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Purple flowers growing up through cracks in concrete.

Breakdown of Resilience

One evening last week I became very upset by an interaction that occurred between one of my housemates and myself. It doesn’t even matter particularly what the content was. More relevant to me were the aftereffects. 

I was extremely agitated. So much so that I had difficulty being in my body. I just wanted to put myself in child’s pose and stay. I slept poorly, woke early and didn’t know how to lift myself out of a heavy mood. 

Fortunately my housemate was willing to talk through the incident. We sat together and alternated in presenting two different takes on what happened. To be heard and received fully by a friend is a precious gift. We experienced healing, and, as always, when vulnerability is present, understood each other better.

Breaking Through with Meditation

I am an elder but that does not always make me wise. One of my goals in doing regular meditation is to develop the quality of resilience. To be able to get myself out of a heavy mood in a reasonable timeframe. To get up off the floor when I feel like I’ve been run over by a Mack truck. The Japanese have a saying, “Fall down 7 times, get up 8.” 

The problem with getting older is that ageing can erode your resilience. Things that used to work well don’t anymore. Reading requires close-up glasses. Driving requires distance glasses. Dining out requires a sound-friendly restaurant. Weight creeps up and patience wears down. Fools can no longer be suffered.

Meditation offers practice in pausing and breathing. It lets you extrapolate from the peace of your practice to the way you deal with situations in the ‘real world.’ You can practice creating a parenthesis around disturbing communications. A buffer between hearing and seeing, and reacting.

The mechanism for how this happens is that meditation ultimately exposes your Self, the part of you that is aware and capable of watching.

Meditator, Peter Bregman of the Harvard Business Review says:

Unless you find solid footing in your consistent, unshakable Self, you’ll be thrown off balance and lose your way. You’ll change your mind at the first resistance. You’ll become overconfident when praise abounds. And you’ll make poor decisions, just to feel better.

Connecting with your Self is the key to maintaining your equanimity, your peace, your clarity, and your judgment, even in the face of changing circumstances and pressures.

Resilience gives you the space to recover yourself, your best self, your higher self. You get to bounce back.