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Lions Roar : March 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 46 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 By Pema Chödrön D espite what we might think much of the time and what the news programs imply, we all wish to be sane and open-hearted people. we could take our wish to be more sane and kind and put it in a very large context. we could expand it into a desire to help all other people, to help the whole world. But we need a place to start. we can’t simply begin with the whole world. we need to begin by reaching out to the people who come into our own lives—our family members, our neighbors, our coworkers. perhaps we are inspired to enter a profession where we can spend our time and en- ergy trying to help at a global or national level. But even if we express our wish to be open-hearted by working for global peace or justice or environmental well-being, even on that grand scale, we need to work on what is immediate to us all the time. we need to work on ourselves. when we do this work on ourselves, however, we can still think of it in the wider context of our community, our nation, and our world. Viewing the work we do on ourselves in this larger con- text is very important. i don’t mean to be harsh, but i have to say that a lot of people who do so- called spiritual work can be somewhat selfish. their spiritual path is all about taking care of themselves, and they may not notice that what makes them feel comfortable and secure is actu- ally at the expense of other people. we all know other people like this, don’t we? if we’re hurting enough, and we really start looking for the source of our pain and what we can do about it, it goes beyond just wanting to feel better ourselves. in Buddhism, this is called The Smile at Fear teachings, October 15-17, in Richmond, California. photos By andrea roth Smile at Fear Teachings on Bravery, Open Heart & Basic Goodness