Questions that Transform Difficult Situations (Jack Kornfield)

At the height of a crisis a few months ago, our friend Chris Eldredge send me this note: I’ve been reading Jack Kornfield’s “A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life” and saw this. I thought it might interest you. ( I changed a bit of the wording where I found it a bit tight for me, but it is his message.):

Meditation: Reflecting on Difficulty  Sit quietly, feeling the rhythm of your breathing, allowing yourself to become calm and receptive. Then think of a difficulty that you face in your life. As you sense this difficulty, notice how it affects your body, heart and mind. Feeling it carefully, begin to ask yourself a few questions, listening inwardly for their answers.

How have I treated this difficulty so far?

After having done what I can to remedy the situation, what suffering is unavoidable?

Would I be willing to consider making peace with it?

If I am, what does this problem ask me to let go of?

What might be the value or lesson hidden in this situation?

The last three questions have been directly transformative. I have used them to help navigate the ongoing vibration issue, among other challenges, and found that sitting with them for only a short while often leads to a shift. They have been so effective, that they made me buy A Path with Heart. It’s become one of the books I delve into first thing in the morning, in which I always find a treasure, like this one:

…our life may appear as a series of mistakes. One could call the “problems” or “challenges,” but in some ways “, mistakes” is better. One famous Zen master actually described spiritual practice as “one mistake after another,” which is to say, one opportunity after another to learn. It is from “difficulties, mistakes and errors” that we actually learn. To live life is to make a succession of errors. Understanding this can bring us great ease and forgiveness for ourselves and others—we are at ease with the difficulties of life.

 

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