Mindfulness is not a panacea, but a golden opportunity. Posted by John -- 1. on April 26, 1999 at 14:02:13:
In Reply to: alternatives... posted by Jeff on April 25, 1999 at 22:42:02:
I see how much you're hurtin', Sally. So that'll be the first
responding I'll get to here today. Jeff, that's superb classmate
support in your sharing and teaching, and I hope others of you will be
brave enough to respond to Sally here as best you can.
Over the course of time that a person is learning mindfulness, the ups
and downs of their life (perhaps extremes of each) will go on as usual.
That is their "karma," so to speak--the way that their lives are *set
up* to repeat certain upsets and crises through the conditioned
personality that they have been acting-out over the years.
The discovery of mindfulness is not a panacea for the sufferings of
life. Those who discover mindfulness still have to practice it (come
hell or high water) for long enough to become able to start becoming
aware a little more of the process of their lives . . . to start
recognizing the part that they add into it that only makes their
difficult situations worse.
I've spent thirty years coming up with mindful strategies that can make
a difference in these upset and crisis situations. A person has to keep
working on developing mindfulness itself, and then these golden
opportunities to make these strategic moves begin to be recognized.
The more that Students study out the things that show up in high relief
in the "classical" difficult situations in their lives, the more easily
they will be able to perceive what's going on in the present. How to
change the mix? That's the question. Because most of the main dramas
in our lives keep going on, unchanging, repetitively. We need to be
able to get free of the sway of these conditioned patterns.
When Students *do* begin spotting the opportunities to assert changes
into the mix of difficult situations, they may be able to effect quite a
bit of change with only a few "enlightened" moves such as these. For
one thing, if they are able to be awake enough not to throw their own
"aggressive violence" back against someone who is attacking them, that
alone can make for significant change in the way their classical
"personality war" goes on for them. For awhile there can be peace . . .
. . and then the force of conditioning brings either or *both* of the
parties back into their old habits of manipulating and wounding each
So the idea, in this approach, is to keep on the watch for old problems
cycling back in again, and awake enough not to compound them by
When Students study out problem situations, noting all that they can see
"standing out in high relief," this process of mindful contemplation
(which is what this practice is) can allow for insights on how to get
out of the pickle they are in.
This is going to have to do with things the Student himself or herself
can do. It will not depend upon what the other attacking party will do
because they are most likely to do what they are conditioned to do. The
Student is also spring-loaded to do what he or she is conditioned to do,
but because of practicing mindfulness there is a possibility that they
will notice the tension on the scoreboard and wake up, and take actions
from a mindful point of view.
The best insights that I've had during my life, when caught in
situations of crisis, where everything seems so entangled and insoluble,
have been very simple ideas, very simple realizations of "what to do."
No matter what the other person is doing to me, I realize that is what
they are conditioned to do because of the sleeping condition they are
in. So I don't look for long-term answers in "changes the other person
has to make." I sift for clever changes that I can make within.
I'll continue with this subject, and other responses. My heart goes out
to you, Sally. For all of us, life is so tough at times!
Hello, Everybody! I'm back.
Archived 15 Jun 99