The third wheel of attention in meditation, according to Chogyam Trungpa, is making friends with yourself.
After six months of daily sitting using the technique of whole body awareness, I have gotten views of my whole life that have deepened my compassion for myself and for other human beings.
When I was a child, under the surface of civility and compliance, all sorts of disturbing awarenesses arose. Confusion, doubt, helplessness, inarticulateness.
For instance, at times I concluded that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I was being judged and didn’t meet the standard, that no one understood me, that it was not enough just to be myself, that what I felt didn’t count.
These are painful thoughts to think and feel about oneself. Yet show me the person who has never experienced this.
These thoughts occasionally arise even now, on and off the cushion, and I now am quite aware of the emotional pain that accompanies them.
Maybe the most worthy response to awareness of suffering is compassion. I don’t believe there is really a purpose for suffering. It just happens as part of the human experience. And, it is often a catalyst for growth.
So for all children, and for all those who have survived childhood, I feel compassion. It is hard to grow up. If you’re reading this, congratulations on making it.
I notice fluctuation in how I feel about myself. Some days, full of confidence and vigor, other days, full of doubt and sorrow. Many days, both. Whatever it is now will change.
Part of making friends with myself is beginning to see how I create my own suffering. How I have punished myself, how I have viewed myself as being much smaller than I really am.
I have sold myself out by not dreaming big enough and believing in my dreams.
I can now stop doing that each time I become aware of it. It feels great each time I stretch into my Large Self!
I love this quote from Mark Twain:
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
The task now is to know which ones never happened, and to respect the ones that did happen and note their lessons, and all let these past troubles go.