(Written in December 2008, at Kripalu for retreat with Jack Kornfield)
I’m having a very hard time. I’m feeling profoundly discouraged. I keep thinking “I can’t go on.” Then I try to put it aside and refocus on my breath. But the heavy ache is still there in my heart. I feel really stuck. I’m guessing that I’m hating myself for not being able to shift it. Or maybe it’s that I’m resisting whatever feelings I do feel. Again I can only guess: anger? grief? disappointment? discouragement? fear? Probably all of the above. I’m so jealous of all the people who are finding some ease in the meditation.
My heart has softened and eased. (Thank you) First it was the story of the young woman with a nerve cut in her face — her husband said he thought it was “cute” and kissed her with his mouth twisted to match hers. Jack said “Can we touch our brokenness with kindness?” He also said that metta is the antidote to fear, and recommended a year of metta practice for oneself. He said if you have trouble doing metta for yourself to imagine yourself as a child. So I imagined Little Jenny with the Dar Gorani look and that helped a lot.
May I be filled with lovingkindness
May I experience safety
May I experience well-being
May I be happy
May I touch my broken places with tenderness
When Jack talked about metta being the antidote to fear, I wondered if what I have been feeling in the stoniness is fear, shut down because I’m so afraid. It doesn’t feel like terror, and it doesn’t feel like fear — well there’s no energy for fighting or fleeing, both feel utterly impossible, but maybe this is freeze. The sense of helplessness is so huge, I want to hide, or disappear, or die. Maybe this is what a baby feels like.
It’s not an exact science, it’s an art. Start with what works. I am my most difficult person. Sigh