Internal/External War And Conflict | April 13, 2023 “Meditation Q & A With Wendy Nash” #08

In this eighth installment of the ongoing live series with Wendy Nash inquiring into meditation practice on and off the cushion we explored external and internal war and conflict due to Anzac Day each year in Australia on 25 April. We also discuss (witnessing) violence, non-harm (in relationships), ill will, how complicated war can be, unwillingness to change, “mental forecasting,” ambiguous loss, internal dialog, meeting our needs and feelings, working with death in contemplation/meditation and its wisdom, working with pain in meditation, safety, how hedonic tone can drive behavior, (how) anger (feels bad, can stem from righteousness, provide false empowerment and how its energy can be transformed and applied skillfully)

Due to ongoing technical challenges, for now we’ll forego trying to patch into Insight Timer live as it is not designed for multiple remote sources. Join these Q & A’s when they happen live via:

*There’s naturally an ongoing open call for meditation (related) questions for the (roughly) monthly “Meditation Q & A” either by the various social media means listed; integratingpresence[at] or just showing up on or Wisdom App to type/ask live.*


Regular, current and past visitors to Integrating Presence may recall the monthly series “Ask Us Anything” I did with Denny K Miu from August 2020 until January 2022 — partially including and continuing on with Lydia Grace as co-host for awhile until March 2022.

For a few months thereafter I did various Insight Timer live events exploring potential new directions and/or a continuation of the Ask Us Anything format while weaving in other related teachings to these events.

Then, after chats with meditation coach Wendy Nash, it became clear to start a new collaboration similar to “Ask Us Anything” simply and clearly called “Meditation Q & A” especially due to the original intent of the Ask Us Anything’s being “discussions about meditation and related topics.”

Past chats with Wendy:

Audio: Internal/External War & Conflict | March 13, 2023 “Meditation Q & A With Wendy Nash” #08

The raw unedited YouTube transcription of this podcast:

and Wendy Nash is back with us for this eighth installment of our meditation q a Wendy how’s it going

yeah good I’m calling from Gabby gubby outside Brisbane in

Iman so right at the other end of the universe from you right wall of Planet I

should say so yeah it’s good we’ve got sunshine it’s been a pretty blustery

kind of day makes me wonder about many things there you go so well yes here in

London for the very first time ever in England uh got in last night Fresh Off The turnip truck

uh or whatever they say and you know uh here I am and uh thank you to those on

wisdom map I just realized that they can’t hear me unless I have my headphones off so they have to hear me through my our hair windy through the

computer speakers so welcome to anyone listening there and today uh we’re going to talk about like internal and uh

external war and conflict and also the things that are in um common with us uh Called Death

I’m sorry about that I’ve got to let me just I’ll mute

so my phone I’m just trying to do the wisdom app thing oh you need to mute the wisdom app yes so you don’t hear me yeah

um lower left hand corner where is it’s like coming out everywhere


you might just be I know where it is it was the YouTube it was so beautiful

too so we have simplified here a little bit because my timer

um Shenanigans as of now um so so in this this notion of internal

and external uh conflict and uh you know it’s in war too and the thing that comes

with it is death a lot of times as well even though that’s insured for I would say most of us until we’ve become fully

awakened and enlightened and then does it really I don’t know we won’t go there because we’re a little bit far from that

but let’s just say we haven’t gone beyond death yet um and the reason this came up is the holiday in Australia uh

and Sac day and I would for whatever reason I wasn’t familiar with this my girlfriend was telling me a little bit about it but Wendy why don’t you tell us

what that’s all about how you’d like to take this yes so Anzac Day is the 25th

of April I think because we’ve been juggling around with our dates it was trying to find something that was a

little bit I think we originally planned this for a week later or something so we were thinking about Anzac day and

it’s so Anzac is the Australia and New Zealand Air Army Corps and it’s it’s to

do with the it’s called the diggers from the first world war and the I the sort of

um thinking behind it is that it’s to commemorate the people who were killed

in the first world war because it was the first war that Australia fought as a

Federated Nation so before 1901 we were part of the British Empire so

although more people died in the Boer War which was before Federation

because the first world war was the first war after Federation that’s that’s

where where we get to know be known as Australians so that’s

you’ve given muted and so this is um interesting for me

because I like to stay out of politics because I’ve said this in the past that for me politics is an emotional con game

and so but what how do I say about this because I have this strong commitment to

non-harming right and how does that look I think in the states the options are you can become a concert a conscientious

projector and I don’t know exactly how all that works you’re you can go to prison and some people can just try to

flee the country when they’re there’s this thing called a draft where one doesn’t really have a choice they have

to do it or they’ll either go to prison or they go into this conscientious objector

um so you know um I don’t know if I want to get into this but I can sidestep this just like

how some people sidestep the Ukraine Thing by making it something other than

um people are you know fighting and dying in a war supposedly you know I I don’t have boots on the ground I have no

idea I don’t follow the news even but that’s what I’m told there’s some kind of um people fighting and killing each

other there right and so that for me it’s not okay you know I don’t I don’t want to do that I don’t want to go over

and kill someone that I don’t know for a reason I’m really not even clear on because somebody else says it’s you

should do that I mean that seems so absurd to me you know they’ve never done anything to me you know um and then

there’s just all these layers of programs on top of that why it’s okay why they should do it and um you know

because I think that’s about all the political thing I’ll say about it because

you know this is a really there’s millions and trillions of billions involved in war conflict and a lot of

our economy runs on this you know it props up our economic system and it can

get really political really quick we can also talk about this from um which is

kind of the more safe side and beneficial side of internal you know how to the internal conflict but I want

