The Jewel in the Lotus: Cultivating Compassion, Pt. 1 – with Tara Brach

[flute] Namaste and welcome. Over the last thirty-five years in addition
to my mindfulness practice there has been one mantra that in particular when I’ve
been caught in stress and reactivity that I’ll turn to. And it’s probably the most
well-known mantra in Buddhist Asia. It’s “Om mani padme hum.” And this mantra is
really one of the Bodhisattva path, the path of awakening hearts, and it’s got a lot
of different translations but the one that I find speaks to me the most is that om mani
padme hum as “the lotus of wisdom unfolds we discover the jewel of compassion.” This
whole awakening. We wake up and wake up and wake up and discover the radiance of the heart.
That’s the expression of awakening kindness and compassion. So as the Dalai Lama put it,
you know, “My religion is kindness.” And is a heart-mantra. So it helps me to collect
and come back to that presence where I can feel my heart.
When I think of evolution, you know, it’s very clear that we’re wired to experience
compassion. That’s really the key-feature of our species in terms of what’s allowed
us to continue to evolve as we have. And we have in competition our survival nervous system
that says, “I’m all for fight-flight-freeze! Things are dangerous! I am not messing around
with that!” you know. It’s a dangerous world when we get into compassion. So we have
these competing systems. And for most of us… Pema Chödrön described it beautifully, she
called it “the big squeeze”… We can probably look at every day of our life and
sense how some part of us has that sense or intuition of what’s possible, the open-heartedness
and kindness and the presence and the sense of wonder of beauty, we know that’s in the
background as possible, and every day we go into a kind of stress-trance at least some
parts of the day where there’s forgetting, you know, and we’re caught in a much more
small-minded, grim, cut off place. So one mother describes her experience of…
This is a woman who describes herself as very much into organic foods and a veggie and healthy
lifestyle. She’s got a couple of children. And comes back at the end of the day, hasn’t
gone to the groceries store, is completely exhausted, she is trying to figure out what
possibly they can eat, she looks in the freezer and there is frozen pizza. So, “Okay, guys,
we’re having frozen pizza for dinner tonight.” She says she tries to keep the guilt out of
her voice because, instead of this organic meal made with compassion and love, she is
serving them pizza. And her son instantly resists, “But I don’t want frozen pizza!”
you know. And she says she remains calm and she keeps saying, “Well, this is what we’re
having!” And he keeps saying, “I don’t want frozen pizza! I don’t like frozen pizza!”
So he is on the verge of a tantrum and she is feeling like she is a failing person, that
she has really failed them, and also what’s going through her mind is, “I’m a bad
mom, and of course they don’t like frozen pizza, and I don’t like it either, but I’m
doing the best I can, I’ve created a monster that they can’t just this meal…” You
know, this is what’s going on inside her. Deep breaths. She says, “Okay, this is what
we have to have for dinner tonight, sweetie. I’m tired and this is what it is. It’ll
be okay.” And surprisingly her son looks at her with his tear-streaked face and he
says kind of calmly – he is three years old – he says, “Okay, mama, but could
we at least heat it up?” And I love this story – this woman emailed
it to me – because we get so caught in our stress-trance that, you know, we lose sight
of that we’re okay, that they’re okay. When our limbic system – that’s what we’re
talking about – dominates we are in a trance. I’ve described often that circle and the
line and whatever we are aware of is above the line and what we are not aware of is below
the line. We go below the line a lot, you know, in a lot of ways. And when we do, our
emotions can get really painful, they can get locked in because we are in a kind of
looping of fear-thinking and shame and fear and anger, then our behaviors are not… we
are not who we want to be at those times… so then we add on another layer of shame.
Well, you can see the same thing – this below the line – on a societal level. This
is what we read in the newspaper. Usually we are reading about the reactivity of trance,
the actions that are cut off from a more integrated, awake mind. So then we see things like a zero-tolerance
policy that separates families or we see bombs being delivered to targeted people or we see
really obvious racism or sexism. We see it play out. And all the addiction in our society.
