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  • When things get hard, I try and retreat into the practice, or my version of it.
    I take refuge in it when I am hurting, generally seeking to eliminate a source of pain, even though I should, and I know I should, be sticking to it regardless. That's why it's "practice" and not "thing you do when things get fucked up."

    I was with someone once (Once? Ten years.) who was clinically depressed; she'd get a prescription and it'd actually work, but once the medicine started taking hold she'd stop taking it, thinking she was cured and didn't need it anymore. Soon the chemical war going on in her brain would resume and we'd restart the cycle.

    There's a very concrete analogy for the meditation/practice thing.

    As something I do, a necessary part of my life, I still find it hard to accept, I think.
    Maybe not accept, but certainly it's hard to talk about. People tilt their heads like i'm spending my time engraving the Bible on grains of rice or some exotic thing. They don't understand, not at a fundamental level.

    Of course, generally when I get knotted up or anxious or thoughts gather into great standing waves of destructive feedback, it's generally due to the fact that the practice has fallen by the wayside. Funny, that.
    But when it works, it's usually surprising.

    It goes like this:
    This thing is hurting me. If I don't get what I desire out of this situation, I will suffer.
    Great future tapestries are spun in these moments as well. If she says yes, then there is a blissful golden path ahead. If no, loneliness and heartbreak forever and it's because I'm a worthless piece of shit who will never be happy.

    Then, clarity, and it becomes detachment: If I have reasonably done all I can, then the outcome is not something I have control over. As such, whatever happens at this point, happens, and I cannot let my self-worth, happiness, etc. be pinned to it.

    It is, of course, easy to say that. The mind tries to short circuit the process. To force it to be true. You grit your teeth and like compacting a trashcan you put your weight into pushing it down, making it take up less space. But the weight remains the same.

    But now I'm merely sitting cross-legged in silence, aware of my breathing. In, out. Somewhere between drawing breath consciously and observing my body gathering oxygen.

    Once that little piece of enlightenment hits, it's astounding.
    Shoulders drop, stomach settles, the flush I feel in my cheeks fades away. Calm.
    This feeling must be cared for, maintained. I must practice.
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