Fear, not pain, creates suffering

Buddhist monks on a roller coaster

“Pain is not the enemy. The fear of passing through pain is.”
Pia Mellody

“According to Buddhism, it is our fear at experiencing ourselves directly that creates suffering.”
Mark Epstein, Thoughts without a Thinker.

Last year, I went to a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, during which I had one of the most intense and transformative experiences of my life. It started with my realization that I was completely disconnected from my body sensations. I could feel very little of my body, and what I could feel was displaced, several inches away from my body. It took a few days to get my body sensations back and to the proper place.

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Clerks (or: I’m not getting what I need from you. Can you help?)


“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. ‘I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.” “You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”

One of the problems I’m finding with feeling, understanding, and taking responsibility for  my needs is that as soon as I feel a need that is not taken care of, I start getting angry, and when I feel angry the only way I see to express my dissatisfaction is to attack personally: “you are this and you are that..!” Sometimes I say it, but often I just stop and don’t act, because I don’t think that this will bring to anything except to ruin the relationship and make the other person angry. It occurred to me that what I should do is just to say it the way it is: “I’m not getting from you what I need. Can you help?”

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Please talk to each other


Sometimes I feel that there are two parts of me, and they don’t talk to each other. They act out.

Part A: “Why in burning hell did you do that?
Part B: “Why are you always criticizing me?”
Part A: “Because you’re damn stupid!”
Part A: “Again? You did that in purpose!”
Part B: “Who do you think you are?”
Part A: “I’ll show you, jerk!”

And on and on and on.

Why don’t you two get along? Think if you girls where actually behaving like good sisters, gossiping together, laughing together, telling each other secrets, supporting each other, covering for each other, looking each other in the eyes and understanding exactly what’s going on.

I’m just saying. It would be a lot more fun.

Big, dark, empty, silent


I was surprised to be so happy tonight
In the big, dark, empty, silent house.
I did cry a little, reading people’s blogs on election’s hopes and fears.
(I wondered, too, who was I really crying for.)
When I heard frightening noises, I went to the kitchen
and washed dishes.

But most of the time I laughed
Watching videos on my computer
feeling the good laughter of the present
cleaning up the clouds of the past and the future.
Three days to go.