A Question and an Answer
Sometimes at the end of a Buddhist retreat, each participant has an opportunity to spend about ten minutes with the teacher in a private session. Some teachers ask a question of the student. Kamala Masters offered us an opportunity to ask her a question. She had been talking, the night before my interview, about the importance of developing self-compassion as well as compassion for others. "Without self-compassion, we run the risk of burn-out, compassion-fatigue, or unwise giving."
I asked, "How can I integrate self-compassion and mindful awareness?"
Kamala is a compact, elegant woman who reminds me of Aung San Suu Kyi, very gentle and yet firmly disciplined, open-hearted and feminine, but also very dignified. She considered my question for a moment and answered, "Look for the good in yourself. The Buddha said the two most precious qualities are gratitude and generosity. See those qualities in yourself. Practice noting what you do right. Let your inner observer be grateful for your good qualities."
It's not something I've ever done before, but it's a sure cure for the kind of self-critical harshness that leads to feelings of inadequacy, a malady I often suffer from. I feel a little embarrassed. It's good it's an inside job. Nobody knows I'm doing it. (Shhhh, don't tell.)
So much life is unfurling in the forest right now. Maidenhair fern, sword fern, many hard, tight little knobs of things that will soon be leaves and flowers. Full set of photographs is here.
This ends my back-blips from the meditation retreat. I'm going to take a day of rest from blipping, and then on Saturday, a big event. Stay tuned.