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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. Small. 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.

Masterclass

4.7

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.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

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. Small. 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.

Masterclass

4.7

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