Facing our own compulsive drives and finding the will force to gently let them go, we come to understand the unconscious compulsions that are at work in creating the anxiety-driven, stress-amplifying, vital-force-depleting social condition we see so prevalent the world over.
When we release the contracted sense of self, we will automatically have compassion flowing. It will be there without effort, that is the beauty and that is what we can trust. But we must first give it to ourselves. If we are doing this, the contracted sense of self can relax and expand. Giving love and compassion to oneself is a first and foremost requirement on our path.
Sit, lie or stand just like that, for a moment. Two or three breaths. Now imagine, and it doesn’t matter if this is a clear image or just a thought, that Mary is present right here, with a big heart that just loves you unconditionally and deeply wants all the best for you.
Just as we experience the fear, love, and humor of the characters in a movie, so do we experience the enlightened mind of the entities that we visualize. When we visualize an enlightened entity, we are able to recognize its enlightened mind because it is our own – it is inherent within us and it is the basis of our consciousness – so when we call upon it, we find it to be there.
Psychologist Vagn Palle Rasch aligns mindfulness and acceptance as preludes for personal change.
“We have to recognize what is present right now, but often it’s difficult to accept, because there may be unhappiness and dissatisfaction related to it.”
The radical notion of allowing ourselves to be nourished by the hunger of desire is a turning towards the desire, rather than our automatic turning away from desire. We turn away from our desire by chasing the object of our desire.
Touch is such an important element in healing and also in our daily life. But how do we touch? One of the most important elements to touch in the right way is our mind, because if our mind is not in the right space, touch can become very different, even hurtful. Let’s look first at touching ourselves because if we do not know how to touch ourselves, then how can we touch others in the right way?
Where there is suffering, either in ourselves or in our world, it is because there has been a lack of attention, love, and understanding. Now, each breath, each look, each thought we direct towards ourselves can be brimming with love, Each step, and every attentive moment can be like a gentle caress.
To sever attachment to home, family, and friends, chödpas moved from valley to valley, village to village, sacred place to sacred place, charnel ground to charnel ground, staying only for brief periods in small tents and under trees before moving on. They would camp in groups, but only as close as the sound of a kangling could reach.
Trust is one of the basic qualities or life skills we need to learn and embody if we want to shift from living a life based on defense mechanisms and survival strategies to an open and authentic way of being and relating. We need trust to open up and surrender to a broader life perspective, to say Yes to moment-to-moment fresh experiencing of life as it is.