Seeing ourselves intimately is the beginning, middle and end of our healing journey. In our Friends With The Mind course this week, I shared at the end what I now know to be true. We are all basically good and there is nothing we need to be afraid of in our experience. We can see and heal it all.
To a child, not being seen is a survival level threat and we develop core deficiency beliefs of being unlovable or unworthy based on our experience. In this part of my interview with Dr Rick Hanson, we were talking about meditation as a way of seeing ourselves. We are both drawn to getting to know ourselves intimately and afraid of what we might find.
The answer lies in becoming friends within. What makes a good friend? Someone who listens and really pays attention to us. There is no judging or shaming. They encourage us to be authentic. They don’t betray us by gossip. They see from a broader perspective and understanding of how life works, and they don’t blame us or write us off for having perfectly understandable reactions like shutting down or anger in response to pain, abuse and neglect. They like us and love us. They don’t just tolerate us — they appreciate us! They see our good heart, our tender heart, our innocence. They wish us joy and are happy for our good fortune.
Kindness and compassion are the ground of being friends with ourselves. We are not responsible for what was planted in our childhood and earlier in our lives. On a very practical level, in this moment, we work with what is. We might have a nervous system very impacted by trauma. A rigid jaw. Catastrophic thinking that further alarms us. We have habits and addictions that have helped us to survive and we are becoming aware of the immense cost of numbing and distraction. We want to change and there are many ways to support ourselves in that, including relaxation practices, developing a healthy pattern of diaphragmatic breathing, walking in nature, making time for good self-care and nurturing friendships. The most important and fundamental friendship is within.
Deep down, do you have criteria you are not meeting that make you unworthy of your own compassion? Set aside who was to blame for now, what your part may have been, or what you blame yourself for. Open to the reality of it all, with kindness and compassion. Lean in to the way it feels to look back with deep regret. Have compassion for the young person who felt so alone, unprotected and unseen. Let yourself feel.
Safety IS the treatment and it is as we feel safe enough that we are able to allow it in, to get to intimately know ourselves. We learn from direct experience that the intense energies in our body are stored trauma. They are not here to hurt us. They long to be seen, acknowledged, healed.
The Living Inquiries have been an important pathway to my own healing. I have the blessing of supporting others on their journey to becoming seen and known to themselves. Becoming our own friend is the most important work we can do.
Join me any day at 8AM Eastern for our online meditation group. http://zoom.us/j/645904638