After my first vipassana 10-day meditation course with Goenkaji, I fell in love with the idea that I could gain control over the mind and thus, emotions.
I had gained a sense of control over my emotions and thought I should never EVER get triggered again.
It actually worked out quite well in the beginning.
Phrases like: “Just change the way you feel” or “It’s just a reaction – let it pass” or “Just let it go and realize it’s my own trigger” were my go-tos to get out of feeling bad, mad, sad, etc…
I spent countless hours in contemplation trying to understand what it was that triggered me and then reasoning my way out of being altered in any way. Nothing could reach the depths of me, shake me – I was steady and could see my reactions melting away.
I had gone to the side of the spectrum where emotions were simply meant to be observed without any reaction whatsoever from the human experiencing it.
I overcame of a lot of insecurities and was living with so much self-confidence. I was exploring a whole new way of being.
It was undeniably a great tactic that helped me shed some HIGHLY unuseful & unconscious habit patterns, but something was missing.
As the Buddha taught, it’s neither this way nor that way but the middle way that will lead one to an unfaltering inner peace.
I had gained a lot of personal knowledge and empowerment on that side of the spectrum, yet I was disconnected from a part of myself and unable to explore some of the deeper, albeit scarier, parts of me.
Not getting triggered, kept me cold, somewhat emotionless, a little judgey, and in my head all of the time.
It was only once I decided to invite my life-partner in a little bit to help explore my triggers that I understood there is a balance.
I am human with emotions, and those emotions simply want to be experienced.
So, now I make an attempt to get out of my head and connect more into my body’s experiences.
I realize now that Vipassana is a whole being practice.
Its only objective is to teach the practitioner how to be aware – aware of thoughts, aware of feelings, and mostly aware of body sensations. AND then what the practitioner does with that awareness is where MINDFULNESS comes into play.
My mindfulness practice isn’t supposed to keep me from being triggered or affected by emotions. Rather it aims to bring awareness when I AM experiencing feelings AND that I have a choice in how I respond to them.
- So, I can & will still feel pissed! I just don’t have to lash out about it.
- I can & will still feel hurt. I just don’t have to blame anyone for it.
- I can & will still feel sad. I just don’t have to live in despair.
- I can & will still be attached to my happiness, my husband, my life! I just know that it is indeed impermanent.
That is what being a mindfulness practitioner means to me.
What does it mean to you? Comment below!