Wendy to address um the the external part of this first so I think

sometimes I think when you’re a white person there is a luxury about turning

away from racism you know we we have the luxury as white people to say I don’t want to look at

that because uh it doesn’t racism doesn’t affect us

except in A really lovely way because people are nicer to us you know because

of that so I think because we do you and me we aren’t in a

war zone we’re two hours from a war zone um but it’s not easy when it’s Here and Now

and so in Australia the news is that um there is a lot of stuff I’ve been

reading and the and the government’s there militarizing in a way they haven’t militarized for a long time

and I’ve just been keeping up with the news I don’t generally do it on this stuff but I was like wow so there is a

fear of war from China so I don’t want to get into the politics of all that

sort of stuff but I just think you know what do you do when when war is here

what do you do when the Nazis arrive in Poland what do you do when they take

over your country so there’s a comedian here called Mike dugansky and she

discovered that her father during the first world during the second world war when he was a 15 year old boy and Poland

was invaded by the Nazis he decided that he would

um join the resistance and he killed people who were collaborators so he was

a murderer of the of collaborators and so he had to live with that as an

older man it’s a magnet javanski’s book is she’s very funny she’s very she’s

seriously searingly honest about it and I I think it’s complicated it’s nice if

you can step away but if you’re in Afghanistan you can’t step away

if you’re in the Congo you can’t step away so

um it’s more complicated it because you know my understanding from the

Taliban is that what they do is that they say all

right if you don’t do it I’ll kill your whole family so it’s not like they’ve got a gun to

your head and okay well if you don’t do it you’re done for you say if you don’t do it I’m gonna kill all your family

and your village it’s it’s terrifying decision to make and how to live with that decision and

there are um Tibetans who when they moved over to India they escaped into India they had

to join the armed forces it was part of the national service and they had to kill people as part of that national

service if so so there’s a Penance that comes

from doing that you know and it’s complicated and I think that

um it’s a bit like um so my younger sister was born with the terminal illness and she had this huge roller coaster as

she was sort of slowly dying getting well and dying and you know deteriorating and there were three other

children it was huge catastrophe my mother says I I just wish

I did I just wish she had died earlier so that it wasn’t so horrific

and and she my mom is a great uh proponent for euthanasia and I don’t

want to get into the politics of these things but simply to say you know what I’m going to turn I think

it’s all whatever for political reasons I think if you

look at politics from that way yes that’s true but if you look at politics from the embodied experience of well

this is a decision that that I have to live with

good or bad then it’s more complicated so

um in about 1976 my father became terminally ill was his first operation

and he’d already seen his daughter die and three of his parents died and he’d

seen the role of the carer so he he had operations but he was typical guy and he

had symptoms and he didn’t go to the doctor because he’s a typical guy and so of course he died but it was more

complicated than that because he he couldn’t bear the idea that we

were going to see him die and that we would be his carer so one day he wrote a

letter and he told us um that he was going and that was the last time we saw him and then he died in

England at some Christmas hospice on the other side of the planet and so because

Australia was against or didn’t have the resources or didn’t have the political landscape to set up a

hospice that whole catastrophe happened so I

think I think it’s really with politics just to bring it back to the body

to the lived experience and sit in kind of Imagine what’s it like when you have

to make these decisions actually and so I think that’s that’s what to me

mortality is about and it’s I think also with war there is a a thing in that they

a term they’re called ambiguous loss Pauline boss started this I don’t know if you’ve heard of this term

but um [Music]

uh where she was a psychologist and she was talking with women in the uh the

wives of men who were missing in action in the Vietnam War so it was a while ago now

and so she she called this term ambiguous loss because well were they

dead were they alive were these women married so were they single were they widowers

were they could they meet somebody could they what did they say to their children what

how do they is is very very ambiguous and so when you when you live in the

embodied space of has of uncertainty is it’s complicated and and I I think it’s

really important to include that in our meditation practice because to me meditation is so much about where are we

in the body where are we in the mind what are our blind spots where are our

uh challenges and and so we have to kind of Step In to make uncomfortable

decisions the best decision of a whole range of unpleasant um

difficult decisions so that’s I just wanted to put that on the table and this is the key word that

that just really resonates with me is complication complicated this is

extremely complicated this is the messiness of life you know nothing is

all black and white cut and dry when it comes to these type of issues you know and we can hear about other people’s

decisions all day long which I feel we need to because that helps inform our own decisions right when we learn how

other people do this what’s available what’s not what’s possible what’s not what’s more probable what’s not but at

the end of the day it comes down to our own embodied um experience of how you know how is

this when these choices are made or these seeming choices are made and that

the ambiguity of uh of it as well is pretty pretty wild too so uh yeah I’m

just thinking of just all the different things that can be said and explored on this but really what it comes down to

