Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Grudge

I sit down. But it's hard to pay attention because I'm holding a grudge.

My heart is a block of ice. The world has refused to be what I thought I wanted. I'm not willing to forgive it. And so I'm freezing it out.

Every time I try to be mindful, my attention slips on the ice of this cardinal grudge and skids off into fantasy or memory.

To sit for minutes (or hours, or days) at a time, I have to forgive what is given for being what it is rather than what I thought I'd wanted. I have to forgive that white wall. Again and again and again, I must muster a spirit of pardon - a spirit of pardon that, in order to gain purchase, must also include absolution for my own block of ice.

Only a general amnesty can animate mindfulness.


One of the things I like best about Buddhism is that it has shown me how to do something useful with my narcissism.

Practice shows us how to bend the arc of our narcissism, how to press it beyond the stifling scope of self-concern and into the open air of deep and persistent awareness.

I'd assumed my vanity was just a problem to be solved. But I didn't see how the misguided compassion that animates it could be repurposed.

Enlightenment is narcissism extended.