I know for myself reading the papers and so on there’s a very activist part of me and
I truly believe that we can’t change this world unless we vote and act and get engaged
and I truly believe that if we’re not underneath our activism awakening our consciousness and
helping to awaken each other it won’t hold, there’s no true transformation without awakening
consciousness, we need a compassionate world. Otherwise all the policies in the world won’t
stay, instead it will kind of unravel because of unseen bias and the tendency towards hierarchy
and those in power trying to hold their power and being afraid of losing it.
This class and the next I’d like to explore kind of do another dive into compassion. I’d
say it’s probably the subject I’d talk about the most because it feels to me like
it’s the medicine for our world. And so we’ll do it in two pieces. And the first
class will be – that’s tonight or right now – on bringing compassion to ourselves
and then the next class will be on bringing it to others. And we have to start with ourselves
because if we are at war with ourselves we won’t trust others, we will be defended
or we will be aggressive. So we have to begin by bringing compassion actively to the life
that’s right here in order to widen the circles.
So we start with a little bit of terms or setting our definitions. And compassion really
is that resonance of heart when we can sense the suffering in another or in our own being.
It’s grounded in mindfulness. If we’re not mindful then we’ll sense suffering but
we’ll react to it and we’ll either push it away or we’ll get in some way overwhelmed
by it. And many times when I’ve talked about compassion I have people saying to me that,
“I don’t need to be more compassionate. I’m already thin-skinned as it is and if
I was more compassionate I’d be completely overwhelmed all the time.” Well, this is
to me really important place of misunderstanding because empathy means being able to sense
what other people are feeling; if we are empathetic we can get overwhelmed by negative emotions;
but compassion, because it is grounded in mindfulness, means that we experience the
negative emotions but there is enough space and balance and perspective not to be overwhelmed
so there is not burnout there. In fact, the basic components of mindfulness: the caring
when we experience suffering and the urge to relieve suffering.
So what blocks it is what we are talking about – this limbic hijack really where hatred
or fear or anger take over and it really comes from the sense of severed belonging and then
what gets triggered is all the biochemistry and all the activity of fight-flight-freeze
so it leads to “You’re unsafe and bad, I am bad,” and we get cut off. By the way
there is a little equation I find that almost is always there which is: When we have a sense
of “I am feeling bad” it goes hand in hand with “I am bad.” And I invite you
to check that out. So we get cut off for stretches of time when we get hijacked. So you can look
at your day-to-day and say, “Well, how much was I above the line?” And if you were in
that forgetting trance – which could just be that business, “I am on my way somewhere
else, I don’t have time,” you know, that kind of thing – you’ll notice that there
wasn’t a real tenderness in your heart toward yourself or your world. The biochemistry of
rushing and stress doesn’t go with compassion. So we can go under the line for, you know,
busy moments of the day or for whole stretches of our life when we’re preoccupied, caught
in an addiction, caught in conflict and so on. And when that happens we end up turning
on ourselves. Deep down we don’t like ourselves. One of the stories that most struck me I included
in “Radical Acceptance” and it was a woman describing her mother dying and her mother
kind of woke up from a coma and looked her in the eye and was lucid for a moment and
said, “You know, all my life I thought something was wrong with me.” And then she closed
her eyes and soon after she died. So those were her last words. “All my life I thought
something was wrong with me.” And I really got struck by that as did this woman because
there is something so tragic about having a deep belief that there is something wrong
with us and how much life we lose to that belief. When I say that, how many of you resonate
with that that we lose our life to that belief? Okay.
So what are the conditions, you know, if we really want to start sensing, “Well, how
do I go below the line?” What is pushing us under the line so that we’re believing
that something is wrong with us, that we are deficient, that in some way we are not enough?
