I’ve been pondering recently how I am still so full of anger, righteousness, drawn to and driven by drama (the dharma of drama!), how easily I get triggered. Meditation practice and studying Buddhism helped become much more aware but not to the point that I am always successful at taking the pause between the trigger and the reaction.
Then I discover the teachings of Shin Buddhism which teaches us to awaken by embracing the suffering inherent in the day to day life. Here are interesting quotes from Taitetsu Unno’s Into the valley:
“It [Shin Buddhism] challenges people to discover the ultimate meaning of life in the abyss of the darkness of ignorance.”
“…liberation is made available to us not because we are wise but because we are ignorant, limited, imperfect, and finite.”
“…one must struggle with oneself in the midst of all kinds of entanglements in society.”
“…the self-awakening to the immersion in the swamp of anger, jealousy, insecurity, fear, addiction, arrogance, hypocrisy.”
“As James Hillman points out, “The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.”
So not to overcome, to work through but embrace, with compassion. Tara Brach uses “lean in” to explain the way to liberation in the midst of everyday suffering:
“Leaning into suffering does not mean losing our balance and getting lost in suffering. Because our usual stance in relating to suffering is leaning away from it, to turn and face suffering directly serves as a correction. As we lean in, we are inviting, moving toward what we habitually resist… leaning in can help us become aware and free in the midst of our experience.”
In the The Spiritual Work of a Worldly Life, Steven Goodman, says:
“…every being and every problem is experienced as insubstantial—part of a magical display created by the mind and sustained by the power of karmic habits.”
“It is one of direct liberation. Here the world and one’s place in it are directly recognized as free, unlimited and unconstrained just as they are. Every mode of experience, every situation is freeing. Whatever arises is recognized as it arises and in that recognition is freed. There is nothing to reject and nothing to accept. Things just happen—beyond every scheme for improvement, beyond yearning and hope for betterment. When experienced like this, all occasions are delightful, the cause of merriment and laughter.”
I guess we carry on facing bravely and with love what is. The freedom as always is through, not around. Work in progress.
I find driving a very good test of my ability to see through anger and stop it in its tracks. I think I am getting better at it. I believe my progress towards equanimity is, on the whole, a success. But as you say, it is a tough road.
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Interesting, Anthony! Road rage is a good practice 🙂 For me, it’s loving kindness and sympathetic joy, especially towards triggering people, that is work in progress. I still find myself perpetuating drama more often than I’d like!