This talk explores how the heart can awaken in mindful contact with the fundamental aspects of life - anicca, anatta and dukkha. To embody the awakening heart we need to understand and end the harmful force of shame and self-judgement. When there is an emerging inner climate of kind and attuned presence, the heart awakens itself.
All central issues of our life are located in the heart. Having explored the heart-capacities of compassion and joy in the previous evening's talk, this talk turns to another facet of heart-presence: true strength and life zest - to be turned on to be in life, turned on to the truth. How does distorted strength, expressed as inner hardness and anger, and the flip side of strength, weakness and helplessness, relate to authentic strength? How can we harness and and make alive the lions roar of the heart? One particular area where we need some courage and guts is in the exploration and work with shame, guilt and self-judgement. What do you feel guilty about? What is unforgivable in your life? What does guilt and shame do to you, and what is a wise and skillful approach to deal with this "inner swamp-land"? How can we make our heart and mind a good place to live, free from shame and self-harm?
When we simply pause instead of immediately filling up the space, we are called to meet, taste and endure the feeling of emptiness and deficiency. The gift of an authentic willingness to be present with the difficult, without moving beyond our window or capacity of presence, opens up real space and the the satisfying substantiality of the heart; objective compassion, joy and the pleasure of being. Compassion nourishes the attitude of "this too can be here", heals the split between head and heart, and supports us to be present in a robust way. Joy helps us orient inwards instead of externalizing satisfaction and meaning, until we wake up to the knowing that the deepest intimacy is presence.
The word "intimate" means "to make known". What do we wish to make known, to make real and alive? What does it mean to be intimate with oneself and life? The talk touches on the importance of making a turn towards the retreat: to value simplicity, silence, being and and attitude of loving care.