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Mt. Root Sangha Readings

Allowing for Space

by Tsoknyi Rinpoche

         The difficulty many of us face is that we don’t know how to give our humanity space. We don’t know how to offer our appreciation. We’ve been taught from a very young age that life is a serious business. We’re taught that we have to accomplish so many things and excel at so many things because we have to compete for a limited amount of resources. We develop such high expectations for ourselves and others, and we develop high expectations of life. Such a competitive, goal-oriented approach to life makes us very speedy inside. We become so tight physically, mentally, and emotionally as we rush through each day, each moment, that many of us forget—often quite literally—to breathe.

        When we allow space into our meditation practice, however, something quite wonderful begins to happen. That solidity, that seriousness begins to break down. We begin to relax a bit more and experience some of the fluidity we enjoyed as young children. We begin to dance with our experience: “Haaa... I’m so upset... I’m so good... I’m happy... I’m a human being... I might be upset, but I’m alive... wow, I’m alive.”

        We also gradually cut through the habit of identifying with each emotional wave that passes through our awareness. We can be angry, envious, or scared without having to act on those emotions or let them take over our lives. We can experience joy or love without becoming attached to the object that we think is the cause of our joy.

        All too often, the emotions we experience, along with the thoughts and behaviors that accompany them, become part of our internal and social story lines. Anger, anxiety, envy, fear, and other emotions become part of who we believe we are, creating a residue. When we allow space into our practice, though, we begin to see the impermanent nature of the thoughts and feelings that arise within our experience—as well as of the conditions, over many of which we have no control. That residue doesn’t build up; there’s nothing for it to cling to. We allow some space within our awareness and rest there. We can respect our troubling thoughts and emotions. We allow them to come and we let them go. Our lives may be complicated on the outside, but we remain simple, easy, and open on the inside.

From Buddhadharma magazine. It's an original teaching of Buddha on how to meditate plus commentary by Narayan Liebenson Grady