Monday, January 23, 2012

The Space Between

While spinning, I am very aware of the times when things become unpleasant . . . 

Another request from the instructor to turn the knob one more notch. Another long climb. Another song, not on my list of favorites. It does not take much for the mind to start its habitual number. "Oh, no, this is tough, I don't like it, I can't wait for more fun moments." Throat and stomach tighten, and off I am thinking about work awaiting at home, or the next trip to Paris, or last night's dream, etc. Anything but right now. 
The teaching of dependent arising [. . .] shows us the cause and effect that exist within and outside of us. [. . .] Within that cycle there is one doorway through which we can step out, namely, the space between feeling and craving. All the other steps of dependent arising are automatic causes and effects. Unless we learn to live with unpleasant and pleasant feelings, without wanting to get rid of the one or keeping and renewing the other, we don't have access to that doorway - we continue to circle in samsara over and over again. Our training leads us to equanimity as the pinnacle of all emotions, so that our feelings no longer get the better of us. As long as we are victims of our feelings and our emotions, we are not really free. 
~ Ayya Khema, in When the Iron Eagle Flies ~

"Getting ready to head back to the Y." Joel signals the sweet ending of his class. Mind sighs with relief, at the well earned pleasure of  taking it easy after a hard class. Precarious happiness . . . 

Each time, an opportunity to practice stepping out through the doorway, the space between feeling, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and craving or aversion. 

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