Because it’s pervasive. You know, over the last… I’ve been either as a psychotherapist
or as a teacher working with people now for thirty-five, forty years – it is the most
core and common suffering I run into is this inability to hold ourselves kindly and this
deep belief that something is wrong, that I am flawed, and even people that aren’t
in the grip of it in an explicit way and a real overt way, it’s still a background
that contracts. So what’s the conditioning that pulls us under? There is a statement
that we are not thinking our own thoughts, we’re thinking society’s thoughts. We
are all conditioned by society that has all sorts of standards that… And we send them
messages of the society. And they tell us how we are supposed to be and what’s wrong
with us and what’s right with us. So in one Annie Dillard story she describes
an Eskimo who asks the local missionary priest, “If I did not know about God and sin, would
I go to hell?” “No,” said the priest, “not if you did not know.” “Then why,”
asked the Eskimo earnestly, “did you tell me?”
It’s a deep message of what’s wrong with us, you know, how are we supposed to look,
we’re told how we should be looking, we’re told how we should be acting, we’re told
the kind of mind that’s most admired and valued in this society – a certain left-brain
intelligence – we’re told in many, many ways what it means to be successful and what
it means to fail, men are told what they should be like, women are told what they should be
like, and men and women are told they should be identified as one or the other and it’s
not okay not to be. So Dave Barry. He describes being puny all
his life which is really difficult for a male. He says, “I totally lost the boat to puberty
island. I was this hairless little dweeb with a voice in the Pinocchio range. One day my
mom, bless her heart, had a talk with me. She told me that girls were not interested
only in looks, that the qualities that really mattered were brains and a sense of humor.
That little talk was long ago but it taught me an invaluable life lesson I have never
forgotten: moms lie when they have to.” So we’re given these messages and we’re
given them through our parents it usually is the voice but also through our schools
and through employment settings and through the justice system and through the housing
system and through every other industry and institution in our country we are given messages
about who we are. And the most toxic messages go to non-dominant population, we know that,
the most toxic messages… when I say toxic “You are less” “You are not worthy,”
“Something is wrong with you” that then get incorporated to indigenous people, people
of color, to women, to those with different sexual orientations or gender identities.
I’m thinking of last week, you know, now the threat is reopened to transgendered peoples.
The message is “You are less than.” I was talking with a very good friend a few
weeks ago who is a teacher of color. And she was describing how when she was sick and getting
treated for cancer and she was in a whole lot of pain at many junctures she was denied
pain killers when she really did need them. And she is also very active in doing diversity
work and has done a lot of research. The research shows clearly that people of color are more
regularly denied pain killers than whites because there is a bias that says in some
way “You are going to get addicted” and another bias that says, “Well, you don’t
really feel pain because you are not like me.” And this is researched out. It’s
horrific. And what’s the message to my friend and to all those that have that treatment
whether it’s through the medical system or through again education… What white teachers
expect we know the research on that. They expect children of color not to do as well
and then what happens? So I’m spending a little time with this because there are very
powerful messages from our society that affect that sense of “Something is wrong with me.”
Now the ground level that we get those messages are in our relationship with significant others
early, early on. And every one of us in some way was told how to be. Sometimes it was with
a lighter touch and sometimes a heavier touch like, “If you’re not this way, this way
and this way I am not going to love you.” But to the degree that you grew up and didn’t
feel understood or loved, that you felt you had to meet certain standards to be okay,
to that degree that installs the fear of “I am not okay.” And it’s very deep. Sometimes
it happens in really overt ways, sometimes in not as clear ways.
So this is an essay that again to me is very powerful. It’s called “Ordinary Heart-break.”
