Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The warrior of the heart

For all you tough guys (and gals) who believe that opening the heart is best reserved for sissies and fools, here’s some wise counsel from the Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa. (No stranger to toughness, Trungpa, like the Dalai Lama and thousands of other Tibetans, escaped from his homeland when the Chinese invaded and walked across the Himalayas over a series of precipitous mountain passes to India.)
In his book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, he explains that facing your fear and negativity and being willing to keep your heart open — even in the most challenging circumstances — takes tremendous courage. Although you probably think of warriors as impenetrable, unfeeling, and heavily defended, Trungpa takes the opposite view. The sacred warrior who practices meditation, he suggests, is not afraid to feel tender — or to communicate this tenderness to others.
The point is, you can take care of yourself —even defend yourself from harm, when necessary — without closing your heart. An open heart doesn’t make you powerless or ineffectual. Quite the contrary, it allows you to respond to situations wisely and skillfully because you feel others’ suffering as well as your own.

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