again like I say like Echo it again is our own embodied choices around this you

know we could say well it might you know somebody should do this somebody shouldn’t do this you know these type of

things I know in the Buddhist Community there’s and I haven’t read this yet but I heard it was a famous exchange between

two famous bikers or monastics and terravada tradition bikubody and

thanosaur biku about war right and um you know what’s kind of allowed and

what’s not according to to Buddhist um you know either monastic roles or outlooks and

things like that and centering around non-harming but like the the scenario we’re saying about in Afghanistan you

know see that’s that’s I don’t have a family I don’t have a wife and kids so that’s one that I can’t really what I

say on that’s not really going to hold much weight right and you know I’m not

in Afghanistan so that doesn’t really apply to me again you know I haven’t lived there so what I say about that is

going to be almost completely irrelevant you know there’s some Universal things I mean there’s Universal things about love

and care our loved ones our dear ones you know harming you know this Golden Rule what you know treating others like

I would be treated then there’s things where if we’re forced at a barrel of a gun to pick up guns and fight other

people I mean it just to me it just seems so ridiculous you know how can I how can anyone Force another to pick up

a gun and shoot you know potentially shoot somebody else are they going to hold me at gunpoint if I don’t do that I

mean it just seems so bizarre to me to to something like that I don’t know how they would do it I like me they would

probably lock someone like me in prison and I’d be okay with that because I just don’t I just don’t see the point of it

now if I had loved ones that would be different you know because then I’m responsible for other ones beside myself

you have parents and you have a brother and you maybe you have nieces and nephews that’s right and my brother he’s

he’s all for uh as far as I know protecting them so that’s you know that’s his responsibility now we can get

into hypotheticals like what if you know some kind of robber or something would would give me some kind of scenario and

that’s different you know and I can say this is how I would act but until I get in that situation I really wouldn’t know

and I will give an example here of a real life violent situation that I witnessed but I want to give Wendy a

chance to say anything if she’d like to at this point I think it’s so I’m just I guess I’m

also thinking that um this is but meditation q a yeah we have a tendency to get onto tangents

I just wanted because we were talking about mortality I just wanted to bring it right back to the body to the lived

experience walk what what do you how how do you live with it with with the decisions that we

make that affect other people that makes us either so I don’t have contact with

my mother so I am the person who it’s an ambiguous loss for my mother actually

so how do I how that’s it’s complicated and I feel mean-spirited and guilty for

that but I had to do that because I just didn’t feel I could do that so these are I think for

me meditation is really sitting with very difficult experiences it’s a bit like um you know

I’m in Australia and um we have this big huge thing this year

called The Voice department for Aboriginal people and which is about giving them a seat at the table

a really at a structural level as a referendum at the end of the year

and the the you know we have stolen their

land so how do we time the recipient of stolen goods which is as a result of

murder and violence and War and everything else and I just have to live with that

consequence because I’ve got this stolen goods that I can’t give back so for me meditation is about sitting with that

which is very unpleasant and being honest

like fearingly on us not a hypothetical thing not distancing bringing it right

back to the body and going okay where are we here and and knowing that we do cause harm

and that it’s not ideal

exactly in this we can know this by how the body feels I know for me when I’ve

done unwholesome unskillful things um at this point in my practice that comes back to bite me

really hard pretty quick most of the times I feel and it’s just sitting with that and feeling how painful those

unskillful actions are and they’re and I like the notion of these Guardians of

the world um to protect us you know it’s not to forget these things because then I can

really feel how painful it is and how I’ve acted um you know not in my best

interest or someone else’s interested can feel how um unpleasant it is in the body and and see and so then what can we

do instead of falling into shame blame and guilt we I can remember how this is

not helping me or anyone else and then make a firm resolve not to do it again to be open to um how I need to have this

change and I think I think we’ve talked about these all these subtle layers of non-harming I know with um you know even

my girlfriend I won’t go into details here but the nature of the work we do sometimes I don’t realize that

um some of the things that I wouldn’t normally consider as harmful there’s

these very subtle layers of harm and so waking up to this that I have caused

harm it and a lot of times all it takes is just this recognition and mindfulness that hey you know I can’t do everything

I want to do like I used to do you know now I’m involved in a relationship and

some things that I’m okay with and doesn’t seem to cause me harm can can it

does seem to do harm you know uh to to my beloved and so I want to be as soon

as I can wait the faster I can wake up out of that and know hey okay it’s not just me anymore okay

um it’s very helpful to know that yeah yeah like really owning when you’re

wrong I mean I think this is what meditation is so fantastic for

because you know I was actually emailing somebody about the definition of so what

is meditation and my I wrote her quite a long email you know we get that question so what is meditation you know you get a

show a plug for a past show what is meditation yeah but we get that one so I was writing her

an email and and you know she has this idea that it’s

that state of flow that she gets into when she goes for a run you know the endorphins kick in and she’s just you

know that’s the state of flow and it’s lovely but to me that’s not meditation because it’s not training the mind

you’re not becoming familiar with the traps and blind spots that pain bodies

as Echo calls it you know this is what we work with this is the pain bodies

and and our fears and our concerns you know we’re right in there

and uh yeah so so it was just a very interesting email exchange because I

said oh you’ve got this uh so meditation is not that it’s you know it’s about

training the mind it’s about learning when you’re wrong you know that’s really

kind of coming into it and then she said yes that flow State that’s exactly what I get into I was thinking yeah no

listening is not your strength it’s really true

you know I’m being mean but I was like is and so with me I was like when I what

comes to mind for that situation is well that’s that can be rolled into a mudita practice right rejoicing and being happy

for other people’s happiness but that’s a separate thing what we’re talking about here is is a different type of

