All cruelty comes from us not wanting to feel what we feel. Often we “by-pass” this stage of “radical acceptance” (Brach, Radical Acceptance, 2003) of our feelings and jump right into a practice that makes us feel better. Often that’s perfectly ok. However, these feelings are still there somewhere and at some point, they will come up again. “Enlightened” people are not the ones who do not feel fear, anger, doubt, jealousy, aversion and the like. On the contrary they have learned to become fully intimate with those emotions, to become best friends with their minds and to open their heart to whatever state arises. (Chödrön, Awakening Compassion).
By allowing ourselves to feel what we feel we practice non-resisting life as it is. As we practice non-resistance against our emotions - neither internally nor acting out externally we learn to accept ourselves as we are. As we “start where we are”, we create a space. In this space we can start to relax our heart rather than closing and armouring and cutting ourselves off from our environment and people around us. This leads us to discover our deepest needs and intentions and connects us with all living beings.
“Do not try to save the world or do anything grandiose. Instead , create a clearing in the dense forest of your life” Martha Postlewait in (Brach, Radical Compassion, 2019, S. 3).
It’s important to note that saying yes to your experience, your feelings, does not mean that you agree with it or that you want it to last. Sometimes we need to apologize for our behaviour and make amends. Sometimes we need to draw clear boundaries towards another, maybe even end a relationship or go to court. However, we first, we acknowledge our experience and then make more appropriate choices and take more beneficial actions from a place of awareness.
The practice is very simple. We start by tuning into an attitude of kindness, benevolence, open heartedness and allowing. We observe the breath with this attitude, the sounds, sensations, feelings and thought. We say yes to what’s here, allowing it to be the way it is right now. We try to neither cling to sensations, emotions or thoughts, nor push them away and find into that state of knowingness, not having to do anything or be anyone, just being present with this attitude of an open, peaceful kind heart. (Brach, Radical Compassion, 2019, S. 229)Listen to the practice
Brach, T. (2003). Radical Acceptance. Bantam books.
Brach, T. (2019). Radical Compassion. Rider.
Chödrön, P. (kein Datum). Awakening Compassion. Von https://www.soundstrue.com/products/awakening-compassion abgerufen