From Pema Chodron’s The Places and Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times [speaking here of spiritual practices like the breath prayer]: “As we practice, we begin to know the difference between our fantasy and reality. The more steadfast we are with our experience, the more aware we become of when we start to tighten and retreat. When we are denigrating ourselves, do we know it? Do we understand where the desire to lash out at another is coming from? Do we aspire not to keep going down that same old self-destructive road? Do we realize that the suffering we feel is shared by all beings? Do we have any longing for all of us to stop sowing the seeds of misery? Only the “principal one” knows the answers to these questions. We can’t expect always to catch ourselves spinning off into a habitual reaction. But as we begin to catch ourselves more frequently and work with interrupting our habitual patterns, we know that the bodhichitta (compassion) training is seeping in. Our desire to help not just ourselves but all sentient beings will slowly grow.”


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