The big let down (and the benefits of staying with it).

Mindfully observing the past few weeks has been interesting. Following the amazing conference (which also had it’s ups and downs), I had high hopes of getting a dream job where I’d be responsible for creating and managing dharma-related programs for a major buddhist teaching organization. It was an honor to be invited to the interview and I stayed with the feelings of excitement, preparation, planning prior to the appointment. I felt I’d really “showed up” for the meeting — alert, calm and mindful. I felt grounded and present. A two-week wait followed with excited feelings and planning mind and thoughts and craving around “becoming” — and I did my best to be mindful during all of it.

And then it fell through. And all of the clinging turned to dukkha, just as predicted and described by the Buddha’s first 3 noble truths.

I did my best to remain mindful of the thoughts and feelings as they arose — even during this ‘let down’ period. I went to my weekly yoga class and the teacher asked how the job process was going and she could tell immediately from my look that it didn’t go well. We did all restorative and yin yoga yesterday, which was nice. It was good to move and stretch and be in stillness in a very meditative way while the news was still so fresh and the elements of experience were percolating up: the heaviness of the heart, the unsteady feeling in the face, the thoughts of judgement, the feeling of loss, and the replay of events in the mind.

Staying with these thoughts and feelings, I felt quite absorbed in them — so much so that the rest of the world seemed to fade, to fall away as I left yoga and made my way home. I did get to see the beautiful sunset from the bus before arriving home to my loving and supportive wife, who listened gracefully and gave me the space I needed, too. Unable to let go of the thinking mind, my sleep was restless.

This morning, I decided I wanted to sit for my usual short zazen period before catching the bus to work. One thing I noticed was that although the morning had a sad tone, by the time I went to sit it wasn’t present. Sitting is a time to set aside the stress of worldly activity and be still and silent and follow your breath and I found that the stillness was very accessible. There seemed to be a certain peace available. The thought came to mind that perhaps it was the peace that follows when we allow something to arise, be and cease with steady awareness. This whole job opportunity had been quite a ride – and staying with it moment to moment at this point meant to let it go (because being in the moment always means letting go of the moment as it happens). The ceasing of anything leaves a gap, a hole, a space where if you are watching closely, there is an opportunity.

It was as if the world fell away, and I was absorbed in feeling; the feelings fell away, and a certain emptiness was available. The 20 minute sit was very concentrated. Moment to moment.. we’ll see what forms arise to fill this empty space.

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