Aspiring Guiltlessness

I tried really hard not to just copy and paste this post into my blog post. This is the best I could cut it down to.  I wrote the poem that is cited in my little green notebook today. My little green notebook is the place where I put the advice I’d like to burn on to the inside of my eyelids. My hope is that I actually will go and look at it if I get in that place in my head…..”ruminatrix mode” if you will. Spin cycle is nice but it doesn’t have the same zing as “ruminatrix”. I didn’t make it up but I was told I could use it 🙂
You have to understand that even though you make a lot of mistakes and you mess up in all kinds of ways, all of that is impermanent and shifting and changing and temporary. But fundamentally, your mind and heart are not guilty. They are innocent.”So guiltlessness is very important in the subject of dissolving or burning up the seeds of aggression in our own hearts and our own minds.Most of the striking out at other people, for us in this culture, comes from feeling bad about ourselves. It makes us so wretched and so uncomfortable that it sets off the chain reaction of trying to get away from that feeling. It’s some very very habitual thing that happens.

If you got hooked, and then someone was to give you four seconds, or a minute, and then tap you on the shoulder and ask you what that feels like, it feels really bad, it feels like “bad me” and the aggression is turned against yourself…..

And if you went more deeply into that, you would probably find sadness.And I quote this so much, this Poem of Rick Fields, where he said:

Behind the hardness there is fear
And if you touch the heart of the fear
You find sadness (it sort of gets more and more tender)
And if you touch the sadness
You find the vast blue sky

…. really what I am encouraging is the next time you feel yourself hooked, if you pause and you breath with it, and you don’t act out and you don’t repress, but you think of this quote, and you think the ones that will create the new culture that is needed are those that are not afraid to be insecure.

Whatever it is that you think at that moment, maybe this is what it feels like to be burning up the seeds that have caused all the pain on this earth – this is what that feels like.

I always feel that somehow you have to reframe that bad feeling – so that you see it as a doorway to liberation, as an opening to the vast blue sky.

A teaching by Pema Chödrön
excerpted from a talk entitled “Practicing Peace in Times of War”
published by Shambhala Publications


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