So I presume we’ve all noticed this by now to varying degrees. Things come up when we sit. For some of us, myself especially, I notice, I really notice and focus on the bad stuff. It's almost impossible not to. Sometimes it seems that’s all that comes up. Those stupid things we said. The smart things we didn’t say. The love we didn’t receive. The love we didn’t give. Loosing your shit. So on and so on in this big and ever so unimportant drama through phenomena.
Now my past wasn’t all that bad. No one’s was. That’s not to say some people haven’t had horror and trauma in their live’s, but there was probably some moments of bliss in all our lives, even if they were very small and fleeting, even if it was just a gentle spring breeze that one time in late May. So why do I, and many other people I know, doing this thing we do, seem to only access the bad or at least the majority of things that float up between breaths, seem to be bad?
A fundamental point we can take from Buddhism and Buddhist teachings to help us understand this is that one should look very closely or carefully at things that seem to exist in a duality or in contrast to something else. When I look closely or I examine the things coming up when I sit, up in this moppy dome, it is not my reality. It’s gone - at best it is a representation of past events. It’s a time not necessarily of anything except a subjective interpretation of a moment that I might, or might not have been, in some time, but not time. And what of time?
Lou Reed famously crooned that love is turning time around. There is an opportunity to love ourselves when we sit and to turn time around. Be gentle. Let that shit go. Rather than focussing and obsessing on the dark shit that floats to the top we can choose to observe it and let it go returning to the breath. Just following the breath in time. Observing. And what exactly does following the breath reveal?
sitting in sorrow
lamenting the nature of things
to feel the endlessness
to find oneself in change
on this autumn evening
Saigyô (own translation)