Learning to Embrace the Messy and Cherish the Happy
Many of us want to find a way to attribute disappointments in life to ourselves. If it is our fault, we can fix it. And while failure is terrible, the other option– realizing that it is not our fault– is even worse because it carries with it the obligation of accepting that we are not in control of everything that happens to us or those we love. And that idea is contrary to everything we are taught growing up. Read More
The Control Enthusiast
Some folks refer to him as a control freak, but he prefers to think of himself as a “Control Enthusiast.” As this article explores, control enthusiasts expend a tremendous amount of energy trying to plan, predict, and prevent things that we cannot possibly plan, predict, or prevent. Read More
The trial was difficult. I had known it would be. The result was the worst thing that could have happened, and as far as I could tell, nothing I had done had affected the outcome in any way. And I had worked so hard! Suddenly I was furious. Read More
No One Brings Dinner when your Daughter is an Addict
When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, we ate well. The outpouring of support was remarkable. We had a very different experience when, ten years later, my daughter was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and alcoholism. Read More.
The Gift of Presence, The Perils of Advice
Advice-giving comes naturally to our species, and is mostly done with good intent. But in my experience, the driver behind a lot of advice has much more to do with self-interest than interest in the other’s needs. For guidance on how to support those you know who may be struggling with depression. Read More.
Something to Consider
The point of compassion is not to eliminate suffering, but to lead a person to the truth (of a situation or condition) so that he/she will be able to see it as it really is. Much of the time, the truth is painful or scary. Compassion makes it possible to tolerate that hurt and fear that comes with seeing the truth. In fact, it is only when compassion is present that people allow themselves to face the truth. Where there is no compassion, there will be no trust. If someone is compassionate toward you, you trust him enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to see the truth rather than reject it. The compassion doesn’t alleviate the pain; it makes the pain meaningful, makes it part of the truth, makes it tolerable. Only then can we begin to make conscious changes to address the situation, begin to recover, or deepen our recovery, which, in turn, leads to great freedom and joy. But the gateway is not the promise of freedom and joy, it is the steady holding of compassion.
Adapted from a talk given by A.H. Almaas