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Posts Tagged ‘Loving Kindness’

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I was so impressed by a Jeff Foster video today, that I sat down to transcribe parts of it for myself and for all of you. He is one of many gifted spiritual teachers who is helping others practice compassionate awareness with self. I am always up for sharing that wisdom with all of you, so that we can all benefit.

Guest: I’ve been on this journey for more than 20 years…and I still hurt.

 

Jeff Foster: So this word … still — this is a huge one. This is the voice of the mind. After all these years, after all the healing, after all the courses, after all the books, why am I STILL feeling this? That’s one of the big stories of the mind: after all I’ve done, after all my insight, and my clarity, and my healing … why am I STILL feeling this sadness? Why am I still feeling this burning?

 

This word ‘still’ is very interesting because it implies an expectation. ‘By now’, that’s another way of saying it, isn’t it? By now this should be gone, by now I shouldn’t be feeling this. By now is the big lie. By now, is the great dishonoring of your experience. By now, still, I should be over this by now.

 

It’s so violent to ourselves, so cruel, so unkind. So quickly we go into the old story – why are you still here? I thought you would be gone by now. I’m so disappointed. Can you feel the self-violence in that? They just come, all they are asking for is to be allowed here now.

 

We go so quickly into – why are you still here? Seems like such a small thing, but when it comes to the voice of the heart it’s such a huge thing. That’s not the voice of the heart. The heart doesn’t say – why are you still here? The heart says, “aw, you’re here.” There’s no ‘still’, there’s no ‘by now’. There’s only here, there’s only now.

 

This idea that I should be “free from”. That’s the mind’s version of freedom. These are all your children: rage, doubt, joy, sorrow. They are all your children, and they come to you not to punish, or show you how much you failed, but because you are their home.

 

Sadness does not want to be healed. It wants to be held … which is the healing ironically. The word heal and whole are from the same root. It wants to be part of the whole.

 

You are presence. You are home and all these children come to visit you. Sadness will come and visit you, and she’ll leave and come back. If your heart is open, that never has to stop. That’s how you break the cycle of violence.

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“It’s amazing Molly, the love inside, you take it with you.”

Those were some of the final heart-rendering words uttered by the lead male character, portrayed by Patrick Swayze, in the movie “Ghost”. Molly is played by Demi Moore.  He’s expressing this as he’s saying goodbye, and moving into the eternal world of non-physical.  It’s a deeply touching moment, and appropriately at the end of the movie.

Those words came to me as I pondered how I wanted the end of my movie to be.  What is it I want to take with me from living this life?  What is it that I want to pass on through my ancestral DNA? What deposit do I want to put in my karmic piggy bank?   What’s the enduring footprint I want to leave here?

My best friend in nursing school once said to me: “you’re not just hard on yourself, you are brutal with yourself.”  There’s been some improvements, yet it has been one of my core challenges.  Not much seemed to really stem the tide of self-victimization — not even the realization that this was what I was doing, repeating a pattern over and over again. 

I can’t tell you I’m cured and I will never beat up on self again.  But I can tell you what’s really weakening the link in that chain is knowing every time I continue to make myself wrong, this is what I put into my non-physical escrow account, or my karmic piggy bank.  This is the legacy I leave behind and it is the inheritance I give generations to come. It broke my heart to realize this and then it broke it again – wide open to love, compassion, mercy and kindness.

What is the legacy I want to leave behind, and the inheritance I bequeath to future generations?

I am wise and teachable, open to change and spiritual growth.  I seek always to embody kindness and compassion.  I am mindful that this is the essence of my spiritual sustenance.  I live the motto: make love, not war.

As this movie ends and the curtain begins to close, down the hall another movie begins, “The Gods and Goddesses of Loving Compassion”. It’s the story of how together, we restored the outer world to its natural state of peace and harmony, by first transforming our inner worlds.  And, together we changed the landscape of future generations to come forevermore.      

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I’ve been listening to Tara Brach’s podcast entitled “Hands Off the Controls”.  Tara Brach is also the author of Radical Acceptance (highly recommend!).  I love her completely non-judgmental stance.  So many teachers use labels that inherently carry judgment.  Tara, particularly in her book, refers to the shadow.  Some of you may be familiar with this Jungian term also.  The shadow is only and ever those unloved parts of ourselves.  To reject the shadow, is to enable its presence even further.

In the podcast, Tara gives some concrete steps for dealing with suffering on any level.  I am going to detail them below.  If you listen to the podcast, I am not quoting verbatim, so you may hear things differently.  Certainly, it’s also a small piece of the podcast, so if you get a chance to listen to the whole of it, I don’t think you will regret it.

She recommends using these tools for the big stuff, when the sh*t really hits the fan, but I think it’s good practice to even start out with small things.  Then when the stuff really does hit the fan, you’ve already got a toe hold in something you’ve lent some practice to.

1) Resourcing: This is designed to calm the nervous system.  It also brings you instantly into the present moment.  Begin consciously breathing focusing longer on the in breath and extending the out breath, too.  Do this several times, consciously.  Now feel your feet on the floor, the weight of your body in a chair, or lying in bed.  This is about grounding yourself to the earth.  Now from here, ask: May I offer “metta” or loving kindness to self, or others? (You may choose whichever or both if it applies, but suggest offering loving kindness first to self.)

2) Letting go of controls: Explore not doing and just being with what comes up.  You can say (and this is a direct quote):

“This is suffering…other people experience it, too.  May I be kind.”

She also mentioned a version of a quote most of us have heard as Christians, but this is a unique version of it:

“Not my will, but my [awakened] heart’s will.”

3) Beyond not doing: Having completed the first two steps, now as the need arises, take the action steps that are necessary.  These steps now are being taken from a state of presence, rather than a reactive or fear-based stance.

J. Krishnumurti was once quoted as saying: “Life has an astonishing way of taking care of you when you no longer mind what happens.”  I would change that, because truly often we do mind what happens to us.  Life has an astonishing way of taking care of you, when you no longer try to control what happens.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  May peace and loving kindness enter your heart each and every breath of all your days.

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