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Untangling the Tangle

The Buddha often described practice in terms of the metaphor “untangling the tangles”. Some of the tangles we create include:

  • Habitual patterns which cause you stress/suffering
  • Identity self-view
  • The tangle of existence

Mindfulness
To help you uncover some of your tangles, bring mindful curiosity to the places in your life where you feel stuck or where you may be caught in a cycle of repeating troubling habit patterns. Hearing your mind say “here we go again” or “not this again” are hints for you to uncover and see a tangle you may be tangled in. Any time you find yourself stressed or suffering, pause and bring extra mindful attention to what is manifesting in your body, heart, and mind for a few minutes each time.

Self-Compassion
Being caught in a metaphoric thorny tangle is oftentimes internally sticky and painful. But the more you thrash about in resistance to the tangle while trying to get out of it, the more entangled you get and the more painful it becomes. Instead of resistance to the tangle, bring compassion to yourself and the tangle itself. As you bring mindfulness to your stress, remember to bring self-compassion along as it will help reduce your resistance to what is arising, as well as support you in being kind to yourself and your experience. Whatever happens, no matter what you’ve said or done in the past, forgive yourself, and be kind to yourself.

Discussion

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Tom Davidson-Marx
1 month ago

Thanks Ronya.
Although this piece is short, it’s as long as it needs to be! I am reminded of reading this short teaching re: untangling the tangle decads ago, and having read this now has triggered an A-ha moment! when Jack Kornfield based a talk on this way back in 1984 dring a 3 month retreat at IMS …
Thanks for the reminder!
Tom