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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 91 loses its steam, and we’re left with some- thing that is much more workable—the ac- tual energy of fear and loss. We can then say yes to them, which means we are willing to feel them rather than run away from them. It may seem counterintuitive, yet when fear of loss arises, if we breathe the sensa- tions of anxiety right into the center of our chests, we may find that our usual dread is replaced with a genuine curiosity. As the fa- miliar thoughts that normally fuel our fear begin to fall away, we can experience the healing power of the heart. This is a non- conceptual experience—it does not come from words or explanations, but rather from the spaciousness of a wider container of awareness. As the fear of living as a sep- arate being dissolves, we naturally tap into the connectedness and loving-kindness that are always available to us, and that are the real fruit of the practice life. The result of all this for me is that I’m even more appreciative of Elizabeth, and more able to be present with her. It’s not that I wasn’t appreciative of her before, but being caught in my attachments prevented me from being fully present with her. This is not to say that I’m now totally free of at- tachment to her, but my attachment is much more lightly held. Practice can transform our need for a particular thing into a less emotion-based preference for that thing. Having preferences isn’t a problem, nor is enjoying them. The problem is when we’re so enslaved by our attachments that they run our lives. As the demand loses its hold, we can simply enjoy it as a preference. Of course, no one wants to reside in the sinking groundlessness that is triggered when we fall through one of the cracks in the thin ice. Nonetheless, it’s only when we’re able to reside in the physical expe- rience of no ground—no longer clinging to our fantasies of how life is supposed to be—that the power of our attachments begins to diminish. This is the path of practice. When we see through our attach- ments, that is, when we fully experience them, the result is freedom. When we see without the filters of our judgments and desires, the result is appreciation and the quiet joy of being. When we see through our fears, the result is love. ♦ Available wherever books are sold and at www.majestyofyourloving.com Green Mountain Books, paperback $1 6.95 “A heart-felt, wise, honest, and tender book.” JACK KORNFIELD “An eloquent account which transcends pain and loss and becomes an inspiration.” PETER MATTHIESSEN (MURYO ROSHI) “A book of great inspiration, courage, and hope.” ROSHI JOAN HALIFAX OLIVIA AMES HOBLITZELLE FOREWORD BY JON KABAT-ZINN