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A gentle reminder to be kind to yourself.

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onestepforward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-05-09 04:15 AM
Original message
A gentle reminder to be kind to yourself.
The more I study about Buddhism, and I'm still quite the beginner, the more I realize that Americans/Westerners are very hard on themselves and it is very counter-productive. The world is hard enough. Try to be kind to yourself and do the best you can. If you make a mistake, welcome yourself into humankind, learn from it, forgive yourself and move on. The more that a person can be kind to themselves, the more that we can be kind to others. :)
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-05-09 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. What one one Buddhist Master said about his life:
Just one mistake after another.

I love that. You screw up so you try again. You screw up so you try again. And it works. Working on those mistakes is how you get somewhere. Takes a while.
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onestepforward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-05-09 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. That is a beautiful saying!
It is a good way to accept our mistakes and learn instead of rejecting them and ourselves.
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. That's what I think, too. Makes me feel a whole lot better.
I've been reading the Pali Canon - it's just a whole lot of discourses by the Buddha. Goes kind of slow but it is really interesting.

It took the Buddha over 300 eons to get to his final desitination (I can't remember the exact figure that he said). One eon is like forever. Countless lifetimes probably going back a billion years - huge numbers that don't mean much to me.

The Dalai Lama kind of says the same thing - this getting stuff right just takes a long, long time so don't get in a hurry. But it's important not to waste a human lifetime. We don't always get lucky and get an advantageous rebirth. So if we are lucky enough to get a human lifetime we sure want to do everything we can to make it advantageous. It's so important to live the most moral life that you can - to follow the precepts of not killing, not lying, not stealing, and so on. But the most important part is to learn human kindness and compassion for all sentient beings. And using the practice of meditation to get there is also very important.

Not an easy path but it sure makes for a wonderful life.
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onestepforward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Definitely more peaceful too.
I do believe that compassion and kindness for all sentient beings is the most important too. It starts with having those feelings for yourself and then moving outward to others. I haven't read the Pali Canon yet, but I've heard and read quotes from it in several teachings and books and there is so much wisdom :)
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-07-09 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. It really helps me to keep reading every day
Keeps me motivated. And it reminds me everyday to try and live right. It is just so easy to just kind of slide right back into old habits and patterns. I have a bunch of books and I just try to read some from all of them.

I never really get bored reading the literature. There is so much to consider. Buddhism is really pretty complicated.

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
6. This rings so true.
Edited on Tue Aug-11-09 10:42 AM by GliderGuider
I actually used it in a session last night.

As someone who is very new on the path, I'm at the point when I recognize my ego in action (usually after the fact), but not yet to the point where I've come to terms with it. This sometimes causes me to beat myself up mercilessly for relatively minor transgressions.

We all have a set of voices in our heads that we believe are us. I call them my Inner Supreme Court, because they tend to judge everything I say, do, think or believe. Their tone tends to be overwhelmingly negative, because they came into being when I were very young to protect me from real or imagined physical, emotional or spiritual harm. They do that by warning me loudly whenever I do something that violates one of the rules they have created to keep me safe

Some examples of individual judges are:

The Critic: ("You didn't do that right ... How can you be so hurtful? ... Why are you always so sloppy?");
The Pusher: ("God you're lazy! Work harder! ... You're late, you're late, you're late! ... Drive faster!");
The Pleaser: ("I don't care if you can't afford it - if you don't get it for her she won't love you ... I don't care if you think that's disgusting - if you don't do it he'll leave ... If you discipline your kids they won't love you!")
The Moral Judge: ("You're worthless ... You'll never amount to anything, no matter how hard you try ... You are a Bad Person.")
The Protector: ("Be careful! ... Don't let anyone see the real you ... It's dangerous to stand out ... If you take a risk like that you'll fail and look stupid.")

We all know them. They speak in our voices, and feel like an intrinsic, essential part of us. Usually they were formed as a defense against wounds we suffered very early in life. The dangers they are protecting us from are long in the past, faded paper tigers, but the power they have to make us miserable so many years later is truly astonishing. Most people never escape from the inner prison that those voices build around their True Self. Very few ever experience the liberation and release that comes from recognizing them for what they are.

Fortunately by shining the light of inner inquiry on them with gentle persistence we can gradually disempower them. In this process of illumination and defusing, I have come to understand that I can forgive myself for all my real and (mostly) imagined missteps, transgressions and failures. In that forgiveness is the tenderness, kindness and compassion that nourishes me and gives me the strength to face the real trials of the world with equanimity.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 05:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. And now I'm beating myself up for posting this.
Sigh. The mind-machine never sleeps.
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Lighten Up. This is a long time path. Don't be so hard on yourself.
One thing that the Eastern Masters say about people in the West is that we are so hard on ourselves. You really don't need to be. Our mistakes are what make us interesting.

Be grateful for those mistakes that you make. They enable you to keep moving forward. And just don't worry about it. The past is the past and its gone - let it be gone.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. Absolutely.
But I find I need to work through the trigger first before "I" can believe that. While I'm still in the grip of my judges it just sounds like so much self-placating hogwash. Once I've recognized the trigger, sat with it and let the wave of emotion pass, I feel very good about being human, missteps and all.
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Have you tried the koan "Who is that watches? Who is it that hears?"
That is so interesting. Who is it that sees and hears and speaks?
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Yes. My partner asks me that all the time when I'm triggered.
"Who is saying that?"

Letting that question hang in my mind is the first step towards melting the egoic paralysis that being triggered .. ummm... triggers.
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. In the Three Pillars of Zen the Zen Masters use that one a lot.
Takes about 8 years or so to figure it out. That is with sitting several hours every day. I can't sit that long each day so I figure I might get it before I die.

The other interesting one is "mu." Just "mu."
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. You mean "critic" is harassing you?
I was actually thinking about that post last night, and how much effort it must have taken to write it.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. You betcha.
It didn't take much effort to write it, but it took lots of effort to learn it. The framework comes from a transformational program I'm involved with called The Inner Journey. One of the IJ coaches put together a multi-weekend course called "Here Comes the Judge" that fleshes this out with teachings, experiential exercises and a lot of inner inquiry. It's a liberating experience to start teasing out those inner voices and watching them work.

The tip off that triggered my Critic in this case was the second example phrase from The Pusher. When I read it later (after the editing period had expired :-) ) I realized its harshness was a signal that my ego had involved itself in the writing. That realization triggered my Critic, along with another judge that is peculiar to people on a Path: the Spiritual Judge. The Spiritual Judge says things like "How can you just let your ego creep in and take over without even noticing? How long have you been doing this work? I thought you said you were enlightened! Boy, are you ever full of shit!"

So now I've spoken with those judges, thanked them for trying to help, and reminded them that I'm still human. They've calmed down and gone back into their chambers.
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onestepforward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. I'm glad for your post.
It rang true for me. If you can become aware of the inner judge/inner controller/ego, you can help it to dissipate with inner reflection. One of the best ways that I like to use is to be in the present moment. The ego likes to stay in the past or the future because it gets reinforced there. It is definitely a life long practice! I think recognizing it is a big accomplishment, even if it is after the fact, which is often the case for me :)
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Yes, being in the Now is the key to the whole thing.
What's cool is that I can practice being present while doing absolutely anything. They say you can even do it while sleeping, if you get really good at it.
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onestepforward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-12-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I think so too.
The present moment is always fresh and new, even in the ordinary! I think the more you can do it, even for a minute or two, the more you want to return to it.


"Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle."

Thich Nhat Hanh
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