Mind training that’s a that’s a hard quality that’s that’s beautiful but that’s that’s kind of um training the

heart right but we’re talking about more of the Mind training here um now let me uh when I said I don’t normally talk

about this um but because this was a kind of a traumatic experience for me um but since we’re on this harming

internal and external um I was this was right when things were opening up and I won’t give too many

details um but when I hear about these things in the news or other people experiencing um like random acts of

violence or seemingly random acts of violence shootings I thought you know I think well that’s that’s horrible that’s

horrendous you know it’s uh you know nobody would ever want to experience that but then when I experienced this

completely different so I was sitting outside at a cafe right when this opened

um and all of a sudden this is in broad daylight in South St Louis and all of a sudden there’s a shooting

breaks out and it’s right there on the same street and i i p i look up and

there’s a guy he’s unloading his handgun clip and all he would have to do is turn

his gun just about this much more and that’s it that’s I mean that would probably be the end of my life and so I

just of course this is all my things after the work there was no thought process there was no anything other than

I just slowly ducked down and you know like the other people around me and just

sat there and just like I mean of course I didn’t think this at the time but it was like

you know this could be it you know that all he’d have to do is just move it just a little bit and there’s no nobody is

around here to to retaliate and it’s it’s basically a gun fight on the street and just sitting there just utter

bewilderment um and then afterwards you know just this this minor trauma of like

just how in the world can people treat each other like this you know with then

I realized later that it had nothing to do with anybody else it was in beef between two people they they weren’t

there to hurt anybody else right and at the same time the utter disregard for where those bullets would have ended up

on the street you know they had they could care less and then to think that they would go on with their day you know

just wherever they went I mean the cops didn’t show up until like 10 or 15

minutes later but it’s just you know shaking basically that and then it was

so weird though I sat down to the table finally when everything was cleared in a feather a feather dropped down from the

air I mean this was so bizarre and landed on my table so um you know just um completely

different you know I hear about these things but until I experience it that close and see I wasn’t even directly

involved right to imagine picking up a gun and just utter dis abandon of

anything and everything else just to shoot someone else for who knows why you know

yeah it was it really it just mind-boggling and crazy to consider another human being can

treat each other like that over who knows what but yeah and so this is this is the external conflict but it to to

take this back to meditation I mean how many times have we in our own mind to our our own thought processes you know

treated ourselves violently you know maybe not to that extreme but I think of all the times before I even started

meditation how down on myself I was how I was such a horrible person you know or

projecting out onto others you know how many times have I really wanted to uh

have ill will towards myself and towards others before I started meditating and but the big thing about Bill Wilson

really one of the easier things to overcome because it feels so horrible inside to Harbor this ill will towards

ourselves or others once we can see it we see how painful that is and we

there’s a choice not to do that and how good it feels just to have an absence of ill will

yeah it it definitely it definitely feels

um it’s a great motivator I’m I’m always amazed

why some people are interested in working on that

and some people aren’t I heard of Statistics yesterday it was about what

we’re doing what our mind does when his um is that we’re not actually

most of the energy is spent forecasting I thought this was a very good way because we talk about you know in

meditation you think about what’s in the future and what’s in the past but actually what we’re doing is we’re

taking a past event and we’re forecasting what we’re going to do and so actually most of our mental energy is

spent forecasting and what it was saying is what they were

saying is one of the things is there’s quite a lot of optimism in The Human

Condition and 80 of people are over optimistic about how

about the impact of climate change and I was going yeah we’re completely

stuffed you know like they claim it it’s all going to fall over for sure within 30 years whatever you know and

and I thought yeah but I’m really naive and overly optimistic when I speak to

somebody and I think they’re going to be open to change I think oh yeah although if you

know we’re all open to change and it turns out maybe 80 don’t want to change actually maybe that’s what that means

and so my I think I can be very violent with my conversations because I assume

another person is is interested in engaging with their demons to

be kinder to be more loving to be more gentle with their speech

and I think I can create violence that way or harm in a very subtle way

you know it’s a fascinating question Wendy what’s the old joke how many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a

light bulb none because the light bulb has to want to change yeah itself yeah

and that’s the thing that this futility of uh of that I can change other people

or even you know step back that I can actually you know um make them change or

it’s it’s so wild because people you know this notion it was so Illuminating for

me when I hear it like this why do people say one thing mean another and yet act an entirely

different way so it’s so confusing and frustrating when people’s words and

actions don’t align and actually their meaning doesn’t even align A lot of times so it’s like reading this Dynamic

complex psychology and you know figuring out or not and then how to approach it

and like you’re saying with the the forecasting and I know this especially

in meditation early on when I had a situation a lot of it would be internal dialogue about what I was going to say to the

