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“Tsewa (tenderness of heart) is the only thing that can give us strength and resilience to overcome the challenges that the world presents. Even though we all have this tender heart, there are always certain individuals, who because of their intense confusion and their ability to influence people, spread pain and chaos to many others. But when people develop the strength of tsewa, they act as buffers to protect others from such harm and influence. When many people put their trust in the good heart, it is like erecting a wall that prevents the fire of confusion from spreading.”
- Dzigar Kongtrul
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Tenderness of heart isn’t what most Westerners think of when they think of courage. Dzigar is suggesting that it is a clear feltsense awareness of other peoples’ and beings’ pain, freed from a habitual / conditioned reactivity to and avoidance of the pervasiveness of our own pain, that provides us with the motivation and strength to step up as needed. The image of a parent stepping out of their own pain / fear to fiercely protect their endangered child, no matter what it takes, including the sacrifice of their own life if necessary, is a powerful example of this. There is no neurosis. No hesitation. No confusion. No embarrassment. No self-obsession. No fear. No turning away. There is just the boundless strength of empathy / selfless love that allows us to swallow life whole and to be effective, no matter what scary circumstances appear.
Compassion is indeed, as Jeff said (and did), the call to act when our hearts care about suffering. There is suffering in every direction right now, so plenty of opportunity to act in compassion.
With all of the energies building at the moment- the second full moon (blue) of the month, the continued uncertainty, unfairness, and unrest, and the impending election- I too was called back to a favorite Tonglen meditation today, led my the wonderful Ruth King. It is one of my favorites. She says "I care about this suffering". It resonates with me deeply. I come back to it often these days.
Since I cannot possibly act on behalf of all of the suffering around me locally and globally, I do what I can in action, but in heart and mind, I continuously bring my awareness to the wishes for ease and peace that I hold for every sentient being on this earth. I do this in formal meditation, in every interaction, and all that falls in between.
May all beings be free from suffering.
what I want from 28-day challenge is? don't take things hard and try to keep myself open to others around me and listen to them more.
Some challenges to me practicing every day could be? I can take things hard that I cannot handle on my own so I ask help from my advocate
How does it feel to put your full attention on one breath? I just do my breathing with the practice.
How does this practice impact your state of mind? My state of mind want to clam down and be mindful.