Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your perspective, if you take a look at the word around you, you are bound to feel some sadness. Take the latest occurrences in Japan. How can a person not reflect upon the devastation and heartache and not feel a sense of sadness. The trick, however, is not to be consumed by the sadness. Rather, to use meditation to work through it and to uncover its gift.
In this latest Huffington Post from Susan Piver, the practice of meditation as a way to transcend sadness is discussed. According to Piver, some people when experiencing sadness turn to anger, hopelessness, and helplessness, thinking that it is much easier to deal with these emotions than with pure sadness. Through meditation, however, sadness leads to compassion. And while the road to compassion is uncomfortable at best, at least you are on a path toward bliss.
Meditation teaches you to relax with the discomfort of sadness and stay with it, not turn it into something else. At this point, you can lay claim to your brand of helpful activity, whether it takes the form of activism, leadership, charitable work, making art, prayer or simple, basic kindness to all.
Despair is what happens when you fight sadness. Compassion is what happens when you don’t. It will not feel “good,” but it will feel alive, and this aliveness is the path to bliss. I once heard from a student of Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche that when asked what bliss felt like, he said, “To you, it would probably feel like pain.”
The key, and this is a big one, is to learn to stabilize your heart in the open state. The practice of meditation is this stabilization. It is so much more than a self-improvement technique, as I’ve said 100 zillion times. It is a path to peace. It is a path to love, not the sappy-silly kind, but the real deal.
Read more from Piver on using meditation to transcend your sadness here.