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How does love act faced with the unbearable?


The Dalai Lama says that compassion is to bear the unbearable.
How do we do that? How do we bear the unbearable?

We all have places where we contract and close in fierce resistance.
One of my strongest challenges is the pornography/human trafficking industry, its abuse of innocent children and selling of women.

For many years I worked as a therapist for teenagers who had been involved with prostitution from a very young age. I got to know how precious and fragile these girls were in their early womanhood. Their hopes for the future where often covered over by a hard shell of cynicism. They had prematurely lost their childhood, their vulnerability turned to shame. But deep in their hearts, their innocence was still undeniably beautiful.

When I feel into how this innocence had been brutally crushed and abused, my whole being screams in pain and murderous rage. In my incapacity to accept this part of existence my immediate impulse is to close down. My body gets hard, my jaw tense. I feel a desperate resistance in my whole body, and thoughts of hatred toward “the abusers” run in turbo loops.

As my practice has deepened I have started to become aware of this contraction, the isolation and insanity of it. I recognize that this state I freeze into is the very state that creates abuse. It is this contraction and the incapacity to empathize with others and ourselves that turns us into abusers.

Feelings keep rolling in as I deepen this practice, but now I can bring awareness to them. I can’t help feeling the rage and pain, but I can feel it in open presence, connected with the love infusing everything.

I can recognize that the man (I am using a man as an example here because the majority of people who have sex with children are men, but I do not by any means want to implicate that men in general are abusers) who has his way with a twelve-year-old girl or boy is moving in, and is made of, the same love.

In his way he is longing for the same connection we all are, but he has isolated himself from his source, which is our common source. He has not learned how he can feel his sexuality and his inferiority, his loneliness and his anger in a conscious way. Thus being hostage to the unbearable he fails to keep faith with his dignity.

Should he be held responsible for his actions?
Yes, absolutely, but can I stay rooted in a space beyond the brutal gratification of pointing my finger?

Can I feel in him the unstained land where he and I meet in wide-eyed recognition, the place where our differences become transparent? I practice feeling my rage and pain, feeling my unwillingness to accept, and feeling the open presence in which all this is happening. With practice, the cycle of reactivity is broken, and we become part of the awakened solution instead of enabling the very trance that makes us so bitterly betray each other—the trance of separation.


The text above is from my book Embodying the Feminine


:: Practice ~ Feel-Kiss-Flow

Where do you contract and close down in intolerance?
Where do you divide life?
Where do you say, “This, and not that”?

This practice will help you to move from being stuck
in the mental story about a feeling,
and into the actual feeling itself.
It cultivates the capacity to stay present with feelings,
even strong ones, so they can flow through,
and you can stay in the flow of wisdom.

Feel –     the feeling, any feeling, as a sensation in the body…
Kiss –     touch the sensation with your breath,
as if you would kiss it with the breath from the inside…
Flow-     now the feeling has space to flow.
When feelings are allowed to flow they change very quickly

Practice to remain open and connected to your own presence and love, 

even while feeling things we normally would not call loving.

Don’t confuse this deeper connection to a love that embraces opposites
with “feeling” love.
The love that is here 
when the contraction of intolerance relaxes
is not a feeling state.

It is the ungraspable web that connects us all.
It is the mobility behind all movements.
It is where all your desires come to a rest,
no longer a frightened person 
hiding behind a protective wall of hostility,
you are home.

With Love, always