Sunday, 10 February 2008

"I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. "

I've been writing affirmations in my journal at the beginning of each month for years, but to be honest, they always felt forced and fake. Saying them to myself felt stupid, so I would write them, forget about them, glance at them with a guilty feeling every week or so, then reluctantly churn out a new set at the beginning of the next month. What good did that do me? What a useless exercise. Time to try something new!

Aspiration practice is different from affirmations. Affirmations are like telling yourself that you are brave and compassionate in order to hide the fact that you secretly feel like a loser. In practising the four limitless qualities, we aren't trying to convince ourselves of anything, nor are we trying to hide our true feelings. We are expressing our willingness to open our hearts and move close to our fears. Aspiration practice helps us to do this in increasingly difficult relationships.

~Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You


(The four limitless qualities are loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.)

Affirmations are like screaming that you are okay in order to overcome this whisper that you are not. That's a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realising that it's passing memory, and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you're not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It's not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes.

~Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are


This is my contemplation for the week.

"Giving up hope is the most important ingredient for developing sanity and healing. As long as you're wanting to be thinner, smarter, more enlightened, less uptight, or whatever it might be, somehow you're always going to be approaching your problem with the very same logic that created it to begin with: that you're not good enough. That's why the habitual pattern never unwinds itself when you're trying to improve, because you go about it in exactly the same habitual style that caused all the pain to start.

...Whether you get meditation instruction from the Theravada tradition or the Zen tradition or the Vajrayana tradition, the basic instruction is always about being awake in the present moment. What they don't tell you is that the present moment can be you, this you about whom you sometimes don't feel very good. That's what there is to wake up to."

~Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are

When am I ever going to learn this lesson? What have affirmations ever got me, other than the uneasy feeling of lying to myself? It's time to embrace the truth of the matter. Am I ever going to be a grown-up, to be 'completely at home in my world, no matter how difficult the situation'? When am I going to know that I'm doing or thinking something because I want to and not because I ought to?

When I stop fighting it, that's when! I start where I am. I refresh my perspective. I already have everything I need.


We are one blink of an eye from being fully awake. Be at ease.

1 comment:

Fat-Free Vegan said...

"As long as you're wanting to be thinner, smarter, more enlightened, less uptight, or whatever it might be, somehow you're always going to be approaching your problem with the very same logic that created it to begin with: that you're not good enough."

That particular portion of your post caught my eye -- especially having just posted about wondering why I bother to keep trying to get healthy and fit. You always give me much to think about Carla, and I do appreciate it.