Daily Archives: April 16, 2013

Three Truths and One Wish

The function of a torii gate is to mark the entrance to a sacred space.

1. Truth: Really, really bad things happen all the time. I don’t need to tell you what they are or give you a list of examples. You already know, have seen and experienced it for yourself, and will do so again and again, over and over. There is no safe place, no protection, and no magic that can change this truth.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” ~Pema Chödrön

2. Truth: There is no stopping all the bad things from happening. We simply don’t have that kind of control, that power. People are hurt and confused, all of us generate suffering at some level, for ourselves and others, and there’s just no way we can stop all of it, no way to consistently interrupt aggression before it turns toxic, dangerous, before it hurts someone.

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~Pema Chödrön

3. Truth: There is something we can do. When bad things happen, when we are confronted with suffering, instead of numbing out or running away or looking for someone to blame or something to fix, we can settle our minds and open our hearts. We can stay with what is happening, with reality as it is, as we are. We can drop our judgements, our agenda and simply be with what is. We can soften and open up, approach ourselves, the situation, the environment, and others with gentleness and compassion, allowing enough space for wisdom to arise. In this way, we will know what to do, if there is anything that needs doing.

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.” ~Pema Chödrön

Shinto shrine at Shambhala Mountain Center

One Wish: That when we are in the midst of suffering, we can approach it with compassion, can be gentle and allow space for wisdom to arise. That we can be brave and keep our hearts open, that we can be tenderhearted warriors.