Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Wisdom of No Escape

It seems that all meditation techniques have the same basis which is to learn to be honest and warm-hearted towards ourselves in order to truly know ourselves in mind, body, emotions, and spirit. And no one can know these truths but ourselves. Pema Chodron calls this nontheistic. Nothing to do with belief in God, but rather that only only I can know myself, only you can know yourself. No one but you can discern what to accept and what to reject.

So there is a requirement of each of us to take this pursuit on relentlessly whether in meditation or real life. We pay attention to our breath, what is in our head, come back to the present moment, notice we are thinking or judging by naming the action, back to the breath, or the noticing of thoughts, back to the present moment, and so on. And in this process continue to be as warm and gentle and honest, eventually learning who we truly are and what it means "to let go of holding on and holding back" (Pema Chodron). Thus, ultimately, strong feelings or reactions to events don't clutch and hold us, rather we exist, experience, and move on.

Monday, November 17, 2008


"The Charter for Compassion is a collaborative effort to build a peaceful and harmonious global community. Bringing together the voices of people from all religions, the Charter seeks to remind the world that while all faiths are not the same, they all share the core principle of compassion and the Golden Rule."

If we want to write such a thing let's define compassion:
"Compassion is an understanding of the emotional state of another or oneself. Not to be confused with empathy, compassion is often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another or to show special kindness to those who suffer." Compassion is really about showing up. It is the ability to hold space for ourselves and others as we live what it is to be human.

In considering a Charter for Compassion, a global map as it were for guiding us to be compassionate, I feel we must all strive to exist in this state of being present, and constant vigilance of our motivations for doing, caring, believing. Compassionate behavior can slip into rescuing or condescension, or be driven by guilt, shame, or fear. That would be ultimately counter productive. So in order to breed true compassion we must begin to work our way out from under many cultural constraints which have been imposed over centuries to control human behavior. Step number one: learn to show up in the present moment for each moment. It might only be for a few seconds at first almost like surfacing for air while swimming. But with practice soon we might begin to float with ease.

Interior Wanderings

Beginning a reading of Pema Chodron's The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness.
What is the path of loving kindness? It is loving kindness toward ourselves which eventually extends to others as we understand that evolving of spirit does not mean we are less than now and we need to become other/better. It means we delve in with curiosity and playfulness to discover who we really are inside...to become fully awake in all we do. We move with intention knowing that all is enough right now. Not that I won't change or evolve from this place, but that place is qualitatively neither better nor worse, just different based on my experiences and how I am changed each day by them.

As humans we tend towards judgment. That is not a bad thing, but it is important to find the place from which we can stand as third party and notice that we are judging and see what that is really all about-who is doing the judging? How does it serve my highest good? And what is underneath that judgment?

So what I'm ruminating on is a series of questions: "How do I know myself? How much of what I know of myself is based on what I imagine others think of me? How much do I project that someday I will be all that I can be rather than seeing I am all that now."