The sense of unworthiness, it seems, comes out of our being talked out of, trained out of, conditioned out of trusting our natural being. It is the result of being turned away from ourselves, taught to distrust ourselves. We are worthy of letting go of our unworthiness. If we did nothing but practice letting go of unworthiness, much of the stuff we’re working so hard to clear away would have no support system. We would have more room to grow. Consciously we surrender unworthiness as it arises, not entertaining it with the ego’s list of credits. the work which will awaken us is that of becoming keenly aware of unworthiness without judging it.
Stephen Levine, A Gradual Awakening
When I was young, I admired clever people.
Now that I am old, I admire kind people
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Easter Saturday.. a day of waiting
When I stop running from what frightens me, and instead try to feel and understand it, I learn to deal with the world with greater kindness.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Kindness
photo AMISOM Public Information
A story about Zen master Suzuki Roshi. Once his students had been sitting and they were 3 or 4 hours into a very hard sitting period. The person who told the story said that every bone in his body was hurting. Not only that, his thoughts were totally obsessed with either, “I can’t do this, I’m worthless. There’s something wrong with me.” or “This whole thing is ridiculous. Why did I ever come here? These people are crazy. This place is like boot camp.” Probably everyone else in the room was going through something similar.
Suzuki Roshi came in to give the lecture and sat down. He started to talk very, very slowly and said, “The difficulty that you are experiencing now…” (And that man was thinking….“will go away”)… and Suzuki said, “will be with you for the rest of your life.”
That’s a sort of Buddhist humor, but it is also the essence of maitri (friendliness towards ourselves). It seems to me that we come to a body of teachings or any spiritual path, or to meditation, in some way like little children looking for comfort, looking for understanding, looking for attention, looking somehow to be confirmed. And the truth is actually that the meditation practice isn’t about that. Practice is about that part of our being finally being able to open completely to the whole range of our experience, including all that wanting, including all that hurt, including the pain and the joy. Opening to the whole thing so that this little child-like part of us can finally, finally, finally, finally grow up.
But this issue of growing up, it’s not all that easy because it requires a lot of courage… to relate directly with your experience. By this I mean whatever is occurring in you, you use it. You seize the moment. Moment after moment? You seize those moments and instead of letting life shut you down and make you more afraid, you use those very same moments of time to soften and to open and to become more kind.
photo infrogmation of New Orleans
Contentment seems more about switching off, at source, some of the driven aspects of our personalities,
rather than achieving that “more” which we think will fulfil them.
It is related to a quality of not-always-leaning towards something else:
A person is satisfied not by the quantity of food,
but by the absence of greed.
photo timothy krause
Become totally empty. Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of things coming and going,
observe how endings become beginnings.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
To see beginnings and endings is a great support in difficult times. Early on, as I began to trust in the fiber of my being that nothing lasts, I became less afraid of pain. The fact that everything has an end comforted me. “One way or another,” I would say to myself, “this too will pass.” I was glad I saw that…the end of the day is the beginning of the night, and that a dead rose becomes compost for new growth….When I recognize the pain I feel as the legitimate result of loss, I am respectful of its presence and kind to myself. My mind always relaxes when it is kind, and around the edges of the truth of whatever has ended, I see displays of what might be beginning.
photo dominicus johannes bergsma