How is all in your world? Quarantine is done and over the rising sun were birds that soared my name. Freedom to walk the beach has never been so sweet.
I do enjoy solitude and am always grateful for the opportunity to practice and be introspective. In a guided meditation with Venerable Jamyang as part of the Becoming You Own Therapist workshop, there was posed a wonderful question. Perhaps because it was so simple, it stumped me a bit. It was during a tonglen meditation, which is about inhaling the grey matter of suffering and releasing light. This is one of my favourite meditations. It is easy to dissolve into a place of giving and leaves a light taste of selflessness. Most tonglen I’ve done was for other people and she started us with seeing before us our own suffering.
She guided us to really ground into the body then work up this sense of light moving through us. One of the first things she asked once we took in our suffering was, “How do you listen to yourself? Are you kind, loving, patient and welcoming to what evolves or are you poised to judge yourself with a critical perspective of what you should know, do, or how you believe things should be?” I was surprised when I couldn't feel a sense of yes. After practicing kindness and patience with others, when it was imaging myself at the door with my suffering, I had to look again. My first reaction was that with all the mindfulness work I've done, I should know better than to fall into the trap of these disturbing emotions. My first instinct was a stubborn denial that my own struggles deserved to be embraced. Then I saw this in action and it melted me to laugh and let go. What developed from there was really beautiful. I surrendered my judgement and gave myself the best bath of gratitude, then the tonglen practice that followed for others afterwards was more fulfilling than ever and it came from a replenished well.
How do you listen to yourself? Is it with an interested ear, a patient mind and open heart, a full breath, a smile or the same kindness you offer others? I have been paying extra attention to the tonality of my inner voice since this meditation. When I sense fear or judgment try to dominate, I smile, taking a deep breath and let it go.
From my heart to yours, may you always feel free