She climbs easily onto the box that seats her above the swivel chair at adult height,
crosses her legs, left ankle over right, and smooths the plastic apron over her lap while
the beautician lifts her ponytail and mocks, “Coarse as horse’s tale.” Then as if
there is all there is to say the woman at once whacks off and tosses its foot and a
half into the trash. And the little girl who didn’t want her hair cut but long ago learned
successfully how not to say what it is she wants, who even at this minute can’t quite
grasp her shock and grief, is getting her hair cut. For convenience, her mother put
it. The long ways gone that had been evidence at night when loosened from their clasp she
might secretly be a princess. Rather than cry out she grips her own wrist and looks
to her mother in the mirror. But her mother is too polite or reserved or indifferent to
defend the girl. So the girl herself takes up indifference where pain follows a hidden
channel to a place almost unknown to her. Convinced as she is that her own emotions
are not the ones her life depends on, she shifts her gaze from the mother’s face back
to the haircut now so steadily as if the short-haired child she sees was someone else.
So this is severed belonging. This is when we get cut off from ourselves and others because
of a lack of attunement. And we all have it to some degree. There is a really important
statement that a evolutionary psychologist talked about which is – I think his name
was Kurt Doser (his name is Louis Cozolino) but I am not sure – he says, “It’s not
the survival of the fittest, it’s the survival of the nurtured.” This is all about the
evolution of our consciousness s and evolving compassion. And when it’s not there, when
that attunement is not there, there is a sense of severed belonging and we suffer.
So what happens for this little girl who got her hair cut and her wants weren’t respected
or for the more kind of horrific kind of trauma, traumatic abuse that happens to so many, that
severed belonging? Well, we learn and internalize a sense of “Something is wrong with me”
and there is beliefs and feelings that go with that and we get trapped through our life
in a looping of those beliefs. We’ll have the belief that “no one will ever love me,”
or I’ll have the belief that “I’ll always fail,” whatever it is, that “I am falling
short” and with that comes a sinking feeling that stirs up more beliefs.
Vironika Tugaleva writes, “Perhaps the most liberating moment in my life was when I realized
that my self-loathing was not a product of my inadequacy but rather a product of my thoughts.”
No this is really important. Ghandi put it this way, he said, “Our beliefs
and our thoughts create our feelings. Our feelings create our actions. Our actions create
our character. And our character creates our destiny.”
It comes out of our beliefs. And if we believe our beliefs, if you behind the line, under
the line, are saying, “Something is wrong with me, I don’t deserve love,” whatever,
that’s going to keep you in that looping of self-loathing that then actually creates
behaviors that bring about the very things that you judge.
Okay, so how come it’s so hard to undo our beliefs about ourselves? How come it’s so
hard to be kind to ourselves? And I’m going to invite you to reflect right now just to
check something out if you will. So just close your eyes. And invite yourself right here.
Take a few full breaths. And sense the domain we are exploring, you know, how do we shift
from that underlying trance where we’re kind of cut off from our hearts and often
when we’re judging ourselves to really regarding ourselves with kindness. How do we move towards
that? And you might ask yourself or check in and sense: Where do you get stuck? Where
do you get caught in a negative belief about yourself? You might think about something
going on in your life where you judge yourself right now, where it’s really hard to be
compassionate and accepting. Most of us have something in that domain. And you might sense:
Well, what would happen if I let go of that belief, if I regarded myself with compassion?
What’s wrong with letting go of that belief? What would be wrong with regarding myself
with compassion? Just be curios and sense what comes up. What really stops me from regarding
myself with compassion? If you’d like you can open your eyes but continue to let that
be an enquiry. Now if we were in a workshop or I might have
people go into small groups and share what they noticed stops them or do it in a group.
But let me ask you this: How many of you are afraid to forgive or accept or hold yourself
with compassion because you are afraid that then you’ll never change in fact maybe you
get worse? How many of you that’s what came up? Can I see by hands? – And don’t be
shy. Okay. How many of you were afraid that if you accepted yourself ad embrace yourself
that maybe others might reject you? Okay. For many people the challenge with regarding
ourselves with compassion is not just that we have this mental belief but the body believes,
“No, it’s true, I’m wrong, I’m bad, how can I be compassionate? I am really, really
bad!” How many of you found that one in there? Yeah. Okay.
