A pervasive but often invisible source of suffering in our culture is self-aversion. We are a busy culture, and we move through our life feeling anxious and dissatisfied, but not fully conscious of how we neglect or judge our inner experience. We suffer from a lack of belonging: to our own bodies, to each other and to the earth. When we practice Buddhist meditation, we learn how to listen deeply and hold our life tenderly.
The open space of compassion allows us to realize that our thoughts and emotions are not who we are; they are waves in our ocean. This gives us the freedom to live more wisely and love more fully.
For over thirty years, I've been exploring the awakening of awareness with yoga, meditation, a clinical psychology practice and relationships in spiritual community (sangha). Since the untying of emotional knots is an essential part of "waking up," it is natural for me to weave these elements into my Buddhist practice and teaching. With formal practice, and a genuine engagement in sangha, we can cultivate the qualities of heart and awareness that allow for deep emotional healing and spiritual freedom.
Buddhism guides us in slowing down, quieting and paying attention in an honest and caring way. Through our mindfulness and compassion practices, we establish a sense of intimacy and belonging to our life. We discover that there is no Buddha "out there." Rather, we realize that our true refuge is the wakefulness, openness and love of our own natural awareness.
Each of us has the longing to manifest our full potential--to realize and live from loving, awake awareness. This longing is our inner fire, and when conscious and vibrant, it energizes the spiritual path. In this talk we reflect on how fear obscures and redirects our inner fire, and how practices of presence and wise reflection awaken the power and purity of our longing.
We can only find love and peace in this life if we are able to hold our inner life with compassion. This talk explores the subtle and therefore often unseen ways that we turn on ourselves, and the pathways to a forgiving heart.
Part 1: In this two part series we explore the evolution of consciousness through the lens of three key capacities: A forgiving heart, inner fire (conscious aspiration toward freedom) and self-inquiry.
We all encounter the great losses of our own health and life, and of cherished others. We are conditioned to resist opening to the rawness and grief that comes with loss. This talk describes the refuge of presence in the face of loss, and the gift of timeless love that arises as we make peace with the reality of this living, dying world. [NOTE: Tara was traveling this week, so offering a well-loved talk from 2010.]
Hildegard of Bingen writes, "An interpreted world is not a Home." This talk explores the suffering that arises from believing in an interpreted reality, and the love, aliveness and freedom that becomes accessible as we challenge beliefs and awaken into living presence.
No matter what is happening in our lives, if we relate to our experience with mindful recognition and an allowing presence, it becomes a portal to freedom. In this talk we explore how the cultivation of these wings of presence awakens us from the identification with an egoic self, and reveals the awareness and love that is our true nature.
This talk traces the story of the Buddha's awakening, and reflects on four key archetypal elements that are relevant for each of us as we come home to our true nature. There is a particular emphasis on how these elements enable us to encounter challenges in relationships and find our way to openhearted presence.
Includes music honoring the launch of Tara's new book, True Refuge: vocal by La Sarmiento and Guru Ganesha with his Kirtan band.
Our conscious aspiration toward awakening is what energizes the spiritual path. This talk reviews the main characteristic of a vital aspiration, the conditioning that obscures our deepest intentions and offers guided reflections to connect us with what most matters.
When we forget who we are, we are living in a trance that is characterized by suffering. This talk explores the genesis of this trance, and the transformation that is possible as we bring forgiveness and mindful presence to the afflictive emotions that naturally arise.
If we are suffering it is because we are believing something that is not true. This talk explores the genesis of our core beliefs and the investigation, mindfulness and compassion that can release their grip.