We Can Rejoice - There's Nowhere To Run
Grateful tonight to be listening to video recordings of Ani Pema Chödrön - speaking about dealing with difficult emotions. And the meaning of "maitri" : unconditional friendliness with oneself... the basis of which is how we relate with our experience of pain.
Since my teenage years I longed to be a monastic. I was so deeply inspired by the compassionate presence and life example of a Buddhist nun, Ani Trime Lhamo, and by the Buddha's message that all suffering - indeed the entire experience of our world - is generated by our thoughts, and therefore through the practice of meditation, our suffering can cease. Buddha said his words were not doctrine, and that one should not follow him blindly - rather test and see for oneself what is true and helpful. This was the point at which I consciously began a lifelong journey on the path of self - discovery. I began to transition from feeling I was totally drowning in the pain of being alive, to accepting the pain itself as my greatest motivation and teacher.
It is actually a blessing, when we don't have any other viable option except to face the pain and become familiar with it. When it becomes absolutely clear that running away, mentally or physically, convincing oneself with further stories, only increases the intensity and duration of our suffering...and the suffering of others.
In the warm embrace of one's own loving-kindness and compassionate awareness, there's truly nowhere to run!