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Loving Ourselves Into Freedom

In this session, Tara shows us how to stop burying the gold of your true nature beneath fear, judgement, and confusion.

So there are two main pathways if you

want to cultivate that trust in the

gold, if you want to live from the gold.

And if you think of all the spiritual

practices and you can kind of

divide into two main pathways.

And one of the pathways is just

bringing a compassionate presence

to exactly what's here right now.

Whatever's here.

And the second pathway, I think that the

first pathway is you start right where you

are, the second pathway is intentionally

looking towards the goodness.

We're going to, we're going

to practice with them both.

So I'll start with the first one,

and that is we start where we are.

So wherever, let's say right now in

your life you feel what's between me

and really trusting my own goodness,

or what's between me and being

able to trust and see this person's

goodness, that's where we start.

And there's a, several parts of

the mythology of the Buddha that

are really very profound in terms

of their psychological and deep

spiritual healing potential.

And one of them, many of you are

familiar with this, the story of

how the Buddha had these repeated

encounters with the God Mara and Mara

was the God of the shadow energies.

Mara was the God of greed and

hatred and delusion and fear,

all the places where we're caught

in our coverings and reactive.

So when the Buddha would be teaching,

sometimes he'd be in a field outside a

village and people would have gathered

and he'd be teaching and Mara would start

skirting around the edges of the field.

And the Buddha's loyal attendant

and cousin, Ananda, would get

really disturbed, like, oh

no, Mara's here, you know..

But the Buddha was actually quite

relaxed and he'd just say, it's okay.

It's okay.

And he'd go right over to Mara

and say, "I see you, Mara.

Come let's have tea."

Come let's have tea.

Thich Nhat Hanh actually popularized this.

This expresses the first pathway.

We start right where we

are with Mara appearing.

All the, the doubts and

fears and reactivities that

make us not trust ourselves.

We just start there.

And seeing Mara is the

wing of mindfulness.

I see you.

I see this.

In RAIN, it's recognizing and allowing.

Okay, this is here and

then let's have tea.

We investigate and we nurture.

We befriend, tend and befriend.

This is the pathway of

starting where we are.

And I can say for myself,

it's been a primary way of

waking up through the decades.

It's the primary thing I teach often.

And I remember one of my early

episodes or experiences of having tea

with Mara in my early twenties, that

was specifically around mistrust.

And I was at that time living in a

spiritual community, in an ashram.

And I've been going through a hard time

and was feeling very alienated from

the community and very down on myself.

And part of it was we had this idea

of purity that we were trying to

spiritually grow and that the ego is

bad and we were trying to transcend the

ego, something I don't believe anymore.

But I was very fixed on how terrible

my ego was, how selfish I was and

self-absorbed I was, and I put myself

first and how competitive I was, you know.

This is a yoga ashram and I, how

much I was kind of felt like a

show off that I wanted to look good

with my, how well I could do yoga.

And so there's a lot of

pride and shame and so on.

So, If you think of the statue

of the golden Buddha, I was

really seeing the coverings.

I was stuck in the coverings.

I was hating my coverings.

So you get the idea.

So I was part of a woman's group of our

community, and I remember confessing

that I really didn't trust myself.

I did not believe I was a good person,

which was a pretty vulnerable disclosure.

And I have no idea what the response was.

I don't remember that part.

I just remember going back to my

room and I was pretty cracked open.

And usually when I would be

feeling terrible, I would just

start doing vigorous yoga.

And that was my way of trying

to get everything realigned.

But I didn't this time.

I just kind of stayed with what was,

and you could see the unfolding of

RAIN, recognize, allow, investigate,

nurture in how it happened, that

I just got it that, okay, this is

a cracking open, let it happen.

And I investigated and under all my

judgments, I could, I came right to

that core of shame, that in some way,

any indicator of ego meant I was bad.

And that's a really painful thing

because a lot of us have that.

That we see these human imperfect

egos with their self-centeredness

or aggressions, and we own

it, we think, oh, that's me.

I'm that.

And so that's what I was

getting in touch with.

And I started opening to the waves I was

investigating and feeling in my body,

the waves of shame, and it became grief.

You know, I could really feel this,

this grieving that I wasn't able to

feel connection cause I felt so bad.

And that led to the N of RAIN, nurturing.

I was actually just kind of, I remember

kind of hugging myself and just rocking

and it was just a sense of caring

about the pain, caring about the pain.

And afterwards, I got really quiet,

really still and just felt larger.

It was like the waves, I could still

sense the waves of the ego and the

thoughts and the feelings there.

