“ In meditation we discover our inherent restlessness. Sometimes we get up and leave. Sometimes we sit there but our bodies wiggle and squirm and our minds go far away. This can be so uncomfortable that we feel’s it’s impossible to stay. Yet this feeling can teach us not just about ourselves but what it is to be human…we really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down…so whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to “stay” and settle down. Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay! Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay! Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay! What’s for lunch? Stay! I can’t stand this another minute! Stay!””
― Pema Chodron
We truly won’t be able to settle down unless we are able to recruit a sense of humor and some gentleness. We are so conditioned to leave; we’re going to need to be patient as we cultivate the courage to stay with ourselves when every bone in our body wants us to run. If we don’t learn how to stay, we’re going to spend our whole lives running. No wonder we’re all so exhausted.
Leaving works in the short term, but not in the long term. That’s why you have to keep leaving.
How do you leave? Social media? Eating? Drinking? Television? Work? Over involvement in the lives of your kids? We call these false refuges, precisely because you have to keep going back to them, over and over, to get a temporary fix.
What do you think would happen if you didn’t leave? Can you see how all your false refuges are keeping you from finding a true one?