So for many of us what we start sensing is: It’s not that easy to go from a place of
self-judgment to, “Oh, that’s okay, I accept myself.” It’s not safe to let go
of the judgment because in some way we are letting go of our control. Like if I stop
judging myself how am I going to control myself? There is a story of a chief executive of a
large company. He is greatly admired for his energy and drive. But he suffers from one
embarrassing weakness and that is: each time he goes to the president’s office to make
a report he wets his pants. So the kindly president advises him to see a therapist at
the company’s expense. The next week when he appears before the president again he wets
his pants again. So the president said, “Didn’t you see the therapist?” And he said, “No.
Well, yes, I did. But when we met… Actually, I am cured. I am not embarrassed anymore.”
And I like that because, you know, in a way it’s silly but there is this fear of letting
go of our judgment because we don’t like the way we are and we are using our judgment
to try to change ourselves. But the deep question is: Does our self-blame ever really work?
And we’re going to ask that same question in the next time when we talk about compassion
for others: Does it ever really help to blame another person? Do we get them to change?
Okay, so we’re talking about going below the line and how do we start cultivating compassion
when we’re below the line. Now I am right now talking a lot about cultivating compassion
when we are at war with ourselves. But also cultivating compassion when we are scared.
Cultivating compassion when we feel hurt by others. So it’s a broader terrain but we
are doing the hardest piece which is when we’ve been turned on ourselves.
On the Bodhisattva path – you remember I started with that mantra Om mani padme hum
– on the path of awakened beings there is a Bodhisattva vow. And the Bodhisattva vow
has a different languaging but the essence of it is: May whatever arise awaken compassion.
May whatever arises in our life awaken compassion. And that includes compassion towards ourselves.
For right this moment to say that the reason that the Bodhisattvas take this vow is because
in awakening consciousness compassion is right at the center, it’s the gem in the lotus.
And if you again just reflect in. You might just close your eyes for a moment again. And
bring up that situation where you end up judging yourself, where you feel bad about yourself,
and you might explore that Bodhisattva vow – which is really a prayer – and apply
it to this: May this situation serve to awaken compassion. And just notice what that’s
like to have that… just to hold that intention, to feel your own prayer to awaken compassion.
The intention opens the door. If you have a real commitment to evolving your consciousness,
awakening compassion for yourself and others, bring it right to this situation, see what
happens. Now the next question is: Okay, so I would
like to awaken self-compassion but how do I go about it? And this is where we bring
the tools that we practice together of mindfulness and compassion we apply them to the situation.
So I am going to share with you a situation one person went through, how she worked with
it, and then I am actually going to invite you to practice a little with self-compassion
because it’s so central on the path. And when we talk about awakening compassion probably
the most useful strategy is using the acronym RAIN which many of you are familiar with and
so we’ll use that as a model. RAIN is a systematic way of waking up mindfulness and
compassion. It’s: R is recognize, A is allow, I is investigate and N is nurture. And then
after the RAIN we rest and sense who we now are.
So in the situation I wanted to share I thought I’d keep on the mother-theme since I started
out earlier. And this is a different mom though. She has two children, a four-year-old and
a six-year-old, and gets locked into a dance with the older one who… And then she gets
really angry that the six-year-old won’t cooperate. And the six-year-old has tantrums
when she is not getting her way and gets bossy and domineering with her younger sister. So
her mom gets critical, she goes below the line, she is threatening timeouts… But the
worst part is: In that reactivity she doesn’t like her daughter and that’s very painful
because of course she feels then ashamed that she doesn’t like her daughter and hates
herself for that. She says things she regrets, she loses her temper, and so in her mind for
this mother a mad mother is a bad mother. So that’s where when we started working
together “I don’t deserve self-acceptance, I don’t deserve self-compassion, I am a
mad mother and I m a bad mother.” So you get the idea. That was her situation. So you
have thought of yours. And I want to show you how she applied mindfulness and compassion
to hers. But first I asked her what I mentioned to you, “Does blaming yourself, believing
you are a bad mother, make you any more calm or resourceful or loving towards your daughter?”
