Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Running around, looking for my Buddha nature

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I’m up early. Before the crack of dawn. I love it. I feel energized and excited about a new day, about being alive and having the opportunity to contribute, learn, and receive.

I get dressed and make my tea. Green tea. Yum.

Then I hear the alarm on my phone go off. First softly, then loudly. I rush toward the sound, I don’t want my husband to wake up. It gets louder, the closer I get to the bathroom.

As soon as I think I am getting close, the sound fades. Shoot! So where is it? I don’t want it to go off next to his ear. I feel relieved to hear it again, in the kitchen. That makes sense, it must be on the counter, where I made my tea.

And again, as soon as I think I am close, the sound subsides. No! My husband worked late last night and needs his sleep. Where is my phone?!

The sound increases, in the dining room. I look around, more frantic now. Nothing to be found nowhere.

Then it dawns on me. My cell phone has been in my pocket the whole time.

My alarm sounds like ocean waves rolling on the beach: softer and louder with each wave coming in and fading away. The precious thing I was looking for, was right there in my jeans all the time.

It made me think of a story Pema Chodron tells in “When Things Fall Apart”. It’s about a woman who’s sent out into the world with only a coat. She ends up destitute, with no means to support even her basic needs for survival. She complains about her poverty. Her coat goes to shreds, and in the hem she finds diamonds. Plenty enough to sell and support her.

That woman is me, running around, looking for my Buddha nature, my Christ essence, my basic goodness. All the while, I’m stuck in my anger, fear, jealousy, and judge myself for having these feelings.

I hope there comes a moment where I realize that I had Buddha nature all along, buried in my hardened heart. The place where I stop, connect, and celebrate my innate compassionate nature. Where I acknowledge my love, care and gratitude as “enough conditions to be happy”. Where I see my happiness and suffering as expressions of our shared humanity.

Our shared humanity with people I like, and people I don’t like. People who think and vote like me, and people who do the opposite. People whose words and actions are in alignment with my values, and people who speak and act in ways that conflict with my dreams for our world.

I imagine that when I am grounded in my own goodness, I can offer my insight to help others see theirs. To help them pause, take a breath, and smile at life.

I think that thàt is the best gift I can give to others.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Running around, looking for my Buddha nature

  1. well said: I imagine that when I am grounded in my own goodness, I can offer my insight to help others see theirs. To help them pause, take a breath, and smile at life.

    I think that thàt is the best gift I can give to others.

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  2. It was interesting that I happened upon your post. I have been struggling with much the same kind of thing of late. Trying to remain mindful in a world that preaches mindfulness on blogs and status updates but doesn’t really honour it. It is a practice every day to ensure that we are mindful of our hidden gems-because in the end, these are the things that will save our lives. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Hi Fenn,

      What a delight to read your response. Yes, mindfulness is the new ‘hip’ these days, and I believe there is also a lot of confusion around it. Reminding ourselves of our basic goodness, even if our actions fall short of our aspirations is an important element of the practice for me. Another element (which I learned from Rick Hanson) is to be mindful of all that is good around me, all my needs met for beauty, safety, nourishment, love, belonging. Being in nature (or even in my own back yard) helps a lot with that.

      Good luck on your path. We might never get to the top, and we can always keep moving forward. With loving-kindness, Elly.

      Liked by 1 person

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