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Lions Roar : March 2016
of faith in our potential limits our sense of possibility to habitual concepts. It keeps us from sensing who we might yet become.” No matter what stories we believe about ourselves, Salzberg writes, beneath them lies our own buddhanature: “Love and awareness we can place our hearts upon is present regardless of our particular conditioning or background or trauma or fears. It is not destroyed, no matter what we have gone through or what we will go through. Although some people are com- pletely out of touch with that capacity— they can’t find it, or don’t trust it—it is always there.” Salzberg notes the value of a spirit- ual friend, a kalyanamitta, to point out blind spots or to regulate emotions that overwhelm us. “People don’t tend to practice meditation these days in the old-fashioned way, with a teacher who really knows you, who can balance you and say, ‘Maybe you’re trying too hard and you’re way too judgmental’ or ‘Maybe you’re really withdrawn and you’re not engaged.’ ” “It’s not easy to face pain,” she acknowledges. “We utilize all kinds of things, including dharma, in the service of not facing pain. It’s a fantastic thing if you have a therapist, or a teacher, or a person you know who’s going to help you not avoid it.” And Salzberg reminds us to have a sense of humour about it all: “Instead of being freaked out and shamed and horri- fied at things that come up in our minds, it helps to see that they are kind of funny. I think it evokes right relationship in many ways, because there’s a sense of spaciousness.” “We can emerge from whatever suffering we encounter, not broken and embittered, but with an ever-replen- ishing wellspring of unwavering faith,” Salzberg writes. If anyone knows the truth of these words, it’s Sharon Salz- berg, for facing her own deep suffering that has been the key to her life of con- nection, community, and self-compas- sion—and to teachings that have helped many people face and learn from their own suffering as well. ♦ Shoyeido Incense company www.shoyeido.com Pure incense Ceramic burners Ceremonial goods 1-800-786-5476 Boulder, Colo. Louisville, KY May 17-21, 2016 A five-day celebration with dialogue, music, poetry, film and the arts that explores how sacred wisdom addresses violence. FESTIVAL of FAITHS SACRED WISDOM PATHWAYS to NON-VIOLENCE 2016 SPEAKERS INCLUDE: KAREN ARMSTRONG, ANAM THUBTEN, ARUN GANDHI, ALLAN BOESAK, PICO IYER, VANDANA SHIVA AND MORE. WWW.FESTIVALOFFAITHS.ORG WEEK PASSES AVAILABLE NOW The 21st Annual “The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence – it is unshakeable.” – THOMAS MERTON LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2016 73