And she said, “No, the more I hate myself the more I end up being reactive with her.”
Again that’s what Ghandi said. It’s that beliefs just generate that whole syndrome.
So we started RAIN. And RAIN started with recognizing and allowing that she was caught
in this anger at her daughter and at herself. That’s recognize. That’s the beginning
of mindfulness. Allow – the A of RAIN – is making space for it. Just letting it be there.
Mindfulness is a non-judging quality of attention. Mindfulness means you have to recognize it
and to let it be there, okay? And when I say “let it be there” I mostly mean “pause”;
you’re pausing so you can actually go deeper into the process of presence. Now the I – for
her investigating – that she said, “Well, what am I believing?” And she believed she
was failing. “What does that fee like when I feel like I am failing?” Investigating
is getting into your body. It was a sense of a kind of a very squeezed, pressure, sinking
feeling. And very, very vulnerable. And I asked her, “Well, what does that remind
you of that vulnerable experience?” And she could hear her mother’s voice saying,
“What’s wrong with you?” Over and over. So she was being criticized. And I said, “Well,
how long have you lived with that sense of failing?” And she said, “As long as I
can remember.” And that was the moment I sometimes call it an outch-moment because
that was the moment for her when she realized how long she had been living with that sense
of failing. Not only failing as a bad mother but failing as a friend or a student or anything.
That’s when she felt the pain of… You might remember when I asked you earlier how
those beliefs take away our life moments when we believe something is wrong with us that’s
what she was getting in touch with. And it’s a soul-sadness because we can sense the landscape
of our life and all the missed moments when we were at war with ourselves. Then she asked
that part of her that was vulnerable, “What do you need?” And what that part needed
to know was to trust that she was okay and that she loved her children and she was a
loving being. Then the N – nurture – you know, I asked her, “If you could be given
that message from anybody in the whole world, who would it be?” And she said it was really
from kind of the ideal mother, for her it was kind of… she thought of her future self,
who she could be when she was really open-hearted and loving, so she kind of called on her future
move evolved compassionate self to nurture her. And that’s when she sat – and as
I often do here – with hands on the heart, that’s when she nurtured, she imagined that
loving energy coming in and basically giving her that message, “You are okay, you are
a loving being, you’ve got a loving heart, it’s okay.” And as she let that in she
could feel a shift from being that bad mother, that angry mother, the person who was always
failing being that compassionate presence that really was her essence.
This is the shift. The shift from the small self that is down on itself to the compassionate
awareness is the very essence of waking up. In any moment when you’re turned on yourself
and a part of you softens and you go, “Oh it’s okay” and then you realize that you’re
more that being and that awareness that’s compassionate than you are any story of a
bad self – that’s a moment of freedom. Well, for this woman repeating this regularly,
you know, in going through those steps of, you know, being caught in the anger and investigating
and then nurturing and then what I call “after the RAIN” where you just sense who you really
are, oh, and that compassionate presence… She started finding more ease with her daughter
and she was able to see that this little six-year-old was, you know, she was anxious and wanting
attention and maybe there was a sibling-rivalry and just out of control, she couldn’t help
it, and she started finding that if she could get her laughing or when she made requests
– ask her to draw for her first – the request that she could shift her mood. She
started being more creative basically. That’s the possibility. Once we become more self-compassionate
it starts widening out, we see each other more clearly because we are above the line.
