Monday, August 16, 2010

Where's the war?

During my meditation over the last few days I've started a little practice where I gently ask myself, 'where's the war?' and I'm finding it very enlightening. 
I've found that, almost always, there will be a war.  There will be somewhere where inside myself where I'm struggling, disagreeing, criticizing, or talking my way out of thoughts or feelings I am having.  Sometimes the 'war' appears as words and sometimes as a crunching feeling in my stomach, or a clenching feeling throughout my body. 
For example, I might notice that I have a pain in my back.  'Is there any war here?' I ask myself.  Then I notice a cramping feeling around the pain. It's a feeling that I don't want this pain but also feel like it's my fault that it's there. The text of the 'war' goes: 'If I was a better meditator I wouldn't have this pain. What am I doing wrong in my meditation?  Why can't I just get it?'
'Oh, OK,' I note to myself.  'There's the war.  I have this pain - I don't want it, and I blame myself for having it.'
Then, I try to bring some loving kindness to this war.  Not to make the war go away, but just to extend some compassion towards myself for having it.  ' sure is hard having this war going on.  I don't think this is my fault.  It's just hard - to see it, to feel it, to notice it.'
And I keep going like this - gently asking myself where the war is, and when I see it, bringing some loving kindness to it.
Bringing the loving kindness often attracts its own little war.  This little battle goes: 'You idiot!  You shouldn't be showing yourself kindness for having all these terrible, warring, criticizing feelings! You soft need to FIX this...'
If I notice this war, I just bring attention to it in the same way, 'Oh...a little war saying I shouldn't be feeling kindness towards myself. can be tough having these wars.  I'm sure this isn't my fault...'
And on it goes...I just follow the trail of thoughts and feelings.  Noticing the war...feeling lovingkindness...noticing the battle...bringing compassion. 


  1. Really touching...
    Sometimes We look at ourselves and fear failure, so we pretend to be something that we are not, dishonest to our own selves and to our Creator, believing that we are not worthy of love or appreciation or respect.

    So we don’t let the world see us for who we really are. We fear rejection..

    We are never alone... And we must never give up the fight, what we must do is realize the challenge and hold firmly to it to catch that next ray of hope. What challenge might you provide to your own soul today to help you find the beauty,health,wealth within

    Just saying...Glad to be here, best regards

  2. This is a great practice! I just love it and am going to pass it on to others. I've been doing a similar practice outside of meditation. When I notice, I'm suffering, I say: "This is suffering." Then I investigate why and, of course, it's always because I want something I don't have OR I don't want something I do have! That makes me realize I have a choice. I can keep on suffering or just let the "wants/don't wants" go. I use it in the simplest of places. The last time was while waiting for the doctor to come in and start the root canal. He was over 30 minutes late and I was just sitting in the dental chair waiting. When I did my little exercise, I decided to stop wanting him to come it and instead just listened to the piped in music and relaxed.

    Where's the war? I love it!

  3. Hi Free7 and Toni,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback.

    Free7 - I related so much to your sentence, 'So we don’t let the world see us for who we really are.' I think that really gets to the heart of what I was trying to say...when I make a war with myself, I'm not wanting myself (let alone the world) to see me as I really am.

    Toni - a root canal? What can I say? You are brave! I would have spent that 30 mins freaking out with fear of what was to come! lol

    I think it's great to have little practices like 'this is suffering' or 'where's the war?' that we can do outside of structured meditation.


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