other person right be back and forth okay well they’re gonna say this well then I’m gonna respond like this or they

said that I should have said that I mean I can’t even count the hours of internal dialogue on the kitchen until I wake up

to that and then realizing that this practice and it’s so I don’t know how to

explain it but a lot of times it’s just clearing out all the Clutter and so

where uh we can see clearly what’s arising and then this um trusting more

and more that they’re they’re the best response is going to come forth or you

know trusting our internal wisdom or at least we’re working on the internal wisdom instead of spending so much time

and mental energy um forecasting what if we trusted our internal wisdom to spontaneously

um respond in a manner that’s that’s appropriate you know one of the I guess one of the proofs I have for this is

this saying if it could have happened any other way it would have

you know this this this kind of little Axiom has been really helpful for me

especially when looking on the past you know if it could have happened any other way it would have

uh so now how does that if we do forecast that into the future well then

that would say what does that say does that say well we have this innate wisdom that’s going to

respond to what’s needed in the moment and at the same time balancing that with not being too slack and saying oh I can

just do whatever I want because it’s I’m just going to say the best thing all the time anyway that’s that’s not what I

mean exactly um so so this yeah this uh I think

that’s enough for now go ahead Wendy oh yeah there was Aaron what you said I guess I

look at it differently the forecasting because I think of the forecasting or the reliving of those conversations as

backlog unprocessed stuff so what I observe observe is that when

those conversations come up there’s a theme and I always don’t ask you know what’s

the emotional theme of this and then

and then I find out ah yeah okay there’s an emotional quality and when I trace it

back to an interaction where I felt the other person uh didn’t didn’t

um was sort of didn’t pay heed to my needs and feelings I’m very about that then

there’s this emotional why I still wanna how do I solve this they didn’t they didn’t help me with my needs and

feelings so and and I think of it more as being an opportunity to integrate

emotions that are painful and by doing that more and more frequently like as you go on the more

often you do that then those blind spots those pain bodies

slowly release and it stops being quite so um intense but

I think that it’s really it’s a bottomless pit you know there’s a part of me that thinks oh could I just go

into the no self and then be done with it and just imagine that it’s always clear

and I think there is no end and I I think it’s really important to not

bypass either because otherwise you end up in a big pile of poo you know you can

create a lot of harm that way yes and this this notion we I’m fairly

sure we’ve mentioned this in the past this being seen in heard in our needs met

um what I found uh when I can remember it that’s so helpful for me is giving

that to giving that to myself and it’s great when others give it to me and yes

we especially in our friends and interactions and the people we choose to be around so very important at the same

time no one outside myself is going to be able to see and hear me the way I can

see and hear me right you know it’s great when I get it from outside but it just never does it like that like

because no one has to be around me as much as me you know what I mean so and

so this is where we can really um you know give that to ourselves allow

ourselves to see and hear ourselves so to speak and I I found you know in in in

in ways it doesn’t seem like a consolation prize either right this self-love some people feel this is like

a self yeah a consolation prize because we’re not getting it from someone else right but oh really oh I can well I

guess some people do but I mean this is where um because it just it just it’s common sense to me because we’re the ones that

were rounder each other the most you know um and yeah I I I I I feel you’re gonna

say something on that and then this notion of changing change I think is another one to pick back up on that’s

really important you know yeah there’s an idea that people have that people don’t change and

I think well I’ve changed heaps but what I notice is that when I go back

to my family which doesn’t happen very much I’m put I go back to how I was when

I was 15 or whatever which really makes me think well there is no self because here

I am a grown-up of 56 and I suddenly find myself Going Back 40 years as if

none of those years have happened and and it makes me think yeah so in

some situations I’m like this and another situation something like that and it’s it really highlights the

context dependent nature of it but we were talking about death today that’s right it was because yeah that too so

yes one thing that’s insured to change or are the the physical body even

changes after death so yes what would you like to say about this because I

mean in general I’ll just say that you know um this is a really important practice I mean in the Buddhist

Community as far as I know uh they’ve shied away a little bit from it as far as practicing these death contemplations

because there is what these called the asuba practice no no I’m sorry not the Super practices that’s that’s the

foulness of the body um these Cemetery contemplations are Charnel ground conflations where you

know these monastics used to go in Ancient India we’re told that uh if people couldn’t afford a proper burial

you know either cremation or burial or whatever then they just dump the bodies into place and let the nature have its

way and so we have things contemplating the body like I did a death meditation on this all the

different ways the body can Decay it can become below and just uh just uh gruesome warning here but I’ll say why I

do this a bloated and discolored corpse a hacked in scattered corpse a worm and

insect uh uh eaten corpse a half decayed corpse you know um one that goes down to

the I’m missing something here but the one that goes down to the bones and then the bones themselves uh turn into dust

and dustify and it bleached in the Sun and then eventually the bones will go back into nature too and that that’s the

nature of this physical body and now all this is not to get bummed out or be morose this is to realize that this is

the truth of how this body is right if it if we live or whatever when this body

passes that is its nature um and that not just for that but you know this is

going to happen it makes it so real and immediate brings me into my body when I contemplate these things and it’s also

