The next meditation for the Women's Group is Wednesday, April 4, 7:00-8:30 pm in Room 23 at Neighborhood Church, 301 North Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena (next to the 134 Freeway), upstairs in the northeast corner of the campus where PasaDharma meets.
Class: "Echo Talk" technique, which helps slow down the incessant mind chatter we all wade through. The "10-Minute Chill" and relaxing "Body Scan" are two additional easy meditations usually done, in addition to a walking meditation.
These short (5-10 minutes), guided periods are designed to ease our way into meditation. While there is no charge for the class, participants may make a donation of dana, a Buddhist-Pali word that means "generosity freely offered." Bring a yoga mat to stretch out for the body scan.
DHARMA FOR THE DAY
Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart, pp. 122-123, "Three Methods for Working with Chaos"
The second method of working with chaos is using poison as medicine. We can use difficult situations -- poison -- as fuel for waking up. When anything difficult arises -- any kind of conflict, any notion of unworthiness, anything that feels distasteful, embarrassing, or painful -- instead of trying to get rid of it, we breathe it in.
The three poisons are: passion (this includes craving or addiction), aggression, and ignorance (which includes denial or the tendency to shut down and close out).
We would usually think of these poisons as something bad, something to be avoided. But that isn't the attitude here; instead, they become seeds of compassion and openness. When suffering arises, the instruction is to let the storyline go and breathe it in -- not just the anger, resentment, or loneliness that we might be feeling, but the identical pain of others who in this very moment are also feeling rage, bitterness, or isolation.
We breathe it in for everybody. This poison is not just our personal misfortune, our fault, our blemish, our shame -- it's part of the human condition. It's our kinship with all living things, the material we need in order to understand what it's like to stand in another person's shoes.
Instead of pushing it away or running from it, we breathe in and connect with it fully. We do this with the wish that all of us could be free of suffering. Then we breathe out, sending out a sense of big space, a sense of ventilation or freshness. We do this with the wish that all of us could relax and experience the innermost essence of our mind.
We are told from childhood that something is wrong with us, with the world, and with everything that comes along: it's not perfect, it has rough edges, it has a bitter taste, it's too loud, too soft, too sharp, too wishy-washy. We cultivate a sense of trying to make things better because something is bad here, something is a mistake here, something is a problem here.
The main point of these methods is to dissolve the dualistic struggle, our habitual tendency to struggle against what's happening to us or in us. These methods instruct us to move toward difficulties rather than backing away. We don't get this kind of encouragement very often.
Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up. We can use everything that occurs -- whether it's our conflicting emotions and thoughts or our seemingly outer situation -- to show us where we are asleep and how we can wake up completely, utterly, without reservations.