This time, I was quicker at noticing the nascent weed.
It rose up, just like that, a few days ago. Just one thought, at first, soon followed by many more in the same 'worry' family. From worry to blame, to anger, to depression, only a short few steps quickly taken. It took me six days to get out of it. It was that strong.
Gil's recent talk on the hindrances was timely. Here are my notes:
It is important to see what can take us away from mindfulness, namely the hindrances. The meaning of the word 'hinder' is 'to cover over'. The challenge is in noticing when we are about to get caught and in not picking up the hindrance. There lies the possibility for release and freedom.
We need to cultivate such moment, so that we can understand how we get caught.
The five hindrances:
ill will or aversion - to attack, blame, push away, not want, destroy
sloth and torpor - dull, sinking mind, depression, a response to aversion
restlessness and remorse
All universal tendencies that should not be taken personally. When we encounter them, we can tell ourselves, great, I get to study it. This way we understand our humanity. We can release ourselves little by little by stepping back and not getting caught. The hindrances can be seen as five unhealthy strategies we adopt when we are uncomfortable. The danger is in loosing ourselves if we focus on the object. The movement of mindfulness is to turn our attention to what it feels to be desiring or aversive. We can become aware of the cost of the anger to ourselves. Some times, looking is counter indicated if it triggers more agitation, more desire, more aversion. With aversion, we then practice loving kindness. With desire, we use our imagination as antidote, seeing the undesirable qualities of the object. With sloth and torpor, we don't give in, we study what it feels like. With restlessness, we make the radical move to sit still. With doubt, the most dangerous of all because so pernicious, we need to be extra vigilant.
This week, I felt the full power of the hindrances marching in pack, as they often do. And it was quite humbling, to say the least. The mind has ways of convincing itself that it is right, when it is indeed wrong. The mind has trouble owning one's troubles, and wants to put it 'out there', in this case, one person.
Many weeds that keep growing back, and the constant job required of tending one's inner garden.
How many weeds in your garden?