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Lions Roar : November 2014
care. once he understood this, he began to correct his belief by meditating on the fact that he was blameless in this regard, and by sending himself the love and acceptance that he longed for. as Jeff ’s case demonstrates, the cause of many relational habits is a belief that we are flawed, undeserving, or guilty of wrongdoing. therefore, the practice of affirming to ourselves our inherent dignity, self-worth, and lovability is in and of itself transformational. it helps us to connect with what the Buddha meant when he taught, “all sentient beings are worthy.” you can do this with statements like: “i am lovable” and “i love and respect myself,” and by experiencing this warmth and acceptance as a felt experience in your body. this practice may appear simple and straightforward, but that does not mean it is easy. as the late Zen master Kobun Chino Roshi observed, “Self- acceptance is the hardest thing to do.” even so, with practice we can begin to extend kindness, tolerance, and loving care to our uncomfortable internal experiences. this creates an internal environment that supports change and does not punish us when it appears fleeting or distant. Khenpo tsültrim Gyamtso sang a wonderful verse in this regard: Making mistake after mistake, I walk on the authentic path, Forgetting and forgetting, I rely on unforgetting mindfulness, Experiencing confusion after confusion, I search for the uncon- fused true nature. So try not to get down on yourself for your hard-to-change habitual patterns, or get upset that you are not “doing better.” When you hold yourself in warmth and gentleness, you go a long way toward helping your relational habits transform. understand Where your patterns came From anna suffered at the office because her work-team partner always commandeered the plum assignments and took all the credit for work they did together, leaving anna to toil in bore- dom and anonymity. anna wanted to tell her colleague how she really felt, but was afraid to do so, and when she actually tried it, she would get physically dizzy. She tried to “stay with the fear” in medita- tion, but her anxiety continued to overwhelm her. eventually she understood that her problem stemmed from her parents and brothers instilling in her the belief that women were not capable of professional competency or success, which she summarized as: “i can’t do it.” understanding her pattern, her meditation became more productive and helped her to feel grounded and strong. in time, she began to have more honest conversations with her colleague. David was young and handsome, and it was easy for him to get dates with women he found attractive. However, he was ➢ page 68 SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 55