Our deficits are shaped and sustained by innumerable forces. Many of us are born with genetic tendencies towards anxiety, aggression, or depression; we are brought up in cultures that are plagued by addiction and violence, by deception and greed. Our environment is full of pollutants that affect our nervous system in innumerable and unknowable ways. Our families of origin are beset by financial difficulties, by conflict and misunderstanding, by trauma carried through past generations. And, crucially, how we treat ourselves and others is moulded by how our own caretakers attended to us. Some interplay of these forces generates the first arrow of painful emotions and compulsive behaviors.
If we become mindful of how our experience arises from a complex array of causes, we are at the threshold of an important insight: The compelling emotions that shape our self sense are actually impersonal. Just as recurring blizzards or droughts don’t target a particular farm, our inner emotional weather is not owned by or controlled by this particular body and mind. Rather, it arises from causes beyond our individual existence….
Even a taste of this truth, a whisper of “It’s not my fault,” loosens the identification with self blame, and it allows us to have more compassion for our actual experience. If we can stop condemning our imperfection, we can reconnect with the healing warmth of our Buddha-hearts. And this opens the door to change.
Contacting the truth of our own suffering is what cracks the heart open to self compassion and forgiveness. (We are not bad people for being beset by diffficulties or deficits, just the opposite.)
“God looks beyond our fault and sees our need.”
What if we could recognise our faults and look to see what is beyond them? What if we could see, with great tenderness, the painful umet needs that have shaped our behaviors? For many of us, this process is the work of a lifetime, one that requires the active support of loved ones, therapists, spiritual teachers, or healers. Yet it begins the moment we are willing to look at ourselves through the eyes of compassion.
The Gateway of Love
(Taken from True Refuge : Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart)