Looking back, I can see that my biggest obstacle at the time was that I thought of meditation as something that would help me get rid of the parts of myself that I didn’t like. I sincerely hoped that meditation would lead me to happy, peaceful states of mind where panic and fear could not touch me. Yet what my father was leading me to was much more radical than that: He wanted me to see that the only way out of suffering is to move toward it; that the path of true awakening lies in experiencing every single moment, whether pleasant or painful, with complete and unconditional love.
Unconditional love is something we can immediately see the value of when it relates to others, but how often do we think of cultivating unconditional love for ourselves? How often do we not only accept, but even cherish our own tender spots and painful feelings? What my father taught me in those early years was that when we simply let be and open ourselves to the richness of the present moment, we experience every thought, feeling, and experience as an expression of the mind’s luminous nature. From the perspective of awareness, no thought or emotion is any better or any worse than another. They are all manifestations of the mind’s infinite potential.
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, from Losar Greetings from Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Our culture, instead, is all about running from the painful spots, isn’t it? We’re not supposed to feel angry or sad or fearful. It’s all made out to be wrong.
Life is so much more meaningful and it also makes more sense when we embrace the whole spectrum of our human emotional inheritance. That which is painful equally to that which is pleasurable. We cannot really know our intrinsic nature as human beings without doing that. And once we embrace our own nature we have a chance to understand the nature of that which is around us too. It’s all part of who and what we are.