Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Teachers

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.

10 comments:

Mother of Invention said...

This makes a lot of sense to me, even though I don't practice it. You sound like a fabulous, understanding teacher.

steve said...

I always tell my friend Barbara @ Looking to Live that she should become a bodhisattva because I am always impressed at how proactive she is on her Spiritual Journey. I will direct her to here!

peteski said...

pinky, I'll believe you if you cut your hair like that.


ps. and start wearing the frump.

steve said...

"Real safety is your willingness to not run away from yourself."

WOW...

kissyface said...

but peteski, if i did THAT i wouldn't be ME. and that would be "running away from myself." believe it or not, i've thought about being a nun, but it always followed some huge emotional disappointment in my life where i wanted to hide away from the clamor of the world. i could be quite content, i believe, living a life of service and quiet contemplation, but i don't think it would serve me or be authentically me. i huddled up on myself for a very long time, this life is better for me, and probably for those around me as well.

you don't have to be an ascetic to live an authentically spiritual life. really, conscious or not, i believe every life is a spiritual pathe. consciousness and conscientiousness maybe just accelerates growth, is all.

anyway, pema went through that transformation after she married, raised a family, and all that. i'm not quite ready to let go of my fertility yet. oddly, some spiritual traditions teach that one cannot be in a spiritual discipline if progeny are involved. i think that's possibly the biggest load of crap to date. but that's just my perspective.

Mother of Invention - just in case there's any confusion, those are Pema Chodron's words, not mine. but if you mean that based on the fact i try to live that way, i thank you for your compliment and demur to say i only can hope and try...

peteski said...

look for Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 12 midnight - 5:30am

here - Something's Happening with Roy of Hollywood Part B

kissyface said...

Thank you, Peteski - I think have that lecture on a three cd set - I believe it's from the "Pure Meditation" disc (the other two focus on maitri and tonglen practice), she talks about the Three Lords of Materialism - form (things), speech, and mind. These are the things we cling to for comfort when we are in a state of fear. It's just great. Thanks for making me listen to it again, which was clearly on my mind, anyway.

kissyface said...

Except I'm wrong, the lecture you linked here is the Maitri disc - From Fear to Fearlessness. Even better.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder
xo

GrizzBabe said...

I like this. I am guilty of trying to run away from myself,not willing to look at the ugly bits. I need to learn to love myself with my imperfections.