What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Have you ever traveled home from a fantastic vacation and then found yourself stuck in the doldrums?  While Sir Isaac Newton might have been looking at the nature of falling apples, he might as well had been describing the fragile, fickle nature of mind.  

So long as our sense of happiness depends on external circumstances, we're willfully remaining on a wild rollercoaster ride; up and down, up and down, twisting and turning, and sometimes altogether upside down!

We might say that we're all, in a sense, addicted to this thrill ride.  We easily become attached to the good times, and when conditions change, often find ourselves resenting what comes along with those changes, in turn yearning for conditions to return to the way they once were, or how we imagine they could be.  We might even go so far to think that if we just could move to that special place then everything would be ok.  While a sense of contentment might temporarily arise, ultimately, any change with lasting benefit must occur in the mind.

When we were children, at as early an age that most of us cannot recall, when we liked something, we'd beg for it to be repeated again and again and again.  These wishes were often met by adults who would gleefully indulge us, over and over and over again.  If the adult stopped prematurely, the severity of our reaction (and their own stamina) would determine if it was safe to stop, or if they needed to resume quickly!  If we liked something, then we wanted it repeated.  The question is, now knowing the repercussions of this mental habit, have we ever consciously worked on freeing ourselves of this tendency?

We can use the insights we glean from our meditation practice to help cultivate a more balanced state of mind.  Every breath that comes and goes, every sensation that we experience in the body, arises as a result of a process, and processes indicate change. Regular reflection on anicca, this ever constant changing nature of every thing, works wonders in our ability to resist clinging to that which we know is destined to change.  Whether times are good or bad, we can remind ourselves "this too shall pass".

As we continue with our practice, wherever we are, our burgeoning skill of being able to let go of thoughts so that we may focus on our object of meditation aids in being able to reorient our mind in the present moment, letting go of thoughts that would lead to yearning and resentment.  We develop the mental quality of equipoise, maintaining a delicate balance of mind, resting it atop the fulcrum of this moment, that is right here, right now.

As funny as it might sound to say, we're aiming to be super-natural, in that we're working toward transcending that which we've come to consider "natural".  In this case, we're overcoming Newtons Law of Gravity, by being careful as to how high we climb, so that we don't fall down too low.