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An Experiment: "I Love This"

Here’s an experiment to try.

No matter what is happening, whether pleasurable or deeply unpleasurable, pause, breathe, relax and say to yourself, “I love this.”

Or if that’s too heady, too bypass-y, try saying, “I open even to this.”

You don’t even need the words. Just the feeling of opening.

Don’t try and make it rational. It’s not rational. This isn’t about convincing yourself that you should love everything or that every difficulty is actually a blessing. Fu** that. It’s just about opening.

After Erik died, I became really curious about whether it was possible to make love to reality as it is with all its pain and beauty, suffering and pleasure.

Not just accept it but receive it fully into my body. Let myself be penetrated. Love it.

This isn’t just conceptual. It’s a full body practice.

Because reality is intense. It’s a lot to be a human in this world.

It’s so easy to be with the things that are pleasurable. Although I see all the time ways people don’t let themselves be truly penetrated by the good, the beautiful, the tender. As my friend Zoe says, “Many people have a broken receiver.”

I wasn’t that interested in the pleasurable for a time. But I wanted to see if it was possible to be intimately with reality even when everything feels wrong.

In the first few months after Erik died, I spent a lot of time lying on the floor, thinking of his death and the general devastation of my life, and saying to myself, “I love this.”

I didn’t share this with anyone for a long time because it seemed easily misunderstood. To state the obvious, nothing in me rationally loved that Erik had died.

But there was something both perverse and oddly alchemical about feeling into the pain and whispering to myself, “I love this.” I wanted to see if there was a way not to fight back against reality, not to rail about the unfairness. Don’t get me wrong, I did that too. But sometimes I would just breathe and open to it, hold it tenderly, almost like a caress. Like I could touch this moment I was in with softness and also let it touch me.

Having done this experiment in such an extreme situation made it easier to do it in other situations like at the dentist, when I got my tooth pulled.

Weirdly, in some ways it was easier to do this with the pain of Erik’s death than with the lady at the next table who was talking in such a shrill voice while I was trying, finally, to get some work done.

Again, don’t try and rationalize it. This isn’t about being a masochist or a good person. This is more about turning yourself into some kind of Sufi mystic poet who receives everything as God.

I suppose if Reality really is our lover we can also tell it to lay off sometimes. Tell it to treat us kindly, with respect. To stop being such a little shit.

This experiment isn’t for every moment. But it’s worth trying.

So if life is ripping you apart (or you are in a moment of pleasure), pause, breathe, feel into this moment and open to it. Give yourself to it. Let it take you.

Perhaps whisper to reality itself as it has its way with you, “I love this.”

Or ditch the words and simply breathe and let the moment enter you.

If that feels like too much, I suppose you could even say in kind of a friendly way, “Oh, hi there.”

But maybe put some flirt into it. A little vibe of, “You crazy devastating Reality, you have the ability to utterly destroy me, and god damn it, there’s something just a tiny bit hot in that.”

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