But in that stillness, there was more of a

sense of this background of, of quietness

and openness and tenderness and presence.

What you might say I could sense the

ocean, you know, and really sense that

this was more the truth of who I was than

any of those changing egoic expressions.

And this is the point that when

we start right where we are and we

stay present, we feel the waves,

but we open back to the ocean.

We remember the gold.

We remember more the who we

really are, and then there's

room for the changing waves.

And it's so important if you're

somebody that practices RAIN not to

end with just the N and nurture, but

then notice the presence that opens up.

Sense okay, this is, this is a taste of

the gold because the more you get familiar

with it, the more you'll trust it.

That's the bottom line.

The more, you get a taste of that presence

and tenderness, that's more homecoming

and truth than any story you ever said

about yourself or told about yourself.

I really think of RAIN as it dissolves

the opaqueness of the covering, lets

the, it lets the gold shine through.

Let's practice for a few moments.

We're going to do a short practice

of bringing RAIN to self-doubt.

And this is just a taste.

Please come back, circle back, go deeper

when you have more time on your own.

But take a moment if you've been

sitting real still, you might want

to move or stretch a little and

then come back into stillness.

And when you settle again, using the

breath to collect your attention.

So you bring yourself

right here in your body.

Just feel this breathing body.

Maybe do a little letting go

of areas of obvious tightness.

And you might scan a bit through

your life and sense that inquiry

of, oh what's between me and

really trusting my goodness.

And you might find that there's

something you're blaming yourself for.

Maybe something that's very

specific or just more of a kind of

amorphous sense of falling short.

Maybe something going on in a

relationship right now that brings up

mistrust or self doubt or self aversion.

Something at work.

Maybe something to do with your health.

Maybe something to do with

addiction, whatever it is.

And know that there's no

right thing to pick right now.

You're just practicing a little.

You're practicing starting

where you are with what's right

here to awaken to the gold.

So choose something, choose someplace

where you, some situation where you end

up being down on yourself, mistrusting

yourself, being caught in the covering.


And bring the situation close in so

you kind of are seeing what happens

right at the point where you get most

triggered, where you end up really getting

tight and feeling bad about yourself.

Where the, the inner judge or

inner critic's voice might get

loud or the feelings, a sinking

feeling, the shame, anger.

Just notice what's there.

And RAIN begins.

The R's just to recognize.

Okay, so this is what's

happening right now.

And you might name whatever

emotion feels strongest right now.

Just mentally whisper it.

The A's allow, just let it be there.

The I, investigate.

And again, we're not, we're doing this

more briefly, is to just sense how it's

experienced right now in your body.

But you might start by just saying,

well, what am I believing about myself?

Just so you kind of bring into

awareness the belief itself,

maybe there's a core belief.

I'm failing, I'm unlovable.

I'm not doing things right.

I should be doing more.

Something's not okay.

And whatever the belief is, see if

you can feel in your body what it's

like when you're believing the belief.

Feel your throat, your chest, your belly.

And it sometimes helps just to

put your hand on your heart, just

to start accompanying yourself.

And this is actually beginning

nurturing, where you're breathing

and feeling what's here.

You're feeling the

waves of the experience.

Okay, this is how it feels when

I'm caught in the coverings,

when I'm forgetting the gold.

Sinking feeling, maybe anxious, maybe

fearful, maybe angry, but breathe with

it and start offering some kindness.

Rumi says, "Don't turn away, keep

your gaze on the wounded place.

That's where the light enters you."

So bring the attention to the

wounded place, the place that feels,

in some way, you're not enough.

And let your intention be to

bathe that place with care.

Just imagine the light of the

universe is shining through

you, is feeding you with care.

That your own future self that

knows, that's wise, your awake

heart is holding you with care.

Or that somebody you trust

and love is, they're energies

holding you, but let love in.

And there may be a message from your

highest self, from your future self,

from wisdom, from the benevolence

in the universe, a message.

And just sense what you

can send to yourself.

And take some moments to just notice

the quality of presence that's here.

You might sense if you can taste

more of the gold, more of that

awareness, that tenderness that's

bigger than any of the stories.

Sense the presence of your awake heart.

And if you'd like to journal for a moment,

you just, from your own high self, just

send a message, just write down something.

What does it mean for

me to trust the gold?

How does the gold express

through this body mind.

Let your future self or high

self remind you of the gold?

May be just a fewer words.

Remember that you care.

Remember your honesty.

Remember that you love,

love, that you love truth.

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