Timeless wisdom from Pema Chödrön that invites us to shine the light on habit energies arising in the form of emotions, thought patterns, and ensuing behaviors. How do we tend to our aggression, preferences, and prejudices? Do we investigate or ignore? Do we test the validity of our thoughts/stories/beliefs against the present moment circumstances? Do we remain steadfastly “entrenched” in our perspectives and standard mode of operation? If so, how does it serve us? What do we sacrifice and what do we save when we stick to our patterns? #KissYourBrain #CradleYourHeart
Our personal attempts to live humanely in this world are never wasted.
Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger just might be what it takes to save the planet from extinction.
What is it that allows our goodwill to expand and our prejudice and anger to decrease?
This is a significant question.
Traditionally it is said that the root of aggression and suffering is ignorance.
But what is it that we are ignoring?
Entrenched in the tunnel vision of our personal concerns, what we ignore is our kinship with others.
One reason we train as warrior-bodhisattvas is to recognize our interconnectedness—to grow in understanding that when we harm another, we are harming ourselves.
So we train in recognizing our uptightness.
We train in seeing that others are not so different from ourselves.
We train in opening our hearts and minds in increasingly difficult situations.
~ Pema Chodron, “Loving-Kindness” from The Places…
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I hadn’t heard of the saying the root of aggression and suffering is ignorance. It makes me think of two things. Initially, I wanted to say that the root of suffering is greed and on one levels I think that’s definitely true. And in another way, I think of something I read by Thich Nhat Hanh who said something like suffering is a state of mind. And I suppose like the lotus, we can live in a muddied world but not be taken over by it completely. This intersection between suffering from inequality but not being taken over by it is where i find my humanity. My “sister” and I talked about this last night. This is where reclamation becomes one of the most important things in my life. In a racist-sexist-heteronormative society, paradoxically obsessed with weight but promoting fake-food for economic gain, I fit into all types of “oppositional” identities because of the package I come in, the earth-suit I was born into it. Living at the crux of these identities used to give me all types of suicidal thoughts. Seriously, it’s like if I have to live so oppositionally and it’s structural – WHY LIVE? … And then I got a grip. The point is in reclaiming my humanity as a soul, human, black woman – I flip oppositional identification of my package on its head. I self-define myself for myself and seek spaces where my “oppositional identities” are the norm.
The second thing this makes me think of is that a saying I heard recently that the root of anger is hurt. And that hurt is such a vullllnnnerraabblle space, we’ll do almost anything to protect it…. and rightfully so. Our hurts are not just hurts. They are hurts attached to shame, embarrassment, confusion, abandonment, etc. Hurt is made up of all these painful substances/negative associations that we place the ‘bolt of anger’ around the coagulated substances to protect it.
So finding spaces to transform our anger into a more accessible portable to *enter into* our hurts, sit with the discomfort/confusion/sadness, assess our needs in that moment, being assertive enough in our vulnerability to vocalize our needs, figure out how to be comforted, learn how to feel worthy enough TO BE COMFORTED, and move through the healing process – it’s scary! But it’s so necessary to move forward.