What shuts down the heart more than anything is not letting ourselves have our own experience, but instead judging it, criticizing it, or trying to make it different from what it is. We often imagine there is something wrong with us if we feel angry, needy, dependent, lonely, confused, sad, or scared. We place conditions on ourselves and our experience: “If I feel like this, there must be something wrong with me. . . . I can only accept myself if my experience conforms to my standard of how I should be“. Psychological work, when practiced in a larger spiritual context, can help people discover that it is possible to be unconditional with themselves — to welcome their experience and hold it with understanding and compassion, whether or not they like it at any given moment.
John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening
photo Sheila Sund