May this Monday back to non-holiday vacation life find you well.
Thanks to Bonnie last night, I realized that I did not talk about metta towards oneself enough. Remember this week, particularly if papanca hits in a very tenacious manner like the Tar Baby, to first give metta to yourselves for having to experience the dukkha of the obsessiveness in the manifestion of papanca. Do not criticize or judge yourself for having it, i.e. if I were a better practitioner, I wouldn't have gotten into this papanca , etc. etc. As they say, %^&$ happens and when it does, we may or may not have the space from our practice to receive it and respond gracefully.
So first, it's important to recognize papanca. The various manifestations of it are: obsessive thinking, worrying, ruminating, mentally trying out various if/then scenarios, scheming and strategizing on how to get that one 'thing' that promises happiness and contentment, pressured speech and extremely focused almost obsessive/compulsive behaviour around something that has arisen for us.
Then, depending on the mildness of the grip that papanca has on us, we can, try to shift the energy and break the trance by doing something repetitive but conducive to feeling better, like gardening, washing dishes, doing the laundry, yoga, exercise, etc.
We can reflect on what the Dalai Lama advised, which is that if there is a solution to what we are worrying about, go ahead and do it. If there is none, don't worry.
We can try to investigate the root of what is behind the papanca and how it may be connected to past conditioning so that we can recognize its habituation.
If all else fails, we need to just surrender and surf the waves of papanca, in other words accept that it is here for however long it will stay, feel it in the body, and not try to struggle to find a way to be rid of it.
Hope this is helpful. My talk should be up soon. Also, Baruch and I are planning to teach the Satipatthana Sutta once again which will meet 4 Saturdays at Island Yoga from 1230 to 230 on January 28, February 4, 11 and 18. Save the date!!
I will be teaching Equanimity on December 25th and Gratitude on January 1st. If you feel the need to come and get refueled and regenerated from the holidays, I hope you will try to come.
With metta, Pauletta