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Lions Roar : November 2016
So that is the prompt: Look deeper. Look at all the causes and conditions. But that kind of assessment is so rarely applied in this country. Question: I’ve been thinking a lot about loving myself, but I feel like I have to like everything about myself to love myself. But I had a realization when you were talking that I could just have some compassion toward myself. I don’t necessarily have to like every part of myself. It’s a process. Sharon Salzberg: You’re right. Part of the way I think about it is the contrast between self-compassion and self-esteem. Self-esteem is nice. You don’t need to focus only on your faults. Maybe this morning you did a really stupid thing, but you also did five great things. Give those a little airtime too. practice, tradition, or religion they want to find their liberation in. As long as they’re clear that it’s about love and liberation. Question: You were talking about how compassion and love can transform society. But we’re dealing with tremendous amount of injustice, so how do you reconcile patience with that? Sharon Salzberg: I find that there’s an amazing quality of patience in a lot of visionaries. People who have a really big pic- ture of life often have a kind of unflagging patience. Maybe it’s because they’re connected to something bigger, whereas I may be more caught up in the immediate ups and downs. Equanimity doesn’t mean indifference. I think part of it is admitting how much we don’t know, because such a big part of the conditioning in this society is instant action. Then we look back and ask, “Who knew that this would actually lead to that?” Things take time, and there’s so much that’s unknown, but I don’t feel despair. Maybe I should, but I think that is significant movement happening, the beginning of many things. I feel a kind of happiness, even. It’s so hard to see the end of the story, very hard, but we get a lot of energy doing what we feel needs to be done. ♦ I just want it to work. I point to the basics and let people find their own way. As long as they’re clear that it’s about love and liberation. Self-compassion comes in when you’ve blown it, when you’ve made a mistake. When I teach meditation, I emphasize that so much! It’s not going to be 9,000 breaths before your mind wan- ders. It’s going to be one or two breaths, or maybe five, and then you’re going to be gone. You’re going to be way gone. And that’s the extraordinary moment when you can forgive yourself and start over. That is the revolutionary moment in meditation practice. It’s all about self-compassion, whether it’s called that or not. It hap- pens not when we’re applauding ourselves for something, but when we have strayed from where we want to be. How do we start over? It’s got to be with kindness. So I think you’re right. Put that in the self-esteem column! [Laughter] Question: Rev. angel, when you go back to your community, they may view Buddhism as something that’s for rich people, not for them. How do you approach it? Rev. angel Kyodo williams: I don’t talk about Buddhism to the folks anymore. With all due respect, I don’t care about Bud- dhism. I’m not nation-building around Buddhism. We nation- build a lot. We’re colonial by inheritance, and we get very fix- ated on this thing that we’re building. I just want it to work. I want people to be liberated. I just point to the basics and let people find their way to whatever lineage, LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 59