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See clearly.

I have returned to Robert Wright's Why Buddhism Is True for so many reasons. Let me offer you one that I find helpful.

A client in one of my Lectio 360 sessions asked me if I meditate. My answer: I do not sit on a cushion or chair every day for 20 (or many more) minutes and meditate; I did do that for a year but I've dropped the practice. She remarked that it was very hard for her to keep her mind focused for long; to keep her mind from wandering. Wright, and his teachers, would say that is exactly what mindfulness meditation addresses. I told her that now, I simply work very hard at being mindful in each moment. Mindful of my feelings. Mindful of my thoughts. Like her, and like the easy-to-read Wright, I fail most of the time.

You have to read the whole book to understand Wright's insightful premise, but here's something important -- a snippet of his thoughts. We are controlled by our feelings, far more than we realize. His analysis combines modern science and psychology with his own experience and research in mindful meditation. In a chapter called "'Self' Control," he drills down into how it is that our feelings are the primary driver of our actions, even though we might think we are reasoning it out.

He offers a very useful acronym -- RAIN -- to help to deal with feelings and, specifically, addictions. These are not necessarily the kind of addictions you automatically think of when you hear that word -- rather, think of behaviors that do not serve you well, like anger, ADHD, hatred, tribal thoughts. RAIN stands for 1) Recognize the feeling; 2) Accept the feeling; 3) Investigate the feeling, and; 4) Nonidentification (or nonattachment). In other words, rather than fight the urge to drink, to use, to succumb to distraction or hate, etc. you address it mindfully.

This approach, RAIN, deprives the urge of its force. It breaks the connection between impulse and reward. Whether it's exercise, or road rage, or a constant battle between you and your fill in the blank (spouse, self, bad habit, grievous thoughts, etc.), you can intervene and mindfully observe your feelings, you can make a change.

In doing so, you can see yourself more clearly.

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