Thursday, March 24, 2011

A pretty good point, actually

Brad Warner saying he'd never be on the cover of the Shambhala Sun led me to ask myself, "well, who would be on the cover of the Shambhala Sun?" which led me to Pema Chodron's piece on unconditional friendship to one's self. Of its sentiments I largely concur.

What Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught about the underlying, fundamental uncertainty—which scientific tests now prove is more frightening to us than physical pain—is that the very basis of the fear itself is doubting ourselves, not trusting ourselves. You could also say it is not loving ourselves, not respecting ourselves. In a nutshell, you feel bad about who you are.
So the very first step, and perhaps the hardest, is developing an unconditional friendship with oneself.

Developing unconditional friendship means taking the very scary step of getting to know yourself. It means being willing to look at yourself clearly and to stay with yourself when you want to shut down. It means keeping your heart open when you feel that what you see in yourself is just too embarrassing, too painful, too unpleasant, too hateful.

The hallmark of this training in spiritual warriorship, in the bodhisattva path, is cultivating bravery. With such bravery you could go anywhere on the Earth and be of help to other people because you wouldn’t shut down on them. You would be right there with them for whatever they were going through. But the first step along this path is looking at yourself with a feeling of gentleness and kindness, and it takes a lot of guts to do this. If you’ve tried it, you know how difficult it can be to stay present when you begin to fear what you see.

If you do stay present with what you see when you look at yourself again and again, you begin to develop a deeper friendship with yourself. It’s a complete friendship, because you are not leaving out the parts that are painful to be with. It’s the same way you would develop a complete friendship with another person. You include all that they are. When you develop this complete friendship with yourself, the parts you’re embarrassed about—as well as the parts you’re proud of—manifest as genuineness. A genuine person is a person who is not hiding anything, who is not conning themselves. A genuine person doesn’t put up masks and shields.

I'd still say "largely" but not completely.  A genuine person is still a person with masks and shields and defenses and fear and uncertainty who is still hiding something.  Unconditional friendship with one's self starts from the moment one sets out on the path to see what one does not want to see in one's self.

If one is making progress in that area, one can proceed on to being with others unconditionally.


Samaya said...


Sabio Lantz said...

I'd love some concrete examples of bravely getting to know and accept oneself.

Sabio Lantz said...

Curious of therapeutic examples.