I had an interesting meditation this morning. Maybe you can relate: It was one of those practices that when you come out of it, you think you’ve just solved one of human nature’s most puzzling riddles. And while the glow tends to last for a couple of hours, you know that by lunchtime it’s going to be replaced with yet another question. It was one of those. And I’m still in the glow.
Sitting quietly, saying my mantra (I won’t bore you with the details, except that it’s the same phrase over and over again and well, it keeps me focused on most day), I dropped into that intimate internal space and realized just how locked down I was with regards to my feelings. As if a thousand pound weight was pressing ever so heavily on my chest, I was, in my experience, in full defensive mode. And although I tend to pride myself on being “in touch” with my feelings, this morning, I wasn’t in the mood.
So like any good meditator, I began that process of becoming mindful of that thousand pound weight. And what arose was somewhat profound (at least to me):
What comes first, the thought or the feeling?
Now for me, most meditations involve trying to get away from solving life’s issues rather than going on a full court question and answer press. I find that if I can get to the space where I am aware of and not attached to how creation seems to be manifesting in any given situation, I am much more apt to meet that situation with an open heart (and an even more open mind). That said, this morning’s question was just too juicy.
So I sat there…and sat there. Thinking…and thinking. Until it finally dawned on me, what the hell does it matter?
For me, thoughts and feelings go hand in hand. But here’s the rub: depending upon which one consciously arises first, I use the other to try to explain it. And in a sense, lock that feeling or thought down from actually moving on.
An example: All of a sudden I find myself feeling sad. Quite unconsciously, I scan my memory bank to come up with every reason why it would make sense that I would be experiencing sadness. I then attach that sadness to those memories and voila…depression. Nice way to start a morning.
And the example works in the reverse. I have a thought. I then scan my feeling bank to come up with a sensible and “rational” feeling.
Back to the question; does it really matter which came first, the chicken or the egg? What if the chicken and the egg were already there, waiting to be discovered? Similarly, what if my thoughts and feelings just exist?
So what’s the point? Well, for me, first off meditation gives me the opportunity to ponder these existential questions that to be honest, if I didn’t have, I be bored to death. More importantly, however, at least in this morning’s meditation, I was once again reminded that my happiness is directly proportional to my attachments, or lack there of. I also again, realized just how miserable I have been at certain times in my life because of this lack of awareness.
My conscious mantra for today? Every time someone pisses me off or hurts my feelings or does something I don’t agree with, pause and gently remind myself of the word: attachment. Hopefully it will stick, at least until my mid-afternoon snack.