On Friday, I attended a meditation group. Although I have been meditating fairly regularly for almost two years now, I hadn’t been to a group for quite some time. They just don’t feel like sangha (community) to me. And the talks often seemed annoyingly repetitive. I know all of this already. It’s time for me to test it in my own life.
Aside from the ego-arrogance in that stance, Friday also reminded me of something else: Sometimes we forget what we know! I had some inkling that I was avoiding being present with uncomfortable emotions, like sadness, Friday’s talk helped me see that pattern clearly this morning when I was resisting it. I woke up feeling lonely and disconnected. So, I jumped out of bed reaching out in the hopes of connecting with someone, well, not anyone, two people who are important in my life. No response.
I could feel myself slipping into “that place” and didn’t really want to go there, so I desperately tried to shift my “inner weather.” I listened to a guided meditation on Letting Life Live Through Us and one on Lovingkindness. That helped some but didn’t produce the enormous shift that I was longing for.
Then it hit me: I was resisting the loneliness! As painful as it was, I then accepted it. I took the little girl inside of me who was feeling so lonely into my arms. Once I opened to the loneliness, the understanding came.
I am building a couple new relationships and the people in them are becoming increasingly important to me, especially one of them. And I hadn’t heard from them. I had reached out, tried to build a bridge, and there was no building back. Even though I understood on some level that the building back was just not happening due to them doing other things and had nothing to do with me, this scenario triggered my habitual shaming voices: “You are not good enough! You are not lovable!”
Then I remembered something else from the talk on Friday: Our thoughts filter our perception of reality (something I “knew” because I’ve written about that in my thesis!). As the “not good enough” and “not lovable” filters clicked into place, everything the others did was filtered through them and thus interpreted as proof of the correctness of these beliefs. Her not emailing me to schedule a get-together became “she doesn’t want to be with me.” Him not texting back turned into “he doesn’t like me anymore.”
Then I noticed something else: There is another friend I had texted in the morning. She also didn’t respond. And yet, I just shrugged that off to her being busy. Somewhere I trusted that she’d reach back when she could. Why was my reaction so different here? She, too, matters a lot to me. If she’d drop out of my life, I’d be pretty devastated. Yet, there wasn’t any of the ego consternation I was hearing as commentary to my relationships with the others.
The difference is time, a shared history of disconnection and reach-back, which had created the trust in the relationship itself. That trust isn’t there yet in the newer relationships. And, after my friend reached back not just with a text but with a call when he realized the impact on me, I am watching how my mind is trying to discount that, to have me forget this, file it away as “something he did out of guilt not care.” All in the attempt to avoid acknowledging that “you are not lovable, your aren’t good enough” isn’t The Truth, it’s just a story I learned growing up in a society that teaches this to almost everybody. It also would prevent that shared history from being build, the trust created. Fortunately, I am able to see this as more ego-action. As reading in Cheri Huber’s book reminded me: Ego does what it can to maintain itself. Trusting my own lovability is the end of “you are not lovable,” so anything that would confirm my lovability is dismissed. Maybe with all these reminders and insights, another part of me will remember!