The Practical Buddhist Blog – Practical Advice on Integrating the Practice of Buddhism in Contemporary Life


I have been well-aware of the trauma I have suffered at different times in my life and the impact that it has had on me.  The creation of fear, feeing there’s something wrong with me, insecurity, feeling that I’m not worthy of love or that love is conditional.  Those are certainly core emotions/perspectives that have fed my samsara and which, through the grace of my Buddhist practice, I have been able to free myself from over the course of many years.

But as a reader of my blog will know, there are still moments, all too regularly, when my mind sneaks up on me, causes me to act in ways not in my best interest, causing me and those dearest to me suffering.     Sitting recently with this fact of my life, after someone brought weakness to my attention the night before, I realized with some amazement that I have never used the word “weak” or “weakness” to describe any feelings of mine or the the results, the impact of my trauma.

That word was taboo to me.   I could face all other maladies but that.   Why?  Because it was totally against my self-image.   I had built a self-image of being strong.   And professionally, in my relationship with my work life, I was indeed strong because I was certain of the quality and power of my mental ability.

This reality of my professional life was carried over and was a façade for my personal life.   I knew I had problems stemming from my childhood.   I knew I was insecure, etc. , but I was not weak.

And because I did not identify this affliction, this emotion, all the work that I have done did not heal it, did not free myself from its control.   I have written often that one must identify and name the emotion or action that one has the intent of being free of.   Global intents don’t work.

So now I have named the emotion, “feeling weak. “  And I have found in my meditation that so many things about my daily actions relating to others have become clear to me.   I have stopped lying to myself and to them about what I was feeling when I did what I did.

There is strength and power in just naming and recognizing the force operating against your best interests.    But the real key is when you replace that force with a positive force, in this case “strength.”

Recognizing the strength of my true Buddha nature, my true self, my heart has been part of my mantra for decades, but it was never something I focused on; it was just stated.   Now, however, I have focused on that strength and the light and faith that it is based on.   My strength comes from being sustained by the love of my Buddha nature, my divine essence, within me.

I am aware now in my meditation, that it is only my strength that gives me the ability to be present, to not engage the mind’s endless “what ifs.”  And when I am not in touch with my strength, when my feeling of weakness is in control, I am lost to all my spiritual intents and act towards myself and others in decidedly harmful ways.


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