This year has been ones of ups and downs, taking its’ toll on everyone. We see classes and programs on the development of resilience as our culture goes through cycles of fear, relief, worry and conflict. Without resilience we are in constant flux. However, beyond resilience we can use these times to make deeper and more meaningful change in our lives, but turning toward the good in ourselves and, following naturally others.
Our minds and emotional states generally move from positive to negative throughout the day. We accept these patterns as the natural course of things. But can there be an antidote to our tendency to move to negative states? To us our negative reactions may seem driven by external events. “Of course, if someone insults me, I get mad.” But is this always true? Some people get sad. Some don’t care. Is our habitual reaction inevitable?
The Nyingma Buddhist tradition teaches us negative thoughts, emotions and reactions are related but not inevitable. Our own Being contains the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, positive streams of energy that sustain us, ease our relationships with others and lead use to establish a meaningful life. Really? Yes! We can start with three powerful attitudes that transform our way of being with ourselves and others:
Caring for ourselves just as we are right now
Confidence in our own good qualities
Willingness to let ourselves be different
Hint: Something you can do starting today: Notice beauty wherever you are.
In this post we explore Caring for Ourselves.
We must first care for ourselves to discover we are worthy of happiness and not deserving of self-criticism. As we turn toward ourselves with a caring and sympathetic heart, we begin to explore our good qualities, and our self-criticism and sadness ease.
After we learn true care and acceptance, we take the next step to disrupt the tendency to unhappiness, and bring balance to our mental and emotional states – to develop awareness of the underlying goodness in our human embodiment. The way to change the momentum with our mind so it supports our most positive aspirations and goals?
We turn our attention to our good qualities. We find an abundance of strength and creative energy that has been trapped by habitual patterns of negativity. We find the potential of what is a precious human life to enjoy a meaningful life for ourselves and others.
When we find self-criticism, we let it go and when we find our goodness, we encourage it. The Greek Christian mystic, Pseudo-Dionysius said “There is no such thing as evil, there is only turning away from the good.”
How do we know when we find the good in ourselves? It warms the heart and soothes the spirit. It is something we can trust to guide us in the right direction. The challenge is to not turn away in a mistaken belief that it is not true, or is not strong, or is not as important as competition or achievement. Goodness brings all we need along in its wake. When you find in yourself kindness, generosity, compassion, caring – go there!
Tarthang Tulku says in Caring “To bring true caring into the world, we must care for ourselves. We must become skilled in the in the art of bringing peace and ease to heart and mind.”
For those with great aspiration, the Mahayana Flower Ornament Scripture says those “…who are born into the (spiritual) family of Buddhas … plant the roots of goodness, which are seeds of enlightenment.”
Check our website for classes and retreats to help you develop this special kind of Caring.
With good wishes for your wellness & happiness,