This woman is a heroine of mine. I endeavor to practice what she preaches. Even at awards shows. (wink)
Pema Chödron clip.
Pema Chodron: The bodhisattva vow has something to do with going cold turkey, naked, without any clothes on into whatever situation presents itself to you, and seeing how you hate certain people, how people trigger you in every single way, how you want to hold on, how you want to get in bed and put the covers over your head. Seeing all of that just increases your compassion for the human situation. We're all up against not finding ourselves perfect, and still wanting to be open and be there for others. My sense of what it means to be a bodhisattva on the path, a student-warrior-bodhisattva, is that you are constantly caught with "don't know." Can't say yes, can't say no. Can't say right, can't say wrong.
...Trungpa Rinpoche used to say that the first step in the training of the warrior, which is to say, one who is cultivating their courage, is to place them in a cradle of loving-kindness. And this is really true. In the Buddhist teachings we talk about cultivation of maitri or loving-kindness toward oneself. This does seem necessary in order to have the willingness to work with all the messy and delightful parts of yourself. Real safety is your willingness to not run away from yourself. In terms of creating a safe environment, you want to create a space in which people can look at themselves and where that's going to meet with approval and it's going to be safe to do that. No one is going to laugh at them for crying or falling apart. Now that's the first stage, because, what you're really talking about is how to live in this world where people do ridicule and laugh at you. And so we don't just want to create a lot of practitioners who can only exist in a "safe" situation where there is no insult, where there's no roughness. The cradle of loving-kindness is not about getting stroked. It's more about developing a friendship with yourself in a more complete way. The real sense of safety that people need is that things aren't going to be hidden.
...Certain practices dislodge a lot of emotional material-for instance, tonglen. Tonglen is a practice where you work with your breath. You breathe in suffering and connect with it fully-yours' and other people's. It's a willingness to feel what hurts, not to shy away, not to reject it. You're willing to take on suffering and develop compassion for it and even relax with it. And when you breathe out, you give away joy, a sense of inspiration, delight. So what you're usually attached to and want to keep for yourself, you get used to sharing, giving. It's very advanced practice when you start working with other people because it shows you every place that you shut down, hold back, every single place where you close your heart. If you're a practitioner of the dharma, you want to see that and make friends with it. I think if you really want to become enlightened, somehow you've got to put yourself on the line. If you're already a student and want to wake up fully, then you're going to get the tests and challenges you need, and they're all going to come from other people. Safety becomes wanting to avoid all that.