Tag Archive | truth

Courageous Grace

“Imagine you are walking in the woods and you see a small dog sitting by a tree.  As you approach, it suddenly lunges at you, teeth bared.  You are frightened and angry.  But then you notice that one of its legs is caught in a trap.  Immediately your mood shifts from anger to concern:  You see that the dog’s aggression is coming from a place of vulnerability and pain.”

-Tara Brach

True Refuge:  Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

Opening ourselves to a wider understanding of another person’s perspective is the first step towards cultivating a compassionate heart.  We can learn to do this by becoming quiet in the easy moments.  Themes of our thinking may or may not show their constancy, but we soon learn individual thoughts come and go like soft waves lapping and retreating along a coastline.

By familiarizing ourselves with our thinking’s lack of structure, we realize that others may be experiencing an onslaught of confusion in their minds as well.  If they happen to attach to a negative or fearful thought sequence, this may spill over into their world experience.  They may lash out or in some instances, shut down completely.

If we are left to look at the surface of what they are presenting, we remain stuck in fear right alongside them.  If we open ourselves to the possibility of a deeper understanding, compassion naturally replaces our hurtful interpretations with grace.

From grace, we no longer need to concern ourselves with another’s behavior.  All we need is to recognize the mutual beauty that exists between us far beneath the surface of what appears in the world.

The only question is, how deep are you willing to go?

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The Deep Heart of Listening

If you want to deeply listen to someone else, you first have to be clear on what your inner experience is.  You have to connect to the present moment and let your thoughts, judgments and feelings come into your awareness while not attaching to them.

The miracle of listening this way allows the talker to unfold into their own brilliance.  Without letting our busy-body minds interfere with their process, an invitation is extended so that Truth may enter.

When Truth enters, healing occurs.

The story and its circumstances are not altered, yet the talker is allowed an opportunity for inner transformation if they are ready for it.

However, as a listener, if we are invested in validating, interjecting and sharing our own ideas about how this story ‘should be’, we block the flow of the miracle.

Yesterday, I mindfully listened to a woman who shared a harrowing and unjust life story.  Instead of responding with my words or gestures, I let the story sweep over me.  I saw inside myself the judgments, labels and rising tides of emotions.

These were mine.  Not hers.

But because I waited through that uncomfortable urge to say something, the story slowly shifted to immense beauty.  While it included heartbreak, the lights of resilience started to shine through it.

My labels and judgments were soon replaced by sheer awe.

When awe enters, it is easy to detach and yield with an open heart to the Love that lives inside struggle.

Where else could we yield?  What miracles await us if we simply let go?

I am ready to listen.

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Healing Reimagined

In my years of searching for Truth, my motivation rested in changing the self that I am.  The amount of effort I poured into finding inner peace rivaled that of an athlete training for the Olympics.  I read countless books, meditated daily, had a spiritual mentor and began a yoga practice in earnest.

Each of these may or may not have been valuable on this path.  I have no regrets only compassion.  The self that searched with all her might endured a suffering few can imagine.  When a self experiences the world as a dream but then is dropped back into the personal experience of it, all hell breaks loose.

This self did all she could to survive and mitigate the internal, constant noise of ‘living in two worlds’.

Over the past few months, this self’s course has down-shifted.  There is less urgency to reach a goal of peace.  Rather, the emphasis has changed to accepting where this self is on the journey.

Peace may come to stay, but it is okay if it does not.  A healed mind may manifest, but it is okay if it does not.

There is something to be found in loving the present moment exactly as it is.  There is great value in accepting ourselves right here, right now.

“…, you are already perfect just as you are, in the sense of already being perfectly who you are, including all the imperfections.”

-Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Jon Kabat-Zinn

It is helpful to redefine healing in a way that will make it available to you wherever you are on your path to wholeness.  The shift comes by focusing on accepting what is and letting go of the constant striving for change.

Jon Kabat-Zinn redefines healing beautifully in Full Catastrophe Living:

” … my working definition of healing is coming to terms with things as they are.”

Healing will find us if we breathe open-heartedly into this present moment.

Let it be.

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The Shift

Let’s get back to you.

Let’s get back to your story.

What are you telling yourself right now?

Take a deep breath and pause.

Listen.

Really listen to your story.

Is it kind?  Are roots of compassion flowing through it?  Is it scary?  Are there judgments of less-than and not-good-enough swimming through your head?

We are taught from a very young age to believe everything our minds tell us.

What if these thoughts weren’t true?

Would you feel freedom or terror?

Maybe both?

By observing the thoughts rumbling through our heads we make room for grace.

Who or what is watching these thoughts?

Is it you?  Is it me?

Is it all of Us?

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True Selves

Remembering your True Self is harrowing. You have to overcome incredible obstacles. The pain will be great. It will leave you exhausted, alone and searching for answers.

The pain lessens when the searching stops.

There are no answers to find, only Love to remember.

If Truth has found you, if it has slipped past the fortress of self-identification, there is nothing more to do.

For most of us Truth Seekers, our identity will be dismantled over time. It is so painful at first, you may attempt to do more to relieve the suffering of transcending the self. The goals of peace, contentment and joy will propel you to action.

Real Truth has no goal.

It simply is.

It exists on a plane without words, thought or doing of any kind.

Once you begin to identify that all the doing in the world will not expedite your process to Peace, that is when the healing starts to show up.

The challenges in your life remain the same but you are invested in them less.

This lessening of attachment is gradual at first but will pick up momentum.

Soon enough, you will relinquish any doing and hand it over to Truth.

Truth was always in the driver’s seat.

Maybe it is time to let go and watch the scenery pass by.

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Going or Staying

As you connect to your True Nature, you will find life does not fit you the same.  Changes often start on a subconscious level.  Subtle layers are added to and subtracted from your everyday world.  Then, after enough of these layers push and pull against your normal experience, the tides shift and sweep away what no longer serves you.

This means you may have to let some people in your life go.

Not everyone, but some.

Some may be angry with you for changing.  They may try to use guilt to keep you where they are.

You are not better for needing to go.  They are not worse for having to stay.

Both different points on the path of awakening.

I used to mistakenly attribute others leaving my life to deep, unchangeable personal flaws.  My first error was believing that my wholeness was contingent on others’ acceptance of me.  My second was not knowing that I was projecting my own non-acceptance of myself onto others.  What I saw in them was what I was too afraid to admit.  

I did not accept myself.

Then, this too, started to change and shift.

Now, I see that as a personal self, acceptance in a traditional sense is unobtainable.  Personal selves are messy.  We will never be free of mistakes.  

What remains True for Me, what holds me together at the seams is within me.  

There is such Love within, personal selves and stories dissipate in this awareness.  It makes being human bearable.  

It is steady and sure. 

If people come or if people go, this Love does not change. 

It will not leave.

This eternal surety is yours for the taking.

Standing in the Ordinary

Even though I experience Truth easily and often, I still struggle to grasp that I am awakening.  There are not a lot of ‘regular’ people talking about their Knowing of Truth.

Yet, here I am.  Standing on the cusp of enlightenment with barely a roadmap to lead the way.

I am making it up as I go.

There is a great vacillation that occurs on this path.  This is also rarely identified or discussed.  Either you are awake or you are not.

But, what if I am awake some days and not the others?

This leads to pain and confusion.  Why are there days of complete peace and days of complete suffering?

It is a process.

It is okay to get it ‘wrong’ some days and not have all the answers.

Be thankful for the ‘regular’ parts of your ‘regular’ life.  They are the glue that is holding your sense of self together until it is safe to shed your identity completely.

“In today’s society, most of us having these realizations are not living in monasteries; we are not in a particularly supportive environment.  In fact, in our society it is possible to have an amazing realization on Saturday and be back in the office Monday morning.”

-Adyashanti

‘The End of Your World’

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