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Lions Roar : July 2013
us, simply through her mere presence. To send positivity takes some stability. Otherwise we are more vulnerable to receiving whatever may be emanating from those around us. As we become more familiar with our own modes, we also naturally develop a greater awareness of modes in other people. Seeing modes more clearly in someone else gives us an oppor- tunity to do for that person what we are learning to do to help ourselves. Say that your friend is under the spell of the anxious mode, hooked into being upset and overreacting. You can help him sim- ply with your mindful presence, offering him the safe container of the secure mode by paying full attention with heartfelt empa- thy. It’s not advisable to tell him “You’re in an anxious mode” and try to talk him out of it; while he’s caught in the mode, little will get through. That kind of response to someone’s fretting reflects cognitive empathy alone, devoid of emotional attunement. Instead, you can yield to a sense of calm spaciousness. Just as you would let go of your own mental hooks, you can do so now by not becoming reactive in response to him but intentionally just letting things be. A kind and caring warmth can help him feel the safe haven you are offering, if only at the subliminal level of neural resonance. No matter what you say or do for him as the encounter con- tinues, the atmosphere of that healthy mode will have an effect. This invites him to find that same mode within himself. Con- necting and sustaining an inner secure mode, so that it becomes a dependable reference point, helps relationships of all kinds, including that with our own minds. A friend said, “Yesterday, as I stood glumly in the checkout line at the market, miserable from a cold, the cashier looked at me and asked with all sincerity, interest, and kindness, ‘How are you doing today?’ It completely changed my day, which in turn changed how I related to my family when I got home.” The people I’ve been fortunate to meet who have come to my workshops over the years have been an inspiration to me—in their honesty, sincerity, and wholehearted openness. They start as strangers, but surprisingly soon a sincere trust reveals itself and we start to feel like a bonded community. This connection has happened over and over with people who are sharing stories of their losses and lives, learning from each other, sharing the pain of another’s heart and the inspiration from each other’s epiphanies. It’s become so clear how we are from the same human family, sharing the same essence. And when people are willing to be themselves, engage in honest introspection, and share their human vulnerabilities as well as their triumphs in facing adversity, we create a comfort- ing secure mode through our common humanity. Everywhere everyone gravitates to a shared secure base. ♦ From Mind Whispering: A New Map to Freedom from Self-Defeat- ing Emotional Habits. Copyright © 2013 by Tara Bennett-Goleman. Reprinted with permission from HarperOne, a division of HarperCol- lins Publishers. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 74