to take advantage of every moment because we’ll never get this moment again exactly the way it is our time

here is limited what are we doing with our time you know um what are we taking for granted what are we not

what’s important very life yeah so I’m I’ve been slightly

distracted because I’ve been trying to look at the wisdom map because I wanted to make sure that I I was connecting in

with where it was but I couldn’t get it to work so I should well we have seven listeners it says there are seven people

that have listened so oh yeah I’m sorry so I’m sorry if I’m ignoring anybody in the chat but I can’t figure out the tech

and it’s too distracting yes and it’s really his first time doing that and I guess if you’re on you’re watching this

on YouTube you’re welcome to chime in with any questions or comments we’d love to hear from you yeah we love we love it

last time we had a really fantastic guy he was uh good questions last time he was asking great questions

um yeah so I think the thing that a lot of people

experience and the reason they take up meditation may be a terminal illness

but also they live with chronic pain

and so that I die doesn’t bother me

that my body after my death becomes bloated and wizened and disintegrates

and more good with that the part that I fear

is um is is the pain is the physical pain

and I’ve got some my feet are a bit stuffed at the moment so I’m in a bit of

pain often and

it’s quite hard to enjoy life when you have physical pain actually

so tell me more about how this relates to death physical pain to death

often you’re in pain because you are dying dying um because death is a painful

process if you’re totally ill you’ve got cancer or whatever or like a

friend of mine her husband had a heart attack it’s actually his fourth heart attack and he suddenly had

four stents so he’s weak and he’s right on the brink of death

wow so this goes into a whole other thing you know and yes it’s uh death is

painful there’s even way more things in our lives that we have all the time you

know that can potentially be painful but this is the final pain right and so there’s all these Notions uh about now

how how to diet with dignity and a proper death and things like this and

it’s so wild that we have um at the same time we have so much death culture I

feel you know there’s tons of movies glorifying death in violence

um we hear about death all the time and it’s not to ignore it at all it’s just like saying um I like to to deal with

the pain version of this too because this is something in this human life we will never we will

if you we have a human Incarnation we’re going to experience pain so I feel this is a really good topic to address as

well um dealing with pain on and off the cushion I’ve addressed some of this too in a past post uh I’ll just ask when

Wendy how do you how do you work with pain especially since this is about meditation how do you work with pain and

meditation I moved position I’m a bit naughty I I really

you know before you were talking about how Western British practices tend to avoid the cemetery practice Cemetery

practices we’re very um mortality averse

so yeah real briefly we don’t really have the opportunity to do that because death is

so sanitized too it’s not really they while it’s also glorified and it’s also

sanitized so you don’t have a really visceral experience with it anymore you know the bodies are involved we don’t

really get to see what death really looks like but I think that when you described earlier your experience which was so

close to death actually yeah that

um it’s not sanitized in that instance right but it just it’s

so again it’s so complicated there was no death involved in that you know it could have been it seemed way more

likely at that moment and at the same time it didn’t come and this is another thing that’s more complicated in these

War things you know the historical Buddha he you know he’s was famous or he was he was told that he tried to stop

Wars and with all his power and insight and wisdom and even miraculous power some say he couldn’t stop War I mean

they stopped fighting when he was there but it went back and so but I’ve heard other people say is because of actions

in the past that these folks this is we talk about Karma here because of past

unskillful actions in the past well now some of them are fruiting in this you

know the result of past actions are now coming um you know or fruiting are resulting in

this and so maybe there’s just too much karmic force behind it and these wars

have to go on I don’t know that’s that if you know I can’t pretend to say that I’m a Authority or I can even discern

you know um all these very uh nuances of karma but who knows you know

um but one thing is for sure we know we experience pain right and so that that is obvious we all have in there’s

physical pain there’s emotional pain there’s psychological pain there’s mint

uh there’s um psychic pain even and so all these things are rich for a work on

the cushion you know because we all experience these but in meditation we have a chance to really look in way more

detail about how we’re viewing this and how we respond to it and how we work

with it uh when most people I wouldn’t say most people but it seems like a majority of the population just wants it

to go away they don’t want to look at it they don’t want to feel it they don’t want to turn towards it and find out how

to work with it they just want some something to make it stop and I would say I can never take away

this from people because sometimes it’s so horrendous there needs to be some reprieve from it at the same time

wouldn’t it be beneficial if we could sit and see if there’s a better way to

dealing with this and we’re talking about the psychological approach to this too you know uh not necessarily the

physical but then again the physical and the psychologically are tied close together so it is a really complex issue

I can talk about specifics of how I work with it in meditation and how I’ve been

kind of taught to work with it in meditation which I find is very helpful at the same time I’m very grateful that