There is a Tibetan teacher who said, “When we open our hearts fully to ourselves we open
to the world.” So this is the pathway and we’re exploring
it tonight how to bring it to ourselves when we are at war with ourselves. There are many
ways to nurture yourself. And it’s really an experiment. For some people the nurturing
is just what she did put your hand on your heart and send a message, send a message that
is exactly what that vulnerable place needs to know. For some imagining from some outside
being that’s loving – could be a person we know, it could be a spiritual figure, I
often sense a very luminous, warm, loving presence kind of blessing me on the brow,
like a kiss on the brow, and that helps to allow me to hold my inner life and then it
feels like that loving presence can hold everybody – so we make that shift in that way to the
world. I was at a conference a few days ago. And
one of the other presenters was Dan Harris and we were both presenting on compassion
and afterwards we were talking. And he was describing how, you know, when it was first
suggested that he’d touch his heart it was like, “Are you kidding me?” you know,
this is just not a guy’s thing or it just wasn’t for him, it was a bit… a cynical
edge on it. But what he found is that these practices of compassion soften him in a way
that actually makes more room for the life that he wants to get in touch with. We need
compassion to be able to honestly and fully live our moments.
There is a wisdom that comes up that as we embrace what’s here we start sensing, you
know, as we widen and look at each other that the other isn’t really other, there is a
sense of belonging that we start discovering. William James said, “Our lives are like
islands in the sea or like trees in the forest which co-mingle their roots in the darkness
underneath.” You know, when we’ve brought compassion
to our own being and when we belong to our own being there is a sense of real belonging
with others, we really sense our roots are all inter-mingled and you really can’t tell
who is who. And in a very deep way – and this to me is so powerful – Sri Nisargadatta
– the teacher that’s most influenced me – describes true awakening as realizing
nothing is wrong with me. Yes, there is conditioning. It’s like waves on the ocean. But this ocean-ness
is pure and vast and deep and mysterious. Here is a poem from Robert Hall and you might
close your eyes and listen for a few moments. As we consider this evening really how do
we open our hearts to the life inside us. Here is what Robert Hall says:
“Within the body you are wearing Now inside the bones and the beating in the
heart Lives the one you have been searching for
so long. But you must start moving and shake hands.
The meeting doesn’t happen without your presence, your participation.
The same one waiting for you there is moving in the trees, glistening on the water, growing
in the grasses and lurking in the shadows you create.
You have nowhere to go. The marriage happened long ago.
Within the body you are wearing now Inside the bones and the beating in the heart
Lives the one you have been searching for so long.”
So keeping your eyes closed. You might again sense that Bodhisattva vow, that prayer “May
this awaken compassion” and just sense in your own words the prayer to be able to embrace
the life inside you with care. Om mani padme hum; The Jewel is in the lotus; as we awaken
consciousness we discover this jewel of compassion. And you might again allow yourself to sense
the place in your life where you typically turn against yourself. And we’ll just be
practicing for a few moments right now. Sense your intention to revisit and explore how
you can bring that RAIN of self-compassion to this place, how you can recognize and allow,
“Okay, down on myself, judging, blaming,” how you might investigate – and you can
do it right now – and just sense under the blaming place, the places in you that might
be believing that something is really wrong, that you are flawed, that you are bad in some
way, and just to feel in your body what it’s like to be living with that belief, perhaps
how sad it is to have that belief take over, keep you in a trance that separates you from
yourself and from others. And you might sense: Well, what is it that I need to trust or feel?
What is it the most vulnerable part of me needs to trust or feel? And you might for
a moment just taking your hand and gently touching your heart sense a message that might
be healing to the part of you that has been caught in
a belief, in the pain of a belief, for so long. Offering that compassion to yourself
you might imagine a being you trust and let their energy and love and wisdom flow into
you. You don’t have to believe your beliefs. You can trust that basic goodness of heart.
You might sense: If nothing is really wrong, who am I? Om mani padme hum; the jewel is
in the lotus; Closing in a simple way sensing that intention,
that prayer, to hold this inner life and all live with the wise heart of compassion. Sensing
the freedom, the radiance, the love that’s here when we are not caught in that trance
of “Something is wrong.” This is our potential to free these hearts and to let the circles
of loving and compassion ripple outward and outward to include all beings everywhere.
Namaste and thank you for your beautiful presence.


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