Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Frustration Pane

I look forward to the feel of my left elbow on the windowsill each night, window sitting, leaning into the night – feeling the night air and smelling the night smells – waiting for the entrainment with Silence to begin. The night has become like a close friendship: welcoming, embracing, receiving…

Unfortunately the next door neighbor’s back porch light was on – again. So I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of silence – the sounds of the night.

I became aware of the feeling of frustration in my body. She is a frequent visitor these days. Her presence is like an undercurrent stream in my life. She has been the one throwing stones at the window for several nights now. I have been agitated by her presence, wanting her to go away. But tonight I finally stopped resisting, stopped trying not to see her. I gave in and looked through her window pane.

I asked her what she needs, what she wants, why she is here. There was no immediate answer, just a sense of her presence, and a visceral feeling in my body. The feeling is like something that wants to burst out but can’t. It feels like stuck energy looking for an outlet, like a bottle neck where the energies can’t flow, or water that is dammed up. Frustration is the feeling of being trapped and not being able to find a way out – like a holding in, a holding back, of energies that want to be expressed. There’s a great force behind it, trying to break through. It’s a feeling of being bound... And when I feel her I want to consume food - to suppress her, to soothe her agitation and irritation; to avoid feeling the intense sensation.

As I acknowledged this frustration, however, something relaxed. Feelings just want to be recognized. Feelings just need expression, and to be listened to - like a friend. I know this, although I don’t always pay attention. So I gave it some space, met it as an energy of frustration – not a “me” who is frustrated, or a me who is resisting – but just an energy. I sat with it a while and asked it some questions. And it allowed me in.

The sense was that frustration wants freedom, freedom from constraints, constrictions and limitations; and there are many these days: physical, fiscal and familial.

I then asked: what is your gift – your wisdom?

And without hesitation she answered: “the impetus for change, the impetus for freedom. Follow the frustration.”

So I asked: what is behind the frustration? The answer again came: the drive for freedom, as if I hadn’t heard her the first time. And I wondered, is there an innate drive for freedom in the system we know as “me”: the mind, the feelings, the body? Is it built in so that we move towards freedom in all we do? I tend to believe this is so. It’s what propels us on the path. A friend calls it “the heart’s hunger for unconditional Freedom.” She calls this hunger “the underlying movement of life.” And this frustration feels like a tide within the Ocean constantly pulling at me. She is calling me to change the way I dance with life, the way I engage and interact. She is calling me into a new way of Being.

The feeling of frustration let go on the breeze for the night. I consciously brought my attention to the rhythm of the breath again. I understood that I need to continue to consciously and mindfully pay attention to this tide of frustration when she pulls at me and calls me to Freedom.


(the picture is from an old card)


  1. Although my Teacher appears as the Radiant One...He is truly the Great Jetsun Marpa.

  2. Hi Leslie ~ I am not familiar with who that is. Maybe you could explain, and what the significance is here... :)

  3. Hi Christine,
    Marpa was Milarepa's Guru. One of the most beautiful writings I have ever read is a heart-song attributed to Milarepa adressing his Beloved Guru Marpa -- in 'The Hundred Tousand Songs of Milarepa' -- titled 'The Tale of Red Rock Jewel Valley'. Tears are there every time I read this exquisite song.
    "He went out. But when he had gathered a handful of twigs, a sudden storm arose, and the wind was strong enought to blow away the wood and tear his ragged robe. When he tried to hold the robe together, the wood blew away. When he tried to clutch the wood, the robe blew apart.(Frustrated), Milarepa thought, "Although I have been practicing the Dharma and living in solitude for such a long time, I am still not rid of ego-clinging! What is the use of practicing Dharma if one cannot subdue ego-clinging? Let the wind blow my wood away if it likes. Let the wind blow my robe off if it wishes !" Thinking thus, he ceased resisting. But due to weakness from lack of food, with the next gust of wind he could no longer withstand the storm, and fell down in a faint."
    Deep gratitude for that entire lineage...
    He ceased resisting. YES!!!

  4. Very nice Leslie! Thank you for sharing that! Wonderful insight...

    With Gratitude... C

  5. Hi Christine,
    You mentioned how the window sitting reveals the stuff that needs to come up. Man is it ever :) And I thought window sitting was just for the fun stuff....
    Deep gratitude for your Presence on this board.
    Off and running to pick up my parents from the airport. It has been years. My daughter is getting married on Saturday...there 'may' be some family dynamics :)

  6. Hey Leslie - I was just thinking of you and your daughter's wedding this weekend, and was about to send you an email sending you well wishes :)

    "there 'may' be some family dynamics" - Really? Do you think? LOL... Just look at it like more fodder for window sitting :) Eventually I'm sure I'll get to a blog on the "Family Window" - oh boy.

    Will be sending some Heart energy your way this weekend!

    Wishing you peaceful moments in the chaos :)

    And thank you for your kind words...
    Love, Christine

  7. love the kitty pic. I feel like this little gal a lot of the time! In fact I probably look like her!

    Your post reminds me of the "compassionate side of suffering". We think in our dualistic mind that "suffering" (frustration) is bad but in fact it is these difficult situations and feelings that often provide us with deep insight and understanding.

    Thanks for reminding me of this. It is easy to slip into the mind of pushing away what seems unpleasant instead of leaning into it!

  8. ZDS ~ I just can't imagine you feeling or looking as frustrated as this poor little kitty looks! :)

    Ah - interesting point about the "suffering" and how the mind makes it into something unpleasant. And the discovery is, as you say, that when we sit with it, and don't feel threatened by it, then we reap the harvest - a peaceful heart and mind :)


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