using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2015
All along the way, the meditative path is one of greater open- ing and acceptance. We are learning to accept and befriend not just the parts we like, but the parts of ourselves we dislike as well. Sometimes we identify with only our acceptable side, with our successes, and at other times we identify with our flaws and failures. We buy into our thoughts of the moment. But as our meditation practice progresses, we start to touch in more with the mind that sees both sides. We begin to identify with the see- ing itself, the observer of our stream of thoughts and opinions. Rather than latching onto one part of us as an identity to cling to, we find we do not need to fixate on either extreme. We learn not to fixate on being one way or another. We are all those things, and our experience is constantly in flux. Of course, there will always be aspects of ourselves we like and those we dislike, aspects we are proud of and other aspects we are ashamed of. But the more clearly we come to know all these aspects, the more we are able to relax a bit. Instead of seeing so much of who we are as a threat to who we think we should be, we begin to see all of it simply as what we have to work with. It is as if we are coming out of battle mode and declaring a truce, or signing a peace treaty. We don’t have to fight with ourselves anymore. As we continue with meditation practice and become more familiar with our extremes of thought and feeling, we begin to appreciate the whole spectrum. In fact, we may discover that our failures and flaws are more powerful teachers than our successes. The benefit of sitting practice is that the more we stay with our experience, without overthinking it or trying to fix any- thing, the clearer we become about our strengths and weak- nesses, our accomplishments and failures, our obstacles and our breakthroughs. Both aspects are challenging. As we begin to sense the extent of our potential as human beings, and how far we could go with our practice and our life, it is almost over- whelming. At the same time, we begin to feel in our guts the terrible burden we carry because of our fixed views and habits. As we get more familiar with our patterns, we see that we can’t just sweep them all under the rug. The process works like this: we begin to accept the way things are, and as soon as we do that, we take one step further, from mere acceptance to profound appreciation. The more aspects of ourselves we know and accept, the freer we feel. The more that is out in the open, the less threatened we feel. The less we have to hide, the more relaxed and loving we become. Coming to appreciate ourselves in this way doesn’t mean we become complacent or lackadaisical. Accepting our extremes doesn’t mean that we can’t make decisions about what is ben- eficial and what is harmful. In fact, we become less fuzzy about what uplifts us and what drags us down. But we don’t take it all that personally. It is just information. It can help us decide what to avoid and what to cultivate on the path and in our life alto- gether. Now, when we act, we do so from a realistic perspective and from a feeling of warmth and friendship. Meditation practice is almost like a courtship with ourselves. Through sitting practice, we learn to relax and become less defensive. Every so often, we forget to maintain our facade for a moment, and to our surprise our world does not fall apart. Instead, we make discoveries and experience breakthroughs. It is hard to cut through our fantasies and take a realistic look at ourselves, but it is also a big relief. There is something very enjoyable about the whole process. We find that the more aspects of ourselves we welcome and invite in, the lighter we feel. The burden of self-protection is a heavy one, and it feels good to let it go. We are more likeable without it. Fruition: Friendship with Yourself, Love for Other Beings There is no particular end point to the process of making friends with yourself. But there is spillover: each time you accept and open your heart to your- self in all your flawed glory, you become a bit more open to those around you. As you develop a base of friendship with yourself, the quality of your medita- tion practice, as well as of your daily life, changes for the better. Your mindfulness practice begins to be warmed by tenderness. It is as though a deeper quality of love is out there, just waiting for an opening, and as soon as you extend even a tiny invitation, it comes streaming in. In meditation practice, you are simultaneously taming the mind and opening the heart. It is so simple and natural: from interest comes knowing, from knowing comes acceptance, and from acceptance comes love. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2015 51