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Holding mother in our heart

Let us keep all mothers in our hearts today, creating for them the most luminous holding environment of love, in which they can rest and be nourished. Through the unknown – and through the most sacred womb – they have offered the gift of life, a rare, blessed opportunity to make this human journey, to allow this precious heart to be polished into eternity. No matter what our relationship with our mother in the physical world presently, we can exchange one moment of love with her – for the bond we have with her is beyond time and beyond space.

As the Tibetans believe, each being we encounter in this world has at one time been our mother, and has shown us the most precious kindness, care, and compassion; and has been willing to give her life so that we may come into being. May all mother-beings everywhere receive an outpouring of blessings on this day, may their hearts and their bodies be bathed in love, and may they come to know directly, even for a moment, the true preciousness of this life.

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Short-cutting the unfolding of love…

I was speaking with my friend and Sounds True author Tara Brach a few weeks ago about the many ways spirituality can serve a defensive function, resulting in the avoidance of unresolved emotional wounding. During our conversation Tara used a phrase “premature forgiveness,” where she was pointing to how in the rush to do the right spiritual thing – sending love, kindness, compassion, or forgiveness to a person who has deeply hurt us – we can act prematurely, before we’re ready to do so in a deeply embodied way. We to want to replace our yucky feelings of aggression, anger, and hatred with those noble qualities of love, kindness, and understanding. We want to transform the negative into the positive. This is so natural, of course. None of us want to hold these darker energies in our hearts, in our psyches, and in our bodies.

But when we move straight to forgiveness, compassion, or kindness, without first metabolizing those feelings of hurt, shame, pain, and grief which are inside us, perhaps we shortcut the unfolding of love. When we are able to first digest the deep hurt we have felt, resisting the temptation to transcend it or even heal it, we cut into a lifetime’s organization of turning from immediate, embodied experience. We see that we can begin to make a commitment to becoming deeply intimate with all parts of ourselves that seek our attention, holding them closely as guests of our hearts, as potential messengers from beyond. We do not need to ostracize our pain, orphan it, and send it away as part of our spiritual journey, for all is welcome here. There is no timeline, but only the one that our own hearts reveal. We can discover that what we are is an open, luminous, holding environment of awareness, a capacity to allow ourselves to be touched and transformed by whatever appears. It is not always easy, rarely fun, oftentimes terrifying; but we might come to see that by meeting these energies directly, they are able to show us the way Home; that, in fact, at the core of every emotion, every sensation, and every feeling that could ever be is the substance of love itself, the nature of awakened consciousness.

sunrise_mountainsThis energy or movement of forgiveness, which is of course an important and noble one, has a way of arising naturally, on its own, when our pain, grief, and hurt is metabolized in our hearts and bodies, when we allow it to be touched by the light of our awareness. In this sense, forgiveness is not so much a “practice” that we do or even the result of an intention that we’ve made; it lives and breathes and moves outside of the conceptual world entirely. We see that it is a somatic process, one that is effortless in a sense. As our pain and grief is processed, in a deeply embodied way, according to a timeline that is unique to each human heart heart, forgiveness may naturally be there waiting for us on the other side. Forgiveness, then, may not be something that we “do,” or try to do, and is no longer seen as evidence that we are a “spiritual” person and so forth. Many people that I speak with have concluded that they have “failed” because they have not forgiven, they feel shame that they are not good spiritual practitioners, that somehow the mere presence of sensations and feelings such as anger or rage or grief indicate that they are lost, unspiritual, and unworthy of love.

Forgiveness is not something we need to take on as a project. We come to see that there are times when forgiveness is not actually the energy that is being called forth in a particular situation and may not be the most skillful or, ultimately, the most loving or the most kind. It is very important to explore this. Setting boundaries, taking space, honoring the call of the body, listening to the heart, being angry – the total mandala of our situation may be calling for a different response. This call can be acknowledged and honored, and in this way these other responses can be just as “spiritual” as forgiveness; in actuality, more so, especially if the forgiveness is “premature.” It is possible the anger that is there, the shame, the hurt, the embarrassment, the jealousy, the grief, the terror, the fear – that these feelings, sensations, and qualities are inviting us to explore them deeply, to touch them, to hold them, to allow them all the way in; to honor them. Often, in our rush to forgive them away, to be good spiritual people, we lose touch with their essence, intelligence, and the gifts they may have to offer, thereby losing touch with our own hearts.

For those of you who are interested in the areas of self-compassion, working with shame, self-acceptance, and self-love, I really recommend Tara’s work for those who may not be familiar with it. Her audio programs – Radical Self-Acceptance, Finding True Refuge, and Meditations for Emotional Healing – are important and ones I recommend often. I’m really happy to note that Tara will be joining us at this year’s Wake Up Festival!

May love be resurrected in your heart today…

May love be resurrected in your heart today, and may it wash through each and every cell of your most sacred body, dripping out through your words, your presence, the way you listen, your willingness to care and get gooey messy and sticky in love, and through the way you touch and hold another. May love make use of your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your words to speak sweetness, your body to hold and touch; and may that love that keeps the stars from falling out of the sky guide you and show you the way home.

May it be revealed to you that this love is not something that you will find one day, something that will come to you, or something that you will finally reach as part of your quest. Love is not and never was separate from what you are, but is what this precious body is made of. It is the substance of every cell of your heart, every synapse in your outrageously miraculous brain, every strand of every light particle of your miracle-DNA, and of every petal of every flower in this and all universes.

Wishing all of my sisters and brothers the most precious Easter, and may each one of you – whether gay, straight, transgendered, or utterly undefineable as we all truly are – allow love to have you, finally, once and for all, as we are told Christ did… to take this body, this entire sensory organism, and to make use of it to scatter its secret essence in the four directions.

