I drove 40 minutes to the county jail yesterday to teach a weekly meditation group on the women's block. I arrived to find the unit on lockdown, so I had to leave.
To assuage my disappointment, I stopped at the farm and garden store. I was looking for onions because a few friends have told me they've already planted their onions. I found fat bunches of Spanish onion seedlings and elsewhere I found 4-packs of Walla Wallas--a big, sweet, onion-ring type onion.
But the item that got my attention was the potted tulips on sale for half price. I bought 2 pots of white tulips, and 3 pots of pink tulips. Oh, the front step looks so much better.
Did you notice what i did?
I felt disappointment.. Unpleasant.
Driving 40 minutes, "for nothing." Unpleasant.
Without really paying attention, I shifted my internal thermostat (and maybe yours?) to pleasant by stopping to buy onion seedlings.
I saw tulips. Pleasant.
On sale! Pleasant.
I bought tulips. Pleasant.
Unpleasant does not equal "bad." Unpleasant is simply unpleasant.
Pleasant does not equal "good." Pleasant is simply pleasant.
This simple meditation on pleasant and unpleasant focuses our attention on the motivation behind desire. (I don't want to feel unpleasant. Unpleasant feels unpleasant. I want to feel pleasant.)
I showed up at the jail and greeted 2 of the inmates. Pleasant.
I showed up for them. Pleasant.
Those women in orange pants are locked up with their minds. Now that is truly unpleasant. They need all the stress reduction they can get. Even if it is only knowing that one person showed up for them.