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Buddhadharma : Summer 2017
summer 2 0 1 7 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 13 right Where you should be We need to be open to everything, says Diane Hamilton, even our own sense of failure. Forabird,thereisnowaynottobeinthe sky. But until you see this, you imagine you could have flown differently and better. Recently, a student came to me very humbled, saying, “I wrote my intention on a postcard: ‘I want to learn to stay centered in my relationship, express myself clearly, and keep my heart open.’ Then I received a minor criticism from my husband this week, and I went bonkers. My intention went right out the window, along with my sanity and my self-respect. I’ve been there so many times that I am completely discouraged. I don’t think it is possible that I can change.” I can relate. It is demoralizing when the old habits of the body and brain hijack our efforts to be calm and open. But I remind her that our fundamental practice is sim- ply being present to everything—includ- ing negative emotions and when things go awry—and just seeing it all clearly. So even though my student is discouraged, her innate wakefulness is apparent. When she feels really down, she is capable of noticing its excruciating detail and being humbled. She can pay attention. In time, she will experience openness itself and the miracle of here-and-now wakefulness. She will be less caught up in the mire of negative emotions and the panic of her nervous system. The emotions will come, and they will go, and she will see them as empty of substance. She isn’t going to be totally free of them. Why would she want to be? She is human. But her practice will allow her to see, feel, and trust this innate, ever-present awareness. She will see that the birds are always where they should be, and the sky is like it is, boundless. FROM the Zen of YoU and Me, ShAMBhALA, MARCh 2017 let it break Afraid of a broken heart? Don’t be, says Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel. Bodhicitta poses a magnificent challenge for a contracted heart, which will support our awakening, because doesn’t it seem that something positive always emerges from a broken heart? A tender heart has unlimited “give,” while a brittle or contracted heart—a heart focused solely on “me” and “mine”—has no choice but to break. If we allow our heart to continuously break as a practice, we will make space for the infinite suffering and beauty of our world, exclud- ing no one. So I say let it break. FROM FACEBOOK, FEBRuARy 16 Catching