I was listening to a podcast by Tara Brach. She said, “The most essential expression of spiritual realization is love”. I reflected on this and realized we can’t underestimate the power of feeling loved. It’s vital to our existence. When we don’t feel loved, we can easily feel separate from our selves, our lives and our relationships. Tara describes how for many of us it feels lonely and painful. “The perception of separation gives us the longing for connection”. Experiencing this can make it difficult develop trust. We can end up feeling inadequate and unworthy of being loved or even capable of loving.
When we allow ourselves to open to warmth, and love, even for just a moment, it can change how we feel, and melt away some of what numbs us inside. Numbness starts to dissolve our experience of being separate, and we may feel a tenderness that helps us to be more present and alive. Caring for another or caring for ourselves, allows the numbness or coolness to melt. In this place, we find connection. Tara shared the following Buddhist quote “Experience your heart as open space forever shining”. Our conditioning obscures this light constantly within us. When we are drawn to something greater we can be more present and discover that we’re more then our identity.
When we start to notice the habits that make us feel separate by embodying what doesn’t feel good, and recognizing what helps our energy to feel more connected, we start to change, and move in a healing direction. Observe the habits that keep us feeling separate and allow yourself to see the ways you cultivate connection.
What are some of the ways we create separation and distance in our lives? Is it through obsessive thinking, or distraction? We might feel restless, fatigued, or anxious. Do we compare ourselves to others? What do we get attracted to or try to avoid? We try to change others so we can feel better about ourselves. We judge ourselves, and others when we’re feeling threatened, and underneath these reactions, we feel vulnerable. As Tara said “We keep ourselves separate because we don’t think there’s not enough time to be intimate”. We are busy wondering what we need to do next, instead of being present with the moment. How do we move from this habitual state? We pause, take a breath, allow ourselves to feel our vulnerability, and sit with ourselves in this space, without judgment and telling ourselves we’re wrong. As we sit with the ache and pain, we feel a stirring of warmth and tenderness and this is compassion. To be able to sit with the pain, of how we’re feeling, and be gentle with ourselves and not make ourselves wrong, or bad. To recognize that the suffering that’s arising opens’ the heart and awakens compassion. In this place healing happens, and we find peace.
For those of you interested in hearing Tara Brach's podcast, here's the link, https://www.tarabrach.com/widening-the-circles-of-compassion. Enjoy.