Laundry Lists and The Dharma III
Doors and Shadows (and light!)
Spring is beginning to open up new insights and views. Things that have been held in shadows since November are now reawakening, almost as if actually awakening for the first time. They may be as worn as a barn door, but it the fresh morning light seem…entirely new.
The Third Noble Truth
There is an end to suffering (the end of clinging!). I will touch on this Truth before I take on the Traits I consider this week. The statement is as hopeful as the Spring light on this door. As sure as it is true that Suffering IS, so it is true that it ENDS. One of the most encouraging tenets of Buddhist teaching is that all things are impermanent, including suffering. Things, arise, exist and then pass away.
One of the statements I include every day in my meditation is that, “Everyone and everything near and dear to me will change and pass away." A short version of this is, “Loss is a part of life.” Holding on to something as if it might somehow defy the reality of impermanence is to cling and continue in suffering. When clinging ceases there can be an end of suffering.
I feel comfortable resting in this very accurate description of life and the world as we know them and at the same time hoping in that picture from Christian and Jewish scriptures that look to a time when suffering ceases altogether (Isaiah 35:10 and Revelation 21:4).
Laundry List Trait #3
We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
Oh, yes…this is me. Or shall I say, this has been me. Slowly, with the help of the ACA program I am getting behind and beyond this fear of abandonment triggered by anger and criticism. In the past it has implied my failure to play my part in the game of codependence. I am learning to remove myself from that game.
My fear of anger has led me to fear my own anger. I have been sitting on a powder keg most of my life. Just as my gastroenterologist how my intestinal tissues have fared with all this repressed emotion. The good news…I am now entirely off my “gut meds”.
Laundry List Trait #8
We become addicted to excitement.
This trait has eluded me ever since I first addressed it two years ago when I began my ACA work. The key to understanding it came from reading the “Other Laundry List” manifestation of this trait. “We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb.” OMG. I have been feeding myself with negative excitement (including the steady dread of anger and criticism talked about earlier) and have become quite numb.
I can see an end to this particular mode of suffering…and that is good news.
What do I do with all of this? Working on the Laundry List Traits and considering the Dharma (the truth of how things are) is giving me a fresh perspective on life. One of the hard parts of this process is that same dynamic I remember discussing in Christian Eschatology classes; the tension of Already and Not Yet. Seeing more clearly the light in the shadows is not an end to suffering in and of itself. It is, rather, a perspective that gives me hope in the midst of those things I cannot control…things I would loosen my grip on.