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Training with Kindness

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

All I could do was laugh yesterday,

A day full of chaos

and yet it ticked away

like a normal day

I am one

in a universal movement

With growing awareness

in a sea of consciousness

my old self would feel lost

amid the rocky goings-on

with fingers pointing at me

if something went wrong.

Silence has given me

A gift of awareness

From which I observe

Me in space.

I am a child who spills the milk

Looking to the parent for a reaction

And there is no reaction but

Simple compassion

My silence is gentle, loving awareness

That holds the door open

to explore my walls of perception

gaining new understanding every day

For I am more, always more

Beyond what my mind conjures

And as I experience my silence

I expand beyond my ideas and beliefs.

There are hiccups

And glitches that come and go

Like immovable blocks

That pop up and intrude.

Every moment I encounter

These moguls in life, choices

Rise before me to engage and resist

Or breathe and remember

I am more than chaos

I am more than hiccups

My silence holds something

Greater than any problem.

I practice patience with myself

For I would never demand a child

learn everything today.

We deserve the same gentleness.

I trust my practice of silence

I align my heart and mind into a doorway

I witness growth from gentleness and compassion

I stay in steadfastness and love

The pith instruction is, Stay...stay...just stay. Learning to stay with ourselves in meditation is like training a dog.

If we train a dog by beating it, we'll end up with an obedient but very inflexible and rather terrified dog.

The dog may obey when we say "Stay!" "Come!" "Roll over!" and "Sit up!" but he will also be neurotic and confused.

By contrast, training with kindness results in someone who is flexible and confident, who doesn't become upset when situations are unpredictable and insecure.

So whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to "stay" and settle down.

Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay! Discursive mind? Stay! Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay! Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay! What's for lunch? Stay! What am I doing here? Stay! I can't stand this another minute! Stay!

That is how to cultivate steadfastness.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • That stay worked very well and I used it as a mantra. Because my mind started out just as busy as yesterday and, every time I did it, I said “stay, stay, stay”. And pretty soon, I didn’t need to say it anymore. Thank you.

  • I had the opposite today. I love hearing Pema Chodron and I tried to say stay. And I had two expressos this morning and my mind was everywhere. I had a terrible time staying. I was very fidgety. And I noticed, I am fidgety and I accepted it. And that’s what it was.

  • You stuck with it, good for you, it’s like bouncing off the walls sometimes.

  • I found ‘stay’ helpful. I liked what you said about steadfastness, kindness, gentleness. That’s a powerful combination.

  • My attention stays more with myself if I am kind to myself.

  • It brought up memories of my past. My father had birddogs, and I remember him saying quite boastfully to adult relatives that you had to make sure that your children mind you so you treat them like birddogs. Beat them to make them mind. That was his way. That brought up some different thoughts for me. I appreciate what you did in the reading, because it was a redirection. I don’t have to consciously be that way and I can reprogram it in my head. And even though I hadn’t thought of that in years, it’s still there for me. And things can trigger it back up. So thank you.

  • I was brought up similarly, and one thing I’ve realized is that I can reparent myself. I am my own parent.

  • We recently got some kittens, and I’ve been trying to train my 11-year-old mini-poodle to pay attention to me and not get involved with what the kittens are doing. It depends on the incentive. If it’s the good treat, he will sit for that. I am trying to see what the incentive is for me, why I will sit, why I will stay. The calmness, centeredness, all the things we get when we sit and stay.

  • My father treated us like we were his little army and he was the general. I am good at beating myself up for my mistakes. I’d forgotten about that because I’ve been reparenting myself for 30 years now. I am a gentle parent with myself. It’s made a big difference in my life. I’m much better when I make mistakes. I don’t go into a deep depression anymore and I accept it and I joke about it. It makes a big difference.

  • I don’t know if we can ever forget what we experience as a child. But we can reparent.

  • Even if I can’t get into a meditative state, I am staying. That’s a given. Like trees. They stay. They weather storms; they fall down. They are beautiful, so many beautiful parts. Beauty underneath the ground as well. To be gentle with myself. I’ve been weathering a difficult storm for a long time, and I am tired, overwhelmed, and worried. But to look and see that I am still standing and gentle with myself.

  • In your reading, you said we get new understandings each day. I like learning new things. But that made me look at new understandings of myself, not just new things on the outside. We do get new understandings of ourselves. It’s why I keep coming back here.

  • It’s a delight to discover changes that happen inside. I’ve seen my behaviors changing. I owe it to sitting in silence.

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