When we feel breathing and let silence enter us, it’s a light hold; it’s not a strong grip. We turn towards what’s coming up and then we open to it. We feel reactivity but we keep staying there. We see our distractions but we open to the space of the church, the architecture, the art, the light. We want to escape but we don’t. We open to loneliness or we open to agitation and we allow it to crest through the body, to move through moments. We breathe with it. We know it. And in doing this, the reactivity doesn’t get a hold. We have power over it. Then, and this is the most important, we begin to deeply understand its nature. We start to see the impermanence of reactions. We see reactions without being caught by them. We watch them. We know them. And then they settle. And as they settle, calmness increases.
If we don’t reinforce, if we don’t buy into it, if we don’t feed it, then, of their own nature, distractions and reactivity will rise and pass away. That is the key point.
To be free, therefore, in this sense, has nothing to do with getting rid of something or even finding out how it was caused in the past. But rather, cultivating a way of being in which we become open to what’s arising.