Oh Goodie, I’m Stuck!

Feeling stuck somewhere in your life can feel excruciating.

  • I’m stuck thinking about the same thing over and over and I wish I could forget it
  • I can’t resolve my relationship with my partner
  • I can’t accept my boss, she’s too annoying
  • My career is boring, I want to retire, but I have no other work
  • I won’t ever find a mate, I’m stuck being alone
  • I’m never going to be satisfied with my unhealthy body
  • I have to have money to be happy
  • I’m stuck being unenlightened, I’m not happy

I heard a zen koan story once that went something like this: a man is holding on to a branch of a tree which hangs over a cliff with his teeth. His hands are tied behind his back. The zen master teacher says “say the one thing that will save you”.

The man is stuck. There is no way out. He is going to die, it is just a matter of when.

The mind loves to try to figure it out and find the answer. It says “there must be another way….there must be a way out and I’m just not seeing it yet. There must be something I can do, a new technique, a special practice, there must be a clue….I’m sure that I am not actually stuck! Not really!”

The feeling that comes with these thoughts of being totally and completely stuck can be so depressing, full of despair.

Once on a meditation retreat I said to the teacher Adyashanti “I can’t stand it, I’ve tried everything” and he said “Congratulations”.

Nothing to do, nothing to find. Just stop.

So I look at my thoughts which feel the most despairing, the ones that feel trapped. I inquire if this is really bad, the way I’m presuming.

It’s terrible that I keep thinking about the same trauma or person over and over again, is that true? I wish I could forget it, is that absolutely true?

I can’t resolve it, accept it, make peace with it, whatever it is…is that really true? I don’t truly understand life, I haven’t reached enlightenment and I should. Is that really true?

I will never be happy with this stuck, repetitive thinking. I will never be peaceful in this situation. I have to get out of here.

What if I turned the thought around? “Being stuck is awesome, fantastic, brilliant, perfect”.

What are examples of this?

  • I stop pushing and demanding an answer
  • I relax in my body and welcome all my thinking
  • I say “oh goodie, I am stuck” and this feels really different
  • I feel how big the universe and reality is, so much bigger than me, and feel a trust that it knows what it’s doing
  • It’s OK not to get how to fix my predicament, I let it be here to discover what it’s here for
  • I just sit, I’m silent
  • I don’t have to be unhappy about being “stuck”

Letting go of the branch of the tree that I’m holding onto with my teeth doesn’t look bad at all when death, the inevitable, is a good thing.

Letting go and relaxing is fine when I stop believing that being stuck is terrible, dreadful and depressing.

“Unhappiness is the belief in the wrongness of being. To be unhappy is to feel that you are wrong to be who you are.” ~ Bruce Di Marsico

Whatever you are thinking, welcome it. It’s here for your inquiry.

With love, Grace

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