"We have this mistaken idea that either we have regret or we get rid of it. Trungpa Rinpoche talked about holding the sadness of life in our heart while never forgetting the beauty of the world and the goodness of being alive. There comes a time when we are able to be pierced to the heart by our own suffering, and the suffering of others, and by our own regrets, without it dragging us down."
-- Pema Chödron, "Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears"
"Live in the moment" I tell myself. It's what I keep reading in books, articles and blogs. What I hear in these words "live in the moment" is that I should be in a constant state of bliss and appreciation for the beauty that can always be found if you look and are open to seeing.
Imagine my feelings of failure when I realize that what I feel is sad and tired.
I dig, and I do, and I pray, and I run away from the feelings I take to be negative or painful. Anything that makes me less than a "fun" person to be around must go.
But my attempts to quickly find relief from pain has come with a price -- exhaustion, the need to continually buy things or eat too much, and a big fall when I return back to the feeling I tried to escape, realizing that nothing has changed in a meaningful way. I’m right back to that which I was trying to escape, only usually I’ve dug myself an even deeper hole.
Thank goodness I have run into some books lately by authors who are not offering solutions for removing my pain, but instead encourage me to abide, relax, and open myself up to these less than pleasant feelings. It’s a little more complex than what I can explain here, but what I’m getting out of these books is that being present and living in the moment means also being present to the pain. If I quit running, stay still for a moment and breathe my way through it, I find the feeling of being overwhelmed passes and that I do not die.
"Yes!" I say with hope as I read along, “this makes sense to me.”
I don't have to be dragged down because I haven't been able to completely rid myself of the past and its effects. Those are the things that provide me with insight, wisdom, and compassion. Nor do I have to feel bad that I am not perfect about any of this. I have the rest of my life to practice and improve.