I haven’t experienced a lot of physical pain so yeah

yeah I mean if you I I haven’t I don’t know much about pain meditations oh well

do you want to go into that sure the way um when I do it like right now because

I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor I mean I can work with this in real time so um just well the big thing especially

for people identifying with emotions I feel is uh the second Foundation of

mindfulness is this Pleasant is this unpleasant is this neither of those so I

can’t believe how many times I’ve acted out of something that I just

didn’t realize it was unpleasant so I was trying to get her out of the unpleasantness which is not wrong but

not even knowing that it unpleasantness was happening or same way with pleasure feeling pleasure and not knowing that I

just want more cake or you know I want uh you know this and more and more and more and not realizing it so that’s

that’s the obvious way of painted sees it because obviously it’s unpleasant right and you know we hear when we go to

the doctors it’s actually very wise well where does it hurt you know of course finding where it hurts I’m surprised at

how many people just say oh I’m in pain well and not say anything more than that right so actually looking where does it

hurt in the body I know it seems very easy but that’s the first one the intensity level how intense is it and

then depending on our skill level allowing the attention to go right there

so there’s a lot of times it does that naturally now really paying attention to the changing

nature of it that is that’s key for me so right now in my left

um kind of hip um there’s so it’s already changed already so and we can put labels to it

is it aching is it a throbbing is it a stabbing is it a pulsing is it a dull

ache is it a sharp ache is it an acute ache and then noticing you know how far

does it extend from the most intense area in the body how far away from that

particular spot does it spread is it really localized is it really

um you know spread out throughout that body now notice the the changing nature of it is it’s static all the time

exactly in the same way when you’ve done an assessment and I would say more than likely not it changes

um continuously and so now it can be kind of Rippling and shooting up my leg and then it gives

a reprieve for a moment and then it will come back and then the intensity level changes and fluxes so one of the big

lessons and things of wisdom to gain from this is pain is usually not what we

think it is right we assume like a lot of things that it’s going to be there forever you know of course we know that’s not

rational but when we’re in the throes of pain it’s like oh God when is will this ever stop I just want it to go away so

when we really look what’s going on in great detail we realize that okay this is in flux just like everything else it

is changing and it’s not going to be here like this forever you know it does change

so that’s that’s one way to at least um see that aspect of it there’s there’s so many other ways to to to work with it

and deal with it you know um the other things um are

movement masks suffering so a lot of times we’re moving around a lot not that

it’s wrong or anything and there’s a lot of great meditation movements but just sit very still for long periods of time

and I think eventually unless we’re in samadhi pain is going to be guaranteed

some kind of unpleasantness is going to be guaranteed you know that’s that’s fascinating to me you know why is that

why does that happen you know how so I never thought about that

actually that when you’re meditating and it is painful and it does get painful so for me I think about

when when my body’s in pain it’s seeking so I think about you know

this question the second uh mindfulness Foundation Foundation

thank you which is is it Pleasant is it unpleasant or is it neutral and as I was

meditating the other day I thought well it’s unpleasant but it’s seeking

Pleasant so it wasn’t possible to

say that it was unpleasant it definitely was unpleasant but it wasn’t

it didn’t have a yearning to be pleasant and I was thinking about despair

recently and I thought about with despair it’s the idea that things will

never change and of course things do you know um but

yeah so so that I think it is

maybe I I don’t quite understand is it unpleasant yeah it’s a bit unpleasant or

it is unpleasant but there’s always it is always seeking to change

well in even if we don’t seek it to change if we pay really a close attention it’s not going to be that same

level of unpleasantness all the time and what I found over time what I once

found very unpleasant the threshold gets gets it gets higher because I’m able to

stay with things um unpleasant for longer periods of time things that are really pleasurable don’t

have the same hook anymore because we can with wisdom we can see that how helpful it is to be able to be okay with

it is just unpleasant because what the Mind usually does when something’s unpleasant it starts building on top of

that oh it’s because of this oh I can’t have that oh you know I must have some kind of terminal illness which I

shouldn’t you know but I mean how many times have I eaten and so the Mind Playing Tricks right how many times have

I eaten beetroot seen my stool be red and automatically go I’m I I’m bleeding

internally okay well I only have a few hours left I this is it you know my I’m bleeding out from the inside oh wait a

second I just ate beans [Laughter]

I’ve done the same thing I’m going oh my God I’m dying my pee is pink okay oh

yeah as you say it’s like I don’t know I’m just you know what did I eat but it

it that really highlights the forecasting question that we talked about before these huge stories that we

have about look at what’s going on yes and we go ah

here’s my story my forecasting I’ve I’m pacing this experience on that so why we

don’t go instantly ah of course I had beetroot

before so of course I’m gonna get that but instead we do the much more oh woe

is me I’m dying it’s the end the end is nigh you know and I think it’s personally because I

just like a good pity party and I I I’m I like that you know I I have a tendency

to go down that road very very quickly you know and the the Unseen wisdom in

this or the Silver Lining is that pity party uh when we can see it for what it is it’s it’s it’s just a version of

We’re trying to be kind to ourselves we think we think that’s you know and sometimes it does but there’s other ways

to even show ourselves kindness and in love and affection you know that are that are healthier than that right and

the wisdom in that uh that the forecasting is is what that’s pointing to deeper is I want to be safe I want to

find safety and so when we think that’s the best strategy for our safety well

then we don’t know any other way well then that’s what we’re going to do because that’s kind of what the society conditions us to do and tells us to do

for our own safety you know if we can just figure it out and know what’s going to happen then we’ll be better and more at ease but that’s like taking our

happiness like a bone throwing it into the future and chasing after it when we can have it right here and you know here

and now when we when we just sit and look at what’s going on more and the

more we can strip away at least in meditation I’m not saying it’s wrong to add things on top of our emotions and in

feelings and things like this when we strip all that away it really a lot of times just comes down to this is

