For a long time now I have been getting better at reducing distractions. Not watching or listening to the news, reading books on my phone more often than checking Facebook or Twitter, spending more time meditating, and learning to just sit in the garden without constantly feeling the need to do something. It takes a conscious decision and it takes practice. Our default is to seek distraction.
Not seeking distraction is all the more challenging in the days following my Mum’s death last week. Sitting still and being with my thoughts feels like the last thing that I would want to do. The temptation to fill any silences with noise is strong.
But I am putting into practice all I have learned from meditation and my bookshelves full of books on mindfulness and Buddhism. Pushing away emotions doesn’t get rid of them. They just go underground and fester. When the Buddha talks about clinging and aversion being the sources of our suffering, it is in our pushing away of bits of life that we don’t like that we give them strength.
Being with sorrow, letting it well up and pass away of its own accord (which it will) doesn’t mean not feeling it. If anything it means feeling it more fully. But it is a very different thing from fighting it and getting locked in a battle with it which just gives it strength.
Allowing myself to fully feel the emotions that well up at the slightest, and sometimes most unexpected triggers, really matters. Not being afraid of the feelings feels important.
The achingly sad thing is that I can’t talk to Mum about it…