I should practice it every day. I should practice it right now. Smiling. Relaxing. Smiling again.
The joy of letting go. I sing it: ‘Let it go, Let it go….’ There is a poem too: ‘She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.’ The joy. Smiling.
Roots of neutral feeling. Smiling. The relief. No right, no wrong, no good nor bad. Not tight, not loose, not black or white. Just neutral. The orange cup, the green leaf, the air on my skin, the in breath, the out breath, the blue wall, the yellow covered chair, the multicoloured cushion, the beige carpet. No comment, no goal, no attainment. Just smiling. Peace. 🙂