My beloved daughter Addison is my greatest teacher. She teaches me more than all the wise amazing world renowned teachers I have been lucky enough to study with in my career. She never fails to simply shine the light on profound life teachings from the path of #mindfulness as if the #buddha himself put the words into her mouth.
Addison has this best friend named Mina and they have been inseparable since they first met on the bus on the very first day of kindergarden. Now in 3rd grade they are a clone of one another. The love all the same things and I swear they share the same brain. The have had a mind numbing amount of playdates over the years and they are never at a loss of what to do when they get together. They have hours of fun and never want to leave one another when its time to go home.
Addison came home last week from a playdate with Mina and as always I asked her how her playdate was, to which she shrugged her shoulders and said "MEH". Oh no, I thought, are they drifting apart? I asked her "what happened" to which she replied with a sigh "we were bored." I giggled to myself remembering past years of my own youth with the neighborhood buddies, bored with no ideas of what to do.
Glad it was nothing serious, I said "oh I'm sorry boo, then what did you guys do all day?" To which she simply replied "we sat around and talked about how bored we were."
How does she do it. Unaware of her wisdom she hit the nail on the head. We all encounter undesirable states, we get angry, sad, judgmental, bored. The buddha called these the "shadow side of the self." In all of our lives we encounter some shadowy state every single day. If we are keeping in this path to truth, then we can admit that our strategy is typically to push these shadowy states away. We love to quickly, deny, avoid, ignore, run away or numb out so we won't have to feel or deal with what is.
It's like we realize "hmmm...I'm bored" and quickly have an aversion "oh no, I'm not supposed to be bored," "what will people think?" "happy people aren't bored and I want to be happy, I should hurry up and get away from this boredom."
Yet here is the fascinating thing about the things we resist...they persist. Yup...they hang around like the plague and we continue to suffer and the boredom seems to get worse.
In the teachings of the buddha, there is a lot of wisdom shared on the powerful practice on naming! Without realizing it, Addison (oh wise mighty teacher) didn't push away her boredom and think something was wrong with her or Mina. Instead they very simply sat in the present moment and named their experience..."I'm bored."
It truly is that simply. Imagine looking out the window every morning to check the weather. You see bright blue sky and in your mind name it..."it's sunny today" The next day you get up, look outside to see rain and gloom and again in your mind you simply name it "it's raining"
All the buddha was trying to get us to see is that in essence it is all just a changing weather pattern...these shadowy sides of the self pass with the grace and ease of the ever changing weather if we can practice just naming it instead of getting tangled up in the reactivity to it that leads us to pull out of favorite strategy of resisting it.
Addison in her wise, but innocent sweet way just reminded me of this powerful tool on my path to awaken. Just name it, and with that simple naming you SHIFT out of a state of identifying with it and touch peace in your heart. So the next time you notice a shadowy side of yourself moving through, remember its an ever changing pattern of weather, it isn't who you are. Try softly naming it and watch the bright blue sky of peace return to your heart again.