Shun or Shine?

 In Today's Lesson

by tea candle light

It came to me in a sparkle during meditation. And it whispered something possibly counter to what two of my teachers have told me.*

From them I’ve learned to invite pain in for tea and conversation, to not banish it. That suffering has an important message that you are off your path. During meditation, when thoughts of pain and sadness appear, invite them in for tea and cookies.

tea and cookies

True. Banishing never works, really, without first, self-inquiry. What is self-inquiry? It can be a simple question, “What are you here to tell me/ask me, little (or giant) thought?” The pain/thought is there to tell us something, to remind (or demand, foot-stamping-ly) us of a desire of our heart, one that has been missed–or shunned.

Shunning never works, really. “Down!” we may shout, but eventually the thought or emotion rears up again like a crazed dog. “Pay attention to me!” There are entire practices in my tradition to investigate the depths of unruly thoughts (psst, when you get to the bottom of them they are desires). The “negative” pointers are there for a reason. But. And. When down in the dumps (or somewhere that makes down in the dumps sound like a walk in the park), inviting in the sweet thoughts is also a wise play.

This morning I rolled out the rose-colored carpet for the sweet thoughts that were surprisingly pouring in. I don’t “know” why they glimmered through after my recent bouts and KOs with heaviness. I do know that after the grand and elaborate dinner parties I’ve staged for my “stuff” lately that I was starving for them. They were crying out for attention, too.

An amazing aspect of my yoga tradition is, we have a really big tool box of techniques for when we are imbalanced. Broadly speaking, when something has darkened our world view, we can either work on the disturbance, or build our own inner light so bright, it outshines the disturbance. I see the tea RSVP as an act of dissolving (laya yoga) the disturbance (after some “fact checking” of course), and rolling around in the sweet as the outshining of the dross.

A bit like Aesop’s fable of the battle between the sun and the cold wind to prompt a man to remove his coat…

Aesop's fable sun and wind My “tea and conversation” for you today is, sometimes we need to listen to the darkness, and sometimes we need to play with that which makes us beam. Especially when, out of the blues, it fairly screams at us.

I know which one had me removing my heavy coat this morning.

*(By the way, this is not something my teachers wold deny.)

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Showing 6 comments
  • Stephanie Hoffman

    I loved reading this . I saved it till tonite before sleep in honor of the memory of sleeping under the Christmas tree with you . So Merry Christmas my friend Barbra . Love and miss you and all that inspires us when we are together and apart .

    Sent from my iPad

  • nancy noleen

    thank you Barbra! what beautiful and timely wisdom. will see you soon – have missed you!

    • Barbra Brady

      I’m glad you’re inspired, Nancy!

  • Annie

    This came in right when it was needed. Thanks!

    • Barbra Brady

      Annie, I am heartened to know my message came to you at just the right time–it is marvel-ous when that happens. Blessings to you!

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