Throughout this new season, our study and practice will be devoted to learning to hold space for ourselves and others in order to build trust, safety, skillful understanding and compassion in our spiritual community and in all relationships.
Nov 22nd | 11 AM – 12:30 PM at Heartdance Studio.
Self-Compassion provides the fuel for sustaining our own well-being so that we can be solid, whole, and free when called to serve others. At our practice earlier this month, we looked deeply into the factors of self-compassion and set the intention to gift ourselves with daily doses of kindness in creative and sustainable ways.
What does self-compassion look like in real time? How do we conjure this energy beyond the meditation cushion and the sacred circle of sangha where the conditions for shamatha–stopping, abiding in silence and stillness–seem more attainable and the arising sense of gratitude, calm, and well-being feel more palpable?
It begins with a commitment to develop an intimate relationship with ourselves. To practice taking ourselves as the object of love! If only for 15 minutes, block out time for self-tending throughout each day.
- Create a personal peace treaty.* Write a note of vows, activities, mantras, or affirmative statements that remind you to be gentle and generous with yourself.
- Spend time in solitude enjoying activities that feel nourishing and restore or boost yourself sense of peace and well-being.
- Whenever you hit a rough patch and feel overwhelmed, frustrated or sad, give yourself the freedom to acknowledge those thoughts and feelings. Shine the light on them. Breathe into them, creating space for them to disperse and dissipate. Release judgment. Do not succumb to the temptation of panic or despair, as dharma teacher Jack Lawlor recently encouraged at our annual Day of Mindfulness)! Take refuge in the wisdom of the breath–the flowing change and steadiness in tempo with life itself–to hold you moment to moment. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to attain, no one to be. No struggling, striving, fixing. Simply abiding where you are. See what changes when you take care of your suffering with tenderness.
- Relax in the company of good spiritual friends who model healthy self-tending practices and can offer wise counsel and support.
As we practice looking and listening deeply to examine our aspirations, fears, gifts, wounds, misperceptions, and values, we create the conditions for developing clear and skillful understanding. Buddhist practice celebrates curiosity and openness by inviting us to repeatedly and gently ask: “What is this?” and “Are you sure?” By studying ourselves in this way, we can penetrate the causes of our suffering and identify our suchness–all the wondrous, mysterious, and quirky elements that make up our nature.
From this diligent effort grows respect, which holds at its very root the wise instruction to look back at! So we give ourselves the time and space to see ourselves completely: our history, our habits, our humanness. We keep turning back, again and again, to look inward at how we relate to ourselves and engage the world around us. We discern the skillful means to make compassionate actions and transform unskillful thoughts we hold about ourselves and unskillful behaviors that reinforce our suffering.
Notes + Related Readings:
- In Creating True Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests this exercise for couples in moments of conflict and lists skillful actions for both “one who is angry” and “the one who has made the other angry” such “refrain from saying or doing anything that might cause further damage or escalate the anger” and “respect the other person’s feelings, not ridicule him or her, and allow him or her enough time to calm down.”
- Awakening The Voice of Self-Love [3 Jewels Yoga].
- Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh.
ON THE HORIZON:
Dec 6th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.
Dec 9th | 7 – 9 PM ~ Leading Dharma Talk on Healing the Past at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community – Van Hanh Temple, 3015 S. Washington Ave.
Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.
Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: TBD. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.