Tough Stuff

Tough Stuff

Here are a couple of practices that we have been using to work with difficult conditions. The first is predisposing our minds to see a difficult condition as something beneficial. Not easy but very powerful when it works. We recite to ourselves, maybe everyday:

“May I see each difficult condition as a blessing, a teacher and an opportunity for transformation.” x3 or x7 or x21

We then spoke about patience and the Four Quick Responses in the heat of the moment.

The Four Quick Responses

If the difficulty or your emotional reaction to the difficulty persists longer than a few minutes, you can begin applying the four quick responses to it.

Hold whatever is arising with strong, steady mindfulness.

Be mentally and heartfully open to the raw experience and directly see things as they are. Do not push the anger, fear or sadness away nor become identified with it. Hold it in awareness. Feel it. Sense it. Burn it off. Let it come and go, using the breath as an anchor and any other physical sensations.

Apply an antidote.

Recite an antidote to help weaken any reactivity. You can do this silently or loudly; quickly or slowly; briefly or in a sustained way. Two good general meditations are “impermanence” an “loving-kindness”.

Deflect it.

Leave the room. Do something constructive i.e. get back to work, or clean the dishes. Reach out to someone who is loving and supportive. Turn to something beautiful, comforting or distracting. Take an ibuprofen or enjoy a glass of wine. Zone out, or simply don’t think about it.

Tough it out.

Ride the anger, fear, sadness or adrenaline like a “bucking bronco”. Hold on tight. White-knuckle it, while doing as little outer harm as possible.