Dear troubled Mind,
I have been once again watching you think yourself into knots and traps of your own making. You are trying to learn to be more aware of what you think, but there is no rush to get it right. You have always striven to be the best student, but you are too hard on yourself. It is ok to do things in the order and at the pace at which they need to be done. You have committed yourself to improve your powers of attention as We increase our awareness of Our Self and Our loving nature.
Remember, Mind, We are in this together and you do not have to do it alone. Trust in us, and relinquish your belief that you are more right, relinquish your pride. If I may suggest, try to stop and listen before shouting out an answer. You are just a beginner at this kind of mindfulness, so there is no need to pretend to be an expert. No one is fooled by you here. You have read about this and you have studied this quite a lot, but you have not practiced it yet, in truth. So be humble, and listen, observe.
Both Heart and you, Mind, have many tendencies towards egoism. You want your issue to be the center of attention, and you can be quite demanding and petulant about getting quick results. This just reminds me of how much you need to learn, but I am still new at practicing compassion to you. I apologize for trying harder to cultivate compassion for people outside of me, rather than for all of Me. [Side note: I used “me” to show that when I experience separation of self and others in a very concrete way, I have not acknowledged the unifying “Me” to which all of us belong.]
We have all agreed we want to be free of attachment, but we have not fully defined what this means. Heart wants to be free of the pain that accompanies believing We need to be in a defined love relationship to this other person; Mind wants to be free of the negative (i.e. untrue) stories that spring up so easily from speculation and expectation; Body wants to be free of the worry that no one will love it if it does not conform to societal standards of beauty; and, as for My Self, I would like to practice being free from My attachment to Heart, Mind and Body more and more, so as to connect with the stillness.
Sitting here now, calm and peaceful, isn’t it easy to observe how much progress We all have made? How wonderful!
We can celebrate this moment and when another moment arises in which suffering again returns, which it inevitable will do, we can remember that we are not fighting suffering, but letting go of suffering. We can read texts that remind all of Us that there will still be suffering, but we do not need to fear it. Let’s recommend to Our Self, this passage from Lovingkindness, by Sharon Salzberg.
“[We] are brought up with the feeling that suffering is somehow wrong, or to be avoided. We get the idea that suffering is unbearable and should not even be faced.”
She tells us that the first step to develop true compassion is to accept that suffering exists. If we are are unable to face this fact, we will never be able to let go of our pain. Our beliefs limit us; they too are thoughts to which we get easily attached. If we have hold to our belief that pain is bad, than we inevitable cause ourselves to feel more pain, in the form of self-directed negativity in the face of our pain. We have become attached to our pain.
No wonder then, my darling Mind, that you have been struggling to let go. As you started to let go of certain thoughts, did you believe yourself to have gotten free? …only to struggle more and more, finding yet another belief holding you back. Perhaps you even thought you were going in the wrong direction because there just seemed to be getting more entangled? Did you even realize that you were getting frustrated with yourself and making up stories about doing something wrong?
This struggle is to be celebrated and commended because it shows how aware you are becoming! You have been confined by many, many thoughts, beliefs and opinions, unknowingly! So as you begin to truly know yourself, you are discovering more and more restraints which you will now be able to let go. You have witnessed how easy it is to be tricked into this almost invisible cage. I cannot help but be amazed at how easily we have been lulled into captivity where we feel safe and comfortable. We are living in the Matrix or on the set of the Truman Show.
So Mind, be easy, calm down, accept what happens, and keep up the good work! I know you are on your way to being compassionate with yourself as you keep letting go…the process is the end in itself.