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Love under the surface

One of the things I have been starting to notice is the “secret language of love” that can be felt under the surface of what is happening. I am noticing it with friends, with Sounds True authors, and with co-workers and with all kinds of people. I am calling it “secret” because it is not spoken about or acknowledged; I find myself noticing the feelings of love but not voicing them for fear that I will seem inappropriate or out of context or that there is no basis for me to be having the types of feelings that I am having, so better to just keep it to myself.

I can give a concrete example: Recently, I traveled with two co-workers to California to video record a lecture series. We met at the airport and spent 5 days basically glued together working on this project. One person in our group is a producer who has worked at ST for 13 years. The other is an audio-video technician who has worked at the company for 10+ years (interestingly, before this trip together, I knew both of these people had worked at ST for quite some time, but it was all a blur to me. I only found out their actual longevity at the company during this trip). And during this trip, we all found out a lot about each other, about each other’s personal lives and families and early upbringing. The curious thing to me was at the end of 5 days I felt so connected and bonded with these two men who work at Sounds True. Previously, I had been in short conversations with both of these people, in the hallways, in meetings, at Sounds True parties.  But we had never spent any real time together, let alone three meals a day for 5 days, traveling and working as a closely-knit team.

The experience made me reflect on what it must be like for people who play on sports teams together or even people in the armed forces or other groups of people who work closely with each other in intense, collaborative settings. I felt in my core how “tribal” I am by nature, how instinctively I become part of a group or pod. And most importantly, the huge amount of love that is potentially present right below the surface between me and other people if I am willing to take some time away from the “task orientation” that I usually bring to work and instead simply listen and tune to what could be called “the relational field.”

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And what I am finding is that whether it is through dreams (night dreams as well as day dreams) or spontaneous love eruptions that I feel in my being, there is so much love under the surface in so many of my interactions with other people, interactions which on the surface appear fairly tame and functionally-oriented. Underneath, there is a wild, upwelling of heart. It feels risky to say so, but how strange that what so many of us value the most – love—has become something that needs to be whispered or only voiced in socially appropriate ways. I want to sing about it from the rooftops. But since I can’t sing, I am writing this blog post instead.

Why does the love we feel under the surface for so many different kinds of people need to be kept secret and not voiced?  Because we are afraid that someone will think we are being sexually inappropriate or crossing a boundary? What if we could make our sexual boundaries so clear and reliable and trust-worthy that our voicing of the love we feel would not be misunderstood or misconstrued, but instead simply received as the heart’s outpouring of the recognition of how our souls are touching and co-creating. That is the type of wild love I wish to voice.

October New Releases and Giveaway

BOOKS TO SOOTHE YOUR SOUL

 

 

Raising Resilience by Christopher Willard, PSYD

In every spiritual tradition, we find teachings on the virtues and qualities that we most want to pass on to our kids—such as generosity, kindness, honesty, determination, and patience. Today, a growing body of research from neuroscience and social psychology supports these teachings, offering insights into cultivating these virtues in ourselves and in our families. Raising Resilience is a practical guide for parents and educators of children from preschool through adolescence, detailing ten universal principles for happy families and thriving children.

 

 

 

It’s Ok That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine

In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides—as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner—Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.

 

 

 

The Complete Peaceful Warrior’s Way by Dan Millman

For millions of readers, Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior has ignited life-changing shifts. And in the decades since he wrote this iconic book, his work continues to evolve. In this in-depth audio learning program, Dan shares the full scope of his insights and tools for those seeking practical wisdom leading to a peaceful heart and warrior’s spirit.

How to Consciously Live the Peaceful Warrior’s Way—a Spiritual Path in the Modern World.

 

 

 

 

Looking for some eye and ear inspiration?

 

WIN OUR NEW RELEASE BUNDLE: The Complete Peaceful Warrior’s Way, It’s Ok That You’re Not OKRaising Resilience

TO ENTER: Simply reply in the comments with why you’d like to win! We’ll select two winners by 10/31.

The Psychology of Loving Awareness with Jack Kornfield

The Psychology of Loving Awareness with Jack Kornfield, PhD
A Two-Day Training in Transforming Difficulty into Ease and Well-Being

Loving awareness, mindfulness, and compassion have enormous power to benefit every human life. These time-tested tools of Eastern psychology are widely supported by modern neuroscience in more than 3,000 studies and research papers from the past 25 years. With The Psychology of Loving Awareness, master teacher Jack Kornfield invites professionals and meditators alike to join him in a retreat-like setting in San Diego, California to discover the transformative practices from Buddhist psychology that are now being applied in therapy, education, medicine, business, law, athletics, the arts, and in the personal lives of millions.

This two-day training will offer the theory and practice of age-old methods for transforming difficulty into ease and well-being. Through guided practices, wisdom teachings, experiential exercises, case studies, healing stories, dialogue, and inner training, Jack Kornfield will provide an immersive demonstration of the most important principles of Buddhist psychology for awakening the heart and mind—offering skills to aid professionals and deepen the practice of meditators, including:

  • Directed healing
  • Inner witnessing
  • Compassion and forgiveness
  • Refining clarity of intention
  • Composure in stressful circumstances
  • Mindfulness towards the body, thoughts, and emotions
  • Fostering resilience, adaptability, and a gracious, wide perspective

When we see the spirit of a leader like Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, or Aung San Suu Kyi, we come to realize what is possible when we meet the world from a place of loving awareness. By cultivating our capacity for balance and attunement, we can experience joyful embodiment of inner liberation, no matter what the outer circumstances.

Join us for two days of powerful practices, heartfelt reminders, clear teachings, personal skill-building, and clinical tools—shared in a warm, retreat-like setting with a loving and open community.

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