Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

The Trance of Unworthiness

my meditation beads

I thought I had escaped from the trance of unworthiness when I recovered from my eating disorder, but a certain event on Thursday reawakened all those issues of “not good enough” that I’ve been plagued with my entire remembered life.

A good friend recommended that I read the book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach (Copyright 2004), from which the following guided reflection comes:

Do I accept my body as it is? / Do I blame myself when I get sick? / Do I feel I am not attractive enough? / Am I dissatisfied with how my hair looks? / Am I embarrassed about how my face and body are aging?  / Do I judge myself for being too heavy? Underweight? Not physically fit?

Do I accept my mind as it is? / Do I judge myself for not being intelligent enough? Humorous? Interesting? / Am I critical of myself for having obsessive thoughts? For having a repetitive, boring mind? / Am I ashamed of myself for having bad thoughts–mean, judgmental or lusty thoughts? / Do I consider myself a bad meditator because my mind is so busy?

Do I accept my emotions and moods as they are? / Is it okay for me to cry? To feel insecure and vulnerable? / Do I condemn myself for getting depressed? / Am I ashamed of feeling jealous? / Am I critical of myself for being impatient? Irritable? Intolerant? / Do I feel that my anger or anxiety is a sign that I am not progressing on the spiritual path?

Do I feel I’m a bad person because of ways I behave? / Do I hate myself when I act in a self-centered or hurtful way? / Am I ashamed of my outbursts of anger? / Do I feel disgusted with  myself when I eat compulsively? When I smoke cigarettes or drink too much alcohol? / Do I feel that because I am selfish and often do not put others first, I am not spiritually evolved? / Do I feel as if I am always falling short in how I relate to my family and friends? / Do I feel something is wrong with me because I am not capable of intimacy? / Am I down on myself for not accomplishing enough–for not standing out or being special in my work?”

When I read this this morning, all I had to say was, “Wow.” I admit I am embarrassed to claim how many “yeses” I answered to these questions.  And I thought, “well, some of these things I should feel bad about.” But Tara had an answer to that as well: The point is not to work on changing ourselves, but to accept ourselves in the present moment. We are doing the best we can right now.  Tomorrow, that’s another story.  But right now–we can’t change the present moment.  So why drag ourselves down with blame and guilt and shame?  Try to do better tomorrow, or the next moment, but remember that we are who we are right now.  And we can’t change what happened one second ago.  So accept it, learn from it and take what self-knowledge we can from it, and, ultimately, accept ourselves.  As is.  Right now.  Not how we could be.  But how we are.

I know I get caught up in how I could be.  What I should have done.  What I will do next time.  I need to learn how to be content with where I am in the present moment and not judge myself for the right now.  I need to learn from the right now, but not get so caught up in it that I can’t appreciate the present moment as it is.

The picture above is of my meditation beads.  I have a very eclectic spirituality.  I am Christian, but I also find value in other spiritual disciplines because they lead me closer to God.  And myself, a lot of times.  My meditation beads are made of Rose Quartz, a gemstone that is said to open the heart’s center and aid in healing emotions as well as the physical heart itself.  Rose Quartz represent unconditional self-love and self-forgiveness.

My therapist taught me a meditation that I have found to be extremely useful, and after reading the section of Radical Acceptance this morning, I find it all the more relevant.  It’s a meditation that exists out there in variations.  But this is the one I learned:

“Breathing in, I calm my body (breathe in) / Breathing out, I smile. (breathe out) / Dwelling in the present moment (breathe in) / I know it is the only moment. (breathe out)”

I had already decided my Easter Sunday would contain no work, but be a time of knitting, artwork, relaxation, maybe a nap.  Now, after reading this section of the book, I’ve decided today is the perfect day to use the meditation my teacher taught me.

The present moment is what we have.  The past is in the past.  The future has yet to happen.  We dwell in the present moment, a perfect time for acceptance.

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April 24, 2011 Posted by | Body Image, coping, depression, Eating Disorders, faith, feelings, mindfulness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments