Friday, April 19, 2019

Self-compassion, Wisdom & Leaning In

     One of my recurrent themes is the importance of shifting from avoiding (in all sorts of ways) our difficulties, and instead leaning into them with kind curiosity - with an open mind-heart, thus unraveling the energetic knots & shedding our armor of conditioning. This is a profound act of self-compassion, allowing us to mature, become whole, flourish, 'be all that we can be.'
     Here's Amoda Maa's insightful perspective on this theme: 
     “The feminine that I’m speaking of is not about anything in opposition to anything. It’s not got to do with the battle of the sexes, or the return of a feminist approach, etc. I’m talking about the infusion of love into humanity. And the infusion of love is what’s been missing. 
     And what I mean by that, if we go a bit deeper, is the capacity to turn towards gentleness; the capacity to turn towards the tenderness of the inner heart, which is not what’s been happening. Whether we’re on the patriarchal or matriarchal side, in some ways we’re still operating at the level of some kind of hardness. So I’m talking about the capacity to turn towards tenderness in response to our experience, and therefore in response to each other, and therefore in response to the world, which requires a shift from mind to heart, through surrender, not through knowing. 
     And so we can apply that to ‘spiritual practice’ or we can apply that to the totality of our life’s experience. And I get the sense that this frequency is beginning to filter in. I call it ‘feminine’ because it’s about surrender, but it’s filtering in through everyone, whether we’re male or female, whether we’re long time on this planet or just born, there’s a different frequency that’s coming through. I don’t speak about the feminine much actually. 
     By tenderness, I’m not talking about passivity, woo woo, or anything like that, it’s not got anything to do with the goddess archetype, it’s got nothing to do with archetypes, stereotypes, roles or concepts. The tenderness I speak of, if it’s going to serve any purpose, is a tenderness towards our inner experience. If we examine that, we probably can see how we are not tender towards our inner experience. Which means that when we have an experience we don’t like, that makes us feel uncomfortable, that makes us feel vulnerable, that makes us feel scared, that makes us feel unloved, that makes us feel alone, or anything like that, then we attempt to reject it, suppress it, deny it, constrict it, change it, maneuver it, squeeze it, spit it out, and so on and so forth. And that is not tenderness. That’s aggression. That’s violence. We are violent towards our own experience. 
     If you can stop that violence, and choose tenderness towards your experience, then you can forget about spirituality, you can forget about spiritual practice, you can forget about spiritual teachings, and you will live fully awake and fully human. Because that’s what it is – nonviolence towards our inner experience. Because when we’re violent towards our inner experience, what follows that is then ‘I’m wrong,’ or ‘they’re wrong,’ or ‘it’s wrong,’ and then you have become a victim of reality, and as long as you’re a victim of reality, you are separate, and when you’re separate you’re living in the dream of separation, and all horrors, all suffering personal & otherwise, arise from that. 
     So this point about tenderness is key, and way more powerful than the world tenderness implies. (People who commit terrorist attacks) are at war with their own fear. Everything violent arises out of fear. And that fear may have a thread, a root in a sense of injustice, in a sense of being abused, a sense of not being complete, whole, and safe and one and all of that. So it has a certain intelligence in it, but when we’re violent towards that fear, then it ends up as a violence towards that which appears to be causing that fear, and so then we have the terror, and the war, and the violence in the world. 
     But if we can turn that tenderness towards ourselves – those of us who have the capacity to do that, a vast majority of the privileged Western world, not all, but certainly a proportion – we do have the capacity to turn that tenderness towards ourselves, towards our inner experience. And that’s very often overlooked. And if we take that as the only spiritual practice there is, I would say that there would be a vast transformation.
     One of the things we’re so frightened of is the experience of loss, whether that loss is the loss of a loved one, or the loss of our own life, or the loss of whatever it is we’ve gained – success, or wealth, or love, or recognition – and yet, our willingness to be tender towards that loss is a very profound opening to what can never be lost, which is beingness itself. It’s like meeting death in everything. Being tender towards loss is again not investing that loss with meaning. It doesn’t mean that you’re bad. It doesn’t mean that you’re unloved. It doesn’t mean that your life is broken. And it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. We tend to invest loss with a meaning to do with ‘me.’ It’s all about ‘me.’ But to be tender towards that is to feel the absolute shattering of loss, and yet, for we don’t invest ourselves in that, or meaning in that, we discover there is nothing that can be lost.”

Amoda Maa - 2nd Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

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