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Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
SPRING 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 15 are as a writer, where you are in your life, what you are feeling, and what is inside of you that wants (or needs) to be written. Or to put it another way, consider the four noble truths, transposed into a writer’s credo: The Four Noble Truths for Writers – The writing life is difficult, full of disap- pointment and dissatisfaction. – Much of this dissatisfaction comes from the ego, from our insistence on controlling both the process of writing and how the world reacts to what we have written. – There is a way to lessen the disappointment and dissatisfaction and to live a more fruitful writing life. – The way to accomplish this is to make both the practice of writing and the work itself less about ourselves. To thrive, we must be mindful of our motives and our attachment to desired outcomes. FROM THE MINDFUL WRITER, FORTHCOMING IN MAY FROM WISDOM PUBLICATIONS GOOD NEWS: YOUR LIFE IS FALLING APART Andrew Holocek, author of The Power and the Pain, discusses the upside of difficult fears and experiences that meditation can unlock. We could summarize the entire path into one word: relaxing—relaxing into the nature of your own mind. However, when we start to relax, the repressed elements of the body/ mind come up—it is like a Pandora’s box. We discover that there is a reason we repressed these elements in the first place—we did not want to deal with them. Meditation gives us a second chance to relate to unwanted experience in a healthy way based on equanimity and acceptance. It is a second chance to purify karma. In order to wake up, you have to face the shadow side that you have stuffed into your body/mind. These “regressive” experiences, such as your life falling apart, can be good news. You are starting to get someplace when you come up against barriers of fear and anxiety. What we have been doing in these situations our entire lives is running away from them. When your ego crashes to the ground, at some point it is no longer useful to try to patch it up again to function at the same level. In chaos theory, systems temporarily break down before they reorganize at a higher level. If we don’t understand this process on the spiritual path, we are going to run when the shadow side comes up. This is samsara: run- ning away from reality. The primordial emotion of samsara is fear. What is continually whispered into the sub- conscious mind is to avoid fear at all cost. Until we address that fear, everything we do is fear-based. Actually, fear is the indicator of where we should go in order to grow. It is a marker of ignorance; we are afraid of what we don’t know. Going into the places that scare you (as Pema Chödrön writes) is one of the best ways to become increasingly aware. You use fear as an invitation for genuine spiritual growth. We spend our entire lives running from this emotion. We need to get to know it, make friends with it. The root of the word fear is “fare,” a toll. Facing fear is the toll we have to pay to become fearless. FROM SNOW LION, FALL 2011