Pleasant this is unpleasant or this has neither pleasantness or unpleasantness

and when that happens I just a lot of times I lose interest zone out and look for something that’s Pleasant or

unpleasant right because that has more of a kind of an emotional charge or more interest because I can kind of just

space out if there’s if those two those things aren’t there and then I always do that too you know I always think about

neutral as being trying to find something interesting about a beige wall and every every it’s like you know

you’ve got the wall behind you right wow I’ve got to find something super

engaging it’s like trying to find that wall and going ah and observing the

different colors is it and I’m so determined to make it interesting and

make it pleasant as opposed to Bland which is unpleasant you know so there’s

a lot of things hey we’re up to four minutes left so yeah what do you want to

say be about about the topic well you know just to pick that up real

briefly the personality types in Buddhism right the pleasant unpleasant so like when he’s saying you know the

the pleasant will go into your room oh I love that oh I I just gotta find the gross thing about this you know this is

so amazing oh I really like what you do or if I don’t like like something I gotta find good qualities but the

unpleasant person will or you know go in there or the aversive person I should say actually yeah the the greedy type is

what but the aversive type will go in there oh I don’t like that that’s a horrible color combination I can’t believe they have this in their house

you know why don’t they do something about this over there it’s it’s a messy here and then go ahead you had my brain

you had my mind the dilutive type or you know um a neutral type I guess would go in there

and be like wait a second where am I again I get oh yeah I’m in London okay what is going on here uh how do I you

know fix anything in my am I doing everything right I mean I’m confused but yes so yeah Warren conflict

I think what we’ve kind of agreed upon here it’s complicated you know I mean

it’s a way to write it off but I would invite people to ask specific questions in specific circumstances this is the

one where the details I think matter and then we can only really bring what we will we’ve experienced to it in our care

and interest to what’s going on and be open to consider you know how things are but what we can do is look internally to

how we’re warring with ourselves internally and with others our relationships and Views to others and

ideas and things like this yeah and how do we see it how we respond to it how can we train to for our long-term

well-being and happiness and for that of others and everyone you know you know

I’m I I have a lot of I started with a lot of anger a lot of anger and I I used

to do everything in this I realized that what a way of working with understanding

what was driving because because that was the problem is that I didn’t understand I really didn’t understand the nature of

anger arising and so I started to become curious about well what’s good about it

I I use the eye a little bit sort of about meta you know you’ve got metabolism practice the loving kinds so

well what’s good about it what’s positive about anger you know it’s got a lot of energy whatever yes what’s what’s

bad about it well you can crash your relationships it’s very unpleasant it

makes you a miserable gift to be around people stay away from you all that sort

of stuff what’s uh what’s Unknown about anger

and actually I don’t know how far it goes I don’t know so if I’m a bit shitty with

you then maybe you go to the shop and then you are a bit shitty with somebody else

and you don’t know how far it goes you know and and yeah so so that and then to look at the

whole picture and going ah actually there’s this energy that I think is

going to be protective but actually it crashes and burns my relationships yes

and like I have this idea that it’s going to keep me safe but when I looked at how often anger kept me safe I went

it never keeps it hardly ever keeps me safe it it causes me so much bother and

pain and it’s like yeah stop stop stop you know and and I found that when I look at what was good what was bad What

were what was unknown or confusing or unclear and I looked at the whole the whole

picture then I started to have a lot more compassion and a lot more understanding

about well it’s just anger it arises there are good bits about it bad bits about it and

a whole lot of other things so yeah it is beautiful in the the and we’re it

makes sense like Wendy’s saying we look at the benefits of something the Allure of it why are we drawn to that over and

over again then what’s the danger of it and then also what’s the Escape how do we escape it so this is the

wisdom aspect of it I wonder if there’s a transmute or a transmutation or

transformational element of anger because I’ve seen people that that actually can transform it into

um something to use a lot of energy towards something else because it does have this sense of Empower it’s kind of

a false sense of empowerment but the thing is I think it can point towards where we can use that energy for

something beneficial and then also how can we give ourselves wholesome empowerments empowerment that’s skillful

and give a self-worth with an energy involved and a helpfulness I think that’s the kind of misguided energy

anger is actually pointing towards a lot of times yeah yeah I mean I I it’s great

motivated you know when you keep crashing and burning all your relationships anger is a really good motivator for changing the situation if

you’re willing now a lot of people aren’t willing it’s always the other we know the one common denominator in All My Relations chips is me but you know I

do know people that the one common denominator in all their relationships is everybody else and everybody else is

full right time we’re in time and I would just say for my own anger it’s my

own self-righteousness I had to be right all the time and that’s when I was clinging to that that I would get angry

a lot of times but all right well Wendy thanks so much for doing this again and

I uh to all you out there um all the best blessings and uh be well

out there yes and yeah be kind

Published by josh dippold

One thought on “Internal/External War And Conflict | April 13, 2023 “Meditation Q & A With Wendy Nash” #08

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