Sometimes I feel like taking off into the woods forever. How Do I Cope with Samsara and Still Be Content?

You cannot take a physical path away from samsara. Samsara will follow you, because it is a condition of the mind. Meditation is the path away from samsara. The fastest way to peace I have found so far is attending to bodily sensation.

Let go of coping. It signifies “putting up with”. Try hosting samsara.

Relaxing into bodily sensation be aware of your struggle. If you get lost in the struggle,gently bring your attention back to sensation. Maintaining awareness of sensation, host struggle again. Once you can maintain it in sensation, relax. As you relax, your attention will start to include the space in front of your body as well.

Over successive meditations, the struggle will continue to relax and be replaced with peace. Then it becomes a practice of observing struggle from a position of peace.

As you become more aware of the peaceful space (shunyata), the less you will struggle. Some days, you may drop the struggle altogether (kensho). Perhaps one day the struggle will end (nirvana).

©2016 Stephen L. Martin

Painting: Gautama meditating peacefully among the temptations of Mara just before he becomes the Buddha.

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