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Living True to Ourselves

Tara Brach






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Living True to Ourselves

Tara reveals how we can learn to trust the pure awareness, love, and basic goodness that live deep in our hearts.

So we're talking right now about the

pathways to cultivating the gold.

The second pathways where we

intentionally turn toward the gold.

And just to say, most of you are familiar

and understand our negativity bias

does keep us from paying attention to

goodness in ourselves and in each other.

I often think of that young girl I've

shared in that art class where she's

immersed in her drawing and the teacher

asked her, you know, what are you drawing?

And she says, well, I'm drawing God.

And Teacher says, you know, no

one knows what God looks like.

And without looking up, the little

girl says they will in a moment.

And I think of that so often that we,

that we get caught in the coverings.

And we think that the divine

is some distant, distant being

or experience or whatever, when

it's always, always right here.

So to begin to remember, in addition

to starting right where we are,

to shift the attention to counter

the negativity bias, we need to

on-purpose look towards goodness.

Which means we give love, we

look towards receiving love,

we pay attention to gratitude.

My friend, Rick Hanson calls

this positive neuroplasticity.

It starts training our, you know, neural

pathways towards remembering the gold.

And again, there's a powerful myth from

the Buddhist tradition where Siddhartha

goes through his night of awakening and

he encounters all of Mara in all the

difficult energies through that night.

Greed, hatred, anger, delusion,

craving, jealousy, and he meets

them all, starts right where he is.

He meets them with

mindfulness and compassion.


as the morning star rises, Mara

throughout his final biggest shadow

challenge, which was doubt, this

mistrust that we have of ourselves,

that was Siddhartha's biggest challenge.

So if you feel like you

get caught in mistrust, you

know, you're in good company.

And when that happened, his response,

he didn't start right where he was.

He turned towards love.

He turned towards belonging.

He called on the earth goddess, which is

the kind of whole net of living beings.

You know, that, it's what he

really belonged to, to affirm his

goodness, to affirm his worthiness.

And it's so interesting that

this is the second pathway

and the Buddha had to use it.

He had to touch the ground

and call on the earth goddess.

He had to purposely turn towards

the good in order to wake up.

And he assumed that that goodness

was there, that it was possible.

This is me acting like loving

awareness is accessible.

If we reach out, we'll find it's there,

but we have to practice reaching out.

We have to practice touching the ground.

So the heart practices, loving kindness

practices, whether we're offering

ourselves blessings or seeing the

goodness in ourselves on purpose or

seeing the goodness in each other,

those are the trainings in positive

neuroplasticity where we literally

reflect, what am I grateful for.

Or what do I appreciate about myself?

Or what do I appreciate about you?

It's so important.

So necessary.

Daniel Bayler says, "You are but

a collection of atoms working

together in temporary harmony,

before being dispersed back into

the universe, your true belonging.

Your earthly task is to

help those atoms radiate.

Imagine the simplicity.

You need not achieve

anything but a gentle glow."

Let's just for a moment, this is one

of those very short metta practices.

Just for a moment.

Again, let the attention go inward.

Then if it helps to kind of move

your body around a little and

adjust, but then come into stillness.

And take a moment to bring

to mind someone who you love.

Ideally, a relationship

that's not complicated.

And it could be a dog.

It could be, it doesn't have to be

a human, but someone that you love.

And sense the qualities that you love.

Intelligence, humor, kindness, vitality.

But mostly picture that being loving you.

Just be aware of their essence

as good and wakeful and caring.

And just picture them loving you, the

way their eyes look, look on their face.

And as you do, you might mentally whisper

their name and the words, thank you.

And say, thank you again.

And maybe again.

And as you do, you might start

feeling the tenderness of your own

heart and sense is this is some of

the taste of goodness in yourself.

So bring attention to your own being.

To this heart that wants

to love and be loved.

This mind that wants to

wake up and know truth.

And sense what it is you most deeply

care about, your deep aspiration.,

you know, what, what you really

want this life to be about.

And sense the goodness of that.

And it's hard to really

sense your own goodness.

Look through the eyes of your

future self, that what you're waking

up to be at your current self.

Look through the eyes

of someone you trust.

And see your sincerity, that

you want to heal and be free.

You want to be able to

love without holding back.

Sense that you can honor that.


Your earthly task is to

help those atoms radiate.

Imagine the simplicity.

You need not achieve

anything but gently glow.

Taking a few full breaths.

So we've talked about purposely

this positive neuro-plasticity,

seeing the goodness in ourselves.

And of course, the other part

of our training is learning

to see the goodness in others.

And it's easiest when we can

sense that spirit in children.

We can sense the goodness in people

often when they've already died.

We can see it when people are

happy or when they're loving,

uncomplicated relationships.

And of course, we know it's most

difficult to see the goodness when

the person's caused harm to us and to

others, when the person's threatening.

Or when we're blinded by racial or

other caste systems, very hard to see

past cause others seem like objects.

But the challenge in remembering

goodness and really the training is

not just when others are behaving in

hurtful ways or our cultural biases and

blindness to the degree we're stressed.

