Community Drop In Group 4/15/20
I was recently reminded of a story I first heard from one of my mindfulness teachers at UMass years ago who knew the person in the story. It is a beautiful story of meeting challenge in a way that disarms the challenge, changes its nature.
It is interesting how a story can take on a life of its own. The version I came across last week was a very watered down version which had lost sight of Terry Dobson, the actual person it happened to. So I want to share his version with its full depth of insight.
He was an American Aikido student who went to study with a teacher in Japan. After 3 years of study, he found himself becoming restless with the basic ideas. He had learned high level martial arts moves, but always with an instruction that to resort to using this is not needed in true Aikido.
His teacher, who was actually the founder of Aikido, taught that the art of aikido was devoted to peace. Dobson quotes his teacher as saying:
Community Drop In Group 4/8/20
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
Community Drop In Group 4/1/20
Today we are looking at the quality of curiosity as inspired by the Unwinding Anxiety app. This is a beautiful app for very practical mindfulness based skills for working with anxiety that can make a big difference.
One of the first steps named on the app is learning to catch when we are getting hooked by our anxiety— and therefore doing all of those things that in the long run are just compounding the situation, driving us deeper into an anxiety vortex — and instead, finding that beautiful witnessing possibility that allows us to step back, unhook, begin to patiently learn a different freer possibility.
A key to this new step is curiosity. Judson Brewer, the lead author of the app, says it this way:
Inviting curiosity allows us to hack into our brain’s natural reward system in a way that actually feels good.