Sitting in discomfort

44.4 degreesPerth’s temperature hit 44.4° C yesterday (111.92° F). I work from a home office and we don’t have air conditioning in our house. I have a pedestal fan I can put in my office and a spray bottle I fill with water. It was uncomfortable – no denying it. As happens with such temperature, my thoughts turned to whether or not we will get air-conditioning installed at some point in the future. So far, I am not attracted to it (mostly because of the increase in carbon footprint it would entail). The discomfort caused by extremes of temperature is something that I can hold reasonably lightly – without too much reactivity and catastrophising thoughts. For that I am grateful because I know that there are other uncomfortable life experiences that are more challenging and more difficult for me to hold lightly… without reactivity. These can be small, such as feeling overwhelmed by a long “to do” list and not reacting by seeking out chocolate. Mindfulness meditation provides us with an opportunity to observe discomfort arise from time to time and see if it’s possible to be with that discomfort without reacting. During meditation, at times we can feel bored or frustrated or hear that inner voice telling us there are so many more important things to do than “just sit”. By acknowledging the experience and allowing it to be felt without reactivity, we build our capacity to be at peace within a storm. And without a doubt there will be many situations that come our way, not of our choosing, where a little more of this capacity would be of benefit to ourselves and those around us. By building up the mental muscle of acceptance and non-reactivity through meditation we can meet those situations with greater ease and peace.

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