We're going to be caught

in our own coverings.

I call it our kind of our

spacesuit and we're just going to

see other people's space suits.

You know, it's like that story of the man

who comes late to a meeting at the office

and they asked him what, what took him?

He said, well, outside, I saw a clown.

And one person asked him, was

it a person dressed up as a

clown or was it a real clown?

You know?

And when we're, when we're caught

in ourselves, we see the space

suit and that's the, that's

who we think the person is.

We're not seeing the real person.

You know, if you think of somebody,

when you're afraid of them judging you,

what are you going to see about them?

They're threatening.

You're not going to see, you're

in a place of stress, you're not

going to see who they really are.

Or if there's someone you're afraid

of disappointing, the stress will stop

you from seeing who they really are.

Or if it's somebody you want

something from, you have an agenda

for, or you want to see them change.

It was like a family member or a child.

You want them to change.

I know this with my son, so many years of

thinking he needed to change something.

You know, he needed to put more

time into class work or, you

know, less time in video games,

less partying, whatever it was.

In the moments I wanted him to be

different, I wasn't seeing the gold.

So it takes intention, friends.

If we want to cultivate seeing the gold in

others and not even talking about others

that have hurt us, but just the familiar

others, we have to be aware that our wants

and fears, our agendas get in the way.

We have to pause and we have

to deepen our attention.

And that means that we really sense,

well, what does this person care about?

You know, to imagine what

their hearts really care about.

And you might take a moment just to bring

one person to mind who's familiar to you.

That's somebody in your household

or in your closer circles that you

may have some judgements around.

You know, somebody you want them to change

how they're acting in a certain way.

Bringing them to mind.

And then see past the coverings.

What does this person really

most deeply care about?

What's their hearts longing?

What do they look like when they're

happy, when they really feel

loved, when they feel fully alive?

Just sense their goodness.

And sense who you are when you're

aware of their goodness, how

that opens you up to your gold.

And since the energy it creates in the

field when you're seeing your gold.

Anthony de Mello says, "It's a sobering

thought that the finest act of love you

can perform is not an act of service,

but an act of contemplation of seeing.

When you serve people, you help

support, comfort and alleviate pain.

When you see them in their inner beauty

and goodness, you transform and create."

So, if you want to journal at all, who

am I when I'm seeing the gold in another?

What would life be like when I'm

trusting and seeing the gold in others?

The basic theme is, if we start

dedicating ourselves more on purpose

to trusting who we are and trusting

each other, if we start dedicating

ourselves to sensing namaste, if

enough of us do, it really ripples out.

When you become a mirror of another

person's goodness, you bring it forward.

And then we start creating

the world that we believe in.

And, and that's our world so

needs that energy right now

to, to bridge the separations.

So brief reflection and, and I'm, I just

want to thank you for being part of it.

It touches my heart.

You are my extended family community.

And just to be with you really matters.

We'll close with a, with a reflection.

And this is quite simple that very

much as we started, I'd like to invite

you to let your attention go inward.

To take a few moments to relax through

your body, to feel your breath.

To take a moment to put your hand on

your own heart and of what you see

and appreciate in your own being.

Some message from your own awake

heart on what you can trust.

And you to bring to mind someone

that you see regularly that you care

about in your circles of people.

Take a moment to bring them close in.

It can be someone in

your family, a friend.

And take a moment to sense that

being's goodness, Just sensing their

aspiration, what their heart cares about.

Just maybe imagine the, the

light in that person's eyes, the

intelligence looking through.

When their hearts happy

in a, in a wholesome way.

Just they're aliveness and sense

what you love, sense what you

care about, what you appreciate.

And imagine telling them.

Imagine letting them know something about

your care, your love, your appreciation.

And now notice how, what it's effect is.

So that you can sense that very

real connectedness that happens

when we recognize another being's

goodness and let them know.

And take some moments to reflect on the

goodness and bring to mind someone else.

It's such a powerful practice.

Somebody else in your circles.

So for all of us, we're bringing

to mind someone, and we're really

sensing that being, that their

heart longs to love and be loved.

That they want to know truth.

They want to live fully.

And sense their goodness, their innate

with Maritain calls their secret beauty,

the divine that's shining through them,

letting them know you're being a mirror.

I see your goodness.

I see your beauty.

I see your soul shining through.

And just imagine the impact.

Feel your heart opening in the

way that you can feel heart space.

Let that heart space include all beings.

You might sense the possibility

of moving through this world.

Whether you're seeing an animal

or a tree, non-human, animal,

a tree, or human, really

trusting that this world's a

friendly place intrinsically.

Seeing the gold.

Life is this simple.

We're living in a world that is

absolutely transparent and the divine

is shining through it all the time.

This is not just a nice story or fable.

It is true.

So we close in a simple way, just

sensing our prayer that all beings

everywhere may recognize and

trust the gold, that sacredness.

May we live from this loving presence.

A deep bow, namaste to each of you.

Thank you so much for being part of it.

And many blessings.

May you live from the gold and

enjoy these lives, these blessings.

Thank you.

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