What I most love in my teaching practice is seeing students become dedicated to their own liberation. As their spiritual practice matures, people light up from within when they begin to understand that personal freedom is possible. This commitment to freedom on the part of the student inspires me to find ways to express my deepest understanding and enthusiasm for liberation.
The mindfulness teachings of the Buddha are among the more direct, practical meditation techiques that we can cultivate. My focus is on sharing these practices in an accessable, down-to-earth way. How can we disengage from our habits of responding to the world through veils of confusion, greed, and hatred?
Mindfulness practice helps us recognize when we are responding to the world from the mental and emotional habits that obscure our true home, our radiant nature, which manifests as compassion and love. The Buddha's teachings show us that we are not isolated individuals who need to live defensive lives. Rather, we can learn to trust and live from our full potential as compassionate members of a connected planet.
The Buddha often said that keeping company with lovely and wise people is one of the most supportive qualities for our path of awakening. One of the first of our sincere practices, where we can also begin, is to be lovely friends for others in this world. How our practice is developing the qualities that make a spiritual friend.
The natural expression of emptiness or anatta is compassion or friendliness. This motivation of heart develops naturally as wisdom and mindfulness deepen and we cannotice this happening both in retreat and in our daily lives.
Our habit of aversion stems from our not deeply understanding the First Noble Truth, -and thus reacting to difficulty with various forms of denial, resistance, avoidance. When we see that our tendency to judge ourselves is based on misunderstanding the way things are, we can open to our experience with more wisdom and compassion.
Seeing that the heart of our practice stems from our motivation rather than from achieving certain experiences. Mindfulness enables us to shift our attitude from self-centered striving to one of confidence in awareness.