I’m continuing to read Radical Acceptance, and I think it’s time to order it online. At the rate I’m reading it, I’ll never get it back to library! I read two pages and cry over how relevant each passage is to my current experience.
Today’s inspiration comes from a story of Buddha and Mara. As Tara tells it, when the demon Mara returned ever so often to haunt the Buddha, instead of shunning him, the Buddha simply treated him as an honored guest by making him tea, and then sitting with him until Mara decided to leave. The analogy for anxiety is perfect. Tara recommends simply naming my emotions and feelings as they come up in the present moment with a kind personal voice, to neither gratify their desire to be deeply pursued, nor to create a mental battle, where they fight to win. She encourages inquiry — “What needs attention right now?”, as opposed to analysis, “Why is this happening?”
This makes so much sense, after listening to Invisibilia’s episode about Emotions yesterday. A renowned emotions researcher has discovered that emotions are a complete reversal from what we’ve always been taught — you learn to label internal feelings as you grow up. They initially have no meaning.
So here’s me unpacking my current moment….what needs attention right now is my fear of a failed marriage. Two terrifying divorces in our friend circle, plus long term monogamous couples we know who have never married, plus the troubled marriage of some close friends….Rock in my chest. Sinking feeling. Fear of the future. What if I married the wrong person? What if our marriage fails? What if we cheat on each other? What if….what if…what if. Anxiety, I name you, and I invite you for tea.
Tara says the feelings don’t necessarily subside, but by making peaceful friendship with them, you are creating a pathway for healing by being honest.
I hear the tea pot boiling…..