“Even suffering is full of possibility.”
-- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel
Hello -- and Happy New Year!
It is my pleasure to continue the publication of Dr. Lee Lipp's Every Now & Then Encouraging Words newsletter and to share an article she'd prepared for you prior to her passing last August. Her teachings on Befriending Your Pain and Finding Ease are timeless, and you might find this issue particularly poignant, given the inauguration of a new president whose election represents a divided country. This moment in time illuminates an opportunity to strive toward better understanding of one another, and as Dr. Lipp taught, such striving necessarily begins with self-reflection. By cultivating awareness of our deeply embedded, patterned behaviors and our triggers for challenging emotions, we can liberate our engagement with the values of kindness and compassion. I hope you find this issue of Encouraging Words to be of value in discovering new possibilities for finding ease.
- Tracy Masington
Dr. Lipp wrote...
In Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel’s* book, The Power of an Open Question, she wrote about befriending our humanness. Here’s a quote from a section (pages 46-47**) called "Embracing Our Humanness," which I found very helpful and pass along to you:
“Accommodating all of it as a practice means embracing our humanness in all its glory and confusion. It means accepting the beauty, ugliness, joy, and pain of the world -- our world -- and all its mystery, ambiguity, and contradiction, too. How do we live a life we can’t hold on to? How do we enjoy a piece of chocolate cake when a child in Africa has cholera? How do we reconcile “me” with “enlightenment”? Who can answer these kinds of questions? No one can. But we can embrace their mystery…
“As we begin the practice of accommodating all of it, we may feel intimidated by the wild and unruly character of our thoughts and emotions. But as we learn to habituate ourselves to openness rather than objectifying things, we come to know the nature of thoughts and emotions. We can’t truly find these things we usually shrink away from or react to. They move and change and arise in dependence upon other things.
“Knowing this loosens up the whole atmosphere of the mind. We may recall that when we first started practicing meditation, we could only relax with about 20 percent of our experience, but as we practiced we could relax with 30 percent...or more. As we practice, we may even develop a passion to understand experiences that have always frightened us -- experiences we’ve tried to avoid. Practice engenders this kind of boldness.
“The practice of accommodating all of it includes all the things we like and don’t like; allows us the freedom to be a full human being without the agitation that comes from trying to sort, manage, and label our experience. If we do this practice for a while, we start to see that even suffering is full of possibility.”
I wonder how you relate to the words above. May they be gateways to paths leading to choices and courage to meet our life in new ways.
* Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel is an author and teacher of the Buddhadharma in the United States and Europe. She is also the wife of Tibetan Buddhist master Dzigar Kongtrül and editor his two books It’s Up to You and Light Comes Through. She has studied and practiced in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for 30 years and completed many years of solitary retreat.
** Shambhala Publications (September 17, 2010)
About the new editor of Every Now And Then Encouraging Words, Tracy Masington, M.A. . . .
I’m a non-sectarian pastoral counselor, artist and writer, with a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology and 20+ years of Buddhist meditation study and practice. My passion for meditation is rooted in determination to keep creativity and possibility alive in the face of living with chronic illness. I work as a creativity catalyst helping others learn meditation to illuminate new possibilities and thrive. More at: www.illuminationarts.info. Lee Lipp was a longtime friend and colleague. I’m happy to continue the publication of her newsletter in celebration of her legacy, the value of “encouraging words,” and the timeless teachings of mindfulness and compassion.
Questions or topic requests for future issues are welcome at email@example.com.
DR. LEE LIPP'S TEACHINGS CONTINUE . . .
ONLINE CLASS Ongoing, start at your convenience.
Befriending Your Pain
Transforming Our Relationship to Depression, Anxiety, Physical & Emotional Pain with
Mindfulness and Compassion. Instruction by: Lee Lipp, David Zimmerman, Paul Irving
Registration: click here
Fee: This course is offered on a sliding scale from $25 - $100.
Full scholarship is available for those who do not have funds. To request scholarship: click here
Finding Ease: A Zen and Mindfulness Approach to Anxiety
Sunday, March 12, 2017 9 AM - 5 PM
Location: San Francisco Zen Center, City Center - 308 Page St. (near Laguna)
Registration: click here
This workshop is led by Dr. Lipp's colleagues, Kanzan David Zimmerman and Paul Irving.
As future workshops are scheduled at SFZC, they are posted here: http://sfzc.org/calendar
DROP-IN PRACTICE CLASS
Thursdays 6-7:30 PM
Location: San Francisco Zen Center, City Center 308 Page St. (near Laguna)
This is a drop-in class for those who have taken the qualifying workshop. No registration required.
Come as often as you are inclined. If you need to arrive a bit late, please enter quietly while we are sitting.
Fee: Sliding scale $15-$20 is collected at the class. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.
How are you cultivating self-compassion today?