However, finding comfort in whatever state we are in is indeed a worthy goal!
St. Paul has said, “…..for I have learned in whatever state I am in to be content.” Philippians 4:11.
Comfort is a byproduct of skillful attention and wisdom in how we respond to each situation in life.
Real comfort occurs when we can work with whatever arises, knowing causes and conditions have come about that produced it, and that it will change. In fact it is already changing, because that’s the nature of reality. And we don’t know what it will change into, or become!
Nothing physical or material lasts. Every formed thing is in process of being born and dying. All is impermanent.
We will find times that are pleasant and also unpleasant times, and according to the Buddha, they balance out evenly.
So what have we been expecting—everything to go our way?
It is important to look deeply into our expectations, for they lead to disappointment and suffering.
Especially our expectations ourself! The Buddha has said that the greatest cause of suffering in humans is the incorrect view of the personality. What do we think we have control over? And what/who do we think we are?
What we do have control over is how we see. We can choose what thoughts to focus on, for thoughts lead to actions.
I believe the wisest choice I can make is to notice how I am meeting the present moment. How much disappointment or fear am I feeling? Am I competing with someone, or defending myself?
When I can meet whatever is happening with some degree of balance and poise I find comfort in my life.
This moment is what it is, and it will change.
Equanimity develops by choosing to remember that I don’t really know all that is going on, thus I need to let go of trying to figure out how to change what I don’t like.
I remind myself that there is a reality beyond what my thoughts and my physical senses tell me, and that I can trust this reality.
What is actually happening is what needs to happen at every moment, whether I realize it or not.
St. Paul also commented that what is real is that which “the eye cannot see and the ear cannot hear.”
The personal belief of myself as a separate self leads me astray and causes me much discomfort. When I feel separate, not connected, I tend to rely on my intellect, trying to figure things out.
All this is false because there is no separate self. Reality has no “separate selves.” Everything is interconnected. My eyes and ears, my senses, don’t see this.
My trying to figure out what to do, trying to dope it all out, will continue to create conditions that are not comfortable, nor sustainable. I will be fighting battles, small and large, again and again, putting out fires, rather than finding the cause of the conflict.
When I am willing to trust whatever is taking place and ask what my best response is, I find some spaciousness, a place of relaxation and ease.
Pain is part of the human experience. There is no avoiding it. But how we interpret the pain and the stories we tell about it is the cause of most suffering.
My work is to notice these stories.
Pain is pain. When I can just let it be, rather than fighting it, suffering decreases.
I choose to feel the sensations in my body, rather than make up a story about what this tightness or burning is leading to, and diagnose it. As I focus on these moment to moment sensations, I find the experience more workable.
Most pain becomes bearable. It’s the stories I make up about what the pain will cause that really stress me out.
As I continue focusing to what is actually taking place within my body, relaxation and healing can occur.
When I practice with the little things, the small discomforts and disappointments, the big things become easier. There are enough of these every day to keep me busy.
But comfort wasn’t my goal. Awareness was. I shifted my focus from the thinking level to feeling the physical pulsations—the tightness, the heaviness, rigidity, coolness—or to whatever sensation was taking place within my body.
As I continue this practice I find things transform on their own.
So, I remind myself that whatever is taking place needs to happen in exactly the way it is because thoughts and beliefs (which are energy) have been sown and nurtured in this great field of Mind. Thus it is natural they have out-pictured. This is “what is.”
And this moment is a choice moment. Am I going to fight it and wish it were otherwise? Or will I breathe, accept the fact that it is here. And that It is already changing due to the impermanence of all things.
I choose to breathe, to do my best to be grateful that “whatever is” is changing and evolving.
There is something greater taking place than I can imagine.
I can trust this.
I choose to remember that the universe knows how to evolve, and that each of us, our true Essence, is an integral part of the universe and cannot be lost or harmed in any real way. (And it’s not our personality!)