July 13, 2015

This talk from a recent daylong sitting retreat touches on the essential role kindness plays in meditation:

“Kindness is the means by which you are able to penetrate your own self, your own twistings and contractions, your own fears and hesitations, all those unlit places that are otherwise impossible to visit. Kindness is the way you make meditation accessible to yourself. It is only because you are kind to your knees that they can bend and lay still for a period that is not natural to them, only because you are kind to your inner child that he or she might rest or speak, whichever is needed, during your meditation. And it is only because of your own kindness and patience to the seemingly flawed and foundering physical and astral forms that you come to have any sense at all how incredibly kind that universal power I call God is towards those forms itself. God does not, cannot, and would not ever condemn or judge any part of you. But even more unbelievably, that wholeness, that oneness, has a kind of deep affection and love for every single flawed and broken aspect of you, that is nearly incomprehensible to us in our human smallness. But if you are incredibly kind to yourself, kind towards everything you find, loving towards everyone you meet within you, then you may start to approximate that love which is God’s love, that acceptance which is God’s total understanding of you, an understanding that is so deep it makes forgiveness itself irrelevant. And so when I say to be kind to your body during these periods of sitting, which are actually quite difficult for it, I do not mean tolerate the aches and pains, or grudgingly acknowledge that you are, indeed, uncomfortable, I mean love what is in pain, and if it is reasonable and possible, comfort and fix what is in pain, and when that is not possible, be with it so the body does not have to suffer alone. It is the same for all the parts of you, for so many parts of us suffer, and so much of that astral, mental, and psychological pain is revealed during periods of continuous meditation. We are challenged when we sit, and it will always be so, and so please be almost unbearably kind to everything in you that begins to suffer during this process, whether that suffering appears as thinking or boredom, as anxiety or grief. Be kinder than you’ve ever considered you needed to be, and see if that is not exactly the thing that penetrates the deepest.”


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