Who I turn to for strength when I feel overwhelmed

November 4, 2019   |   Leave a reply  |   FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

The meditation begins at 4:40
Audio only version is here.

Hello, wonderful Open Heart Project,

I end every weekly meditation by thanking you for practicing with me, and for practicing together. Those are not empty notions. I get so much from knowing that you and I are doing this together.

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to interview the wonderful vipassana meditation teacher, Tara Brach. In addition to teaching around the world, she has a large community in the Washington, D.C. area. Every week, hundreds show up to practice and study with her. She is also a psychotherapist, so she has a very nuanced view of how to be of service.

Though I managed to avoid turning her into my personal therapist throughout most of the interview, at the end, I asked her what was actually my own most pressing question:

Tara Brach, what do you tell your students who suffer from “compassion fatigue?”

I imagined she would answer with a quotation from a sutra or a teaching on equanimity. But without hesitation, she said “sangha.” (Sanskrit for community.) As soon as she did, I realized what may be most important about our practice: it joins us to a community of people we can draw strength from. And love! And irritation! And confusion! And the possibility of healing! We’re human, after all. There is something about this great mix held within the context of meditation practice that is able to pick us up when we can’t do it for ourselves. So, who do I turn to for strength when I feel overwhelmed? You.

THANK YOU. And you and you and you.

For more on this topic, please check out this week’s video and then let’s practice together.

So much love, Susan

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