Category Archives: Reflection

Reflection: Pausing and Deepening Attention in the Face of Attachment (10:48 min.)

In this short reflection, we explore how we can bring mindfulness and self-compassion to the habits of obsessing, over-consuming and hurting ourselves and others that keep us from true happiness, connectedness and peace.

The happiness we seek is available in the moments when there is really no clinging, there is simply openness and presence and ease.

Listen to the full talk, “The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Working with Attachments and Addictions.”

Without desire everything is sufficient.
With seeking myriad things are impoverished.
Plain vegetables can soothe hunger.
A patched robe is enough to cover this bent old body.
Alone I hike with the deer.
Cheerfully I sing with village children.
The stream under the cliff cleanses my ears.
The pine on the mountain top fits my heart

Zen Poet, Ryokan

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Meditation: RAIN on Self-Blame (9:45 min.)

One of the greatest roots of suffering is being at war with ourselves. This meditation, based on the acronym RAIN (recognize-allow-investigate-nurture), guides us in releasing the armoring of blame, and relating to our inner life with greater understanding and compassion.

“Letting yourself sense the space of kindness and presence that can arise that can hold what’s there. And you might ask yourself, “Who would you be if you trusted your goodness? Who would you be if you sensed there is nothing really wrong? How would your life be if you were without anxiety about non-perfection, if you basically trusted okayness?”

Listen to the full talk here: Forgiveness: Releasing Ourselves and Others from Aversive Blame – Part 1

More Resources on RAIN here.

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Tara Talks – Guided Reflection: Coming Home with Attend and Befriend (6:34 min.)

When are caught in our conditioned escape strategies, we feel separated from what we most care about. In moments when we deepen our attention and bring a kind presence to the life inside of us, we come home to the truth of our belonging.

Listen and watch Tara’s full talk: Attend and Befriend: Healing the Fear Body

Reflection: Learning to Stay (4:41 min.)

We open the door to healing by bringing a mindful and kind attention to inner vulnerability and fear…

“Learning to stay opens up the space that gives us our life. That’s when it becomes real with our inner life… with others. Let’s do a brief reflection on this.

Closing your eyes and just to take a pause together. Notice what’s right here. What is happening inside me right now? That question… and… Can I let it be? Can I let it be just as it is?

One sage asked, “What have we been unwilling to feel?” You might sense and scan your life a little, and sense… What’s going on that you’ve been in some way not wanting to feel? What vulnerability? What fear? What sorrow?

For these moments let your intention be just to stay a bit… to offer that attention that can truly transform.

You might deepen your attention a little and feel where whatever might be vulnerable… might be scared… might be sad… is living in your body.

Just for these few moments, offer a genuinely kind attention. And that means that if you’d like to also offer a gesture of kindness – that can be a really powerful part of staying – simply putting your hand in your heart… two hands on your heart so that you are really communicating inwardly, I’m here right now. I’m here and attending. I’m with you.

Notice what changes… in just a few moments of offering attention to something that you might habitually pull away from.

Rumi says, “Keep your gaze on the wounded place. This is where the light enters.”

Sensing what happens as you offer your presence, and perhaps noticing more of what I sometimes call heart space… that you’re resting in a more open, tender awareness.

This is the first pathway. Learning to stay begins to open us to our secret beauty… to that tenderness… that compassion… or as Thomas Merton says, “To the divine that shines through.”

Now as you like, you can relax your hands down if your hands have been on your heart and open your eyes if you’d like.”

Listen and watch the full talk: “Secret Beauty – Seeing the Goodness” – Solstice Evening

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Tara Talks: Guided Reflection on Inhabiting This Body (12:50 min)

When we are not inhabiting our bodies, we are not experiencing our full aliveness. When pain arises, how much can you open to it and let it be as it is? Just like waves in the ocean, pain and unpleasant sensations are part of the larger space of our lived experience. Loving presence arises when we can say, “This belongs.”

For Tara’s full talk, go to: Awakening Our Body’s Awareness – Part 2 – (Working with Pain)

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Tara Talks – Reflection: Installing a Beneficial Mind-State (6:53 min.)

What state of heart or mind do you wish you could experience more regularly? Is it peace? Gratitude? Love? You can apply your meditation to transform passing states into enduring traits.

In this short video, Tara will guide you in a practice to rewire your brain, body and mind for increased access to full loving. You can apply this same process to any innate capacity you want to cultivate.

Listen: Reflection: Cultivating a Loving Heart (7:10 min.)

For Tara’s full talk, go to: True Resilience – Part 2: Awakening through All Circumstances

Tara Talks – Guided Reflection: From “If Only” Trance to Open-Hearted Presence (7:47 min.)

When we notice that we’re in the trance of “if-only” mind, we can choose to re-open and surrender to what is right here. When we make that U-Turn and stay with our experience with kindness, we find a sense of goodness in that presence. This is the beginning of joy.

Listen to and watch the full talk: Joy – Part 3 of Present Heart: The Universal Expressions of Love

Reflection: Cultivating a Loving Heart (7:10 min.)

Reflection: Cultivating a Loving Heart –

Love is an innate capacity, and when we intentionally cultivate it, love shifts from a state to a trait. This meditation offers guidance on how to access love, and open ourselves to it in a way that serves this awakening of our hearts.

“Know that you’re rewiring your brain, your heart, your body, your mind – and that the more times you do this, the more you really give it 20 or 30 seconds to feel the loving directly, the more access you have to this very innate capacity in your being.”

Listen to the full talk: True Resilience – Awakening through All Circumstances – Part 2

photo: Digwen –

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Meditation: Blessings of Love (11:26 min)

A blessing is whatever reminds us of the sacred loving presence that shines through all of us. This meditation is a transformational practice in receiving and offering blessings. First we connect with the vulnerable tender place within us that longs to feel loved, and call on loving presence to bless us. By imagining and allowing ourselves to receive love, our hearts become open and filled with light. We then bring that inner loving presence fully alive as we offer blessings to other beings. The image of receiving a kiss on the brow, and offering one, is suggested as a powerful channel for the blessings that awaken our heart. (from the end of Bodhichitta – the Awakened Heart – Part 1 talk on same evening)

“…being loved into being more who we are is a moment of blessing. What is a blessing? A blessing is a reminder or homecoming into more realness – more love. We’re blessed when we remember.”

“Part of what keeps us from realness – in that small self identity – is the avoiding of what’s here.”

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Reflection: Transforming Suffering & Awakening the Heart (12:45 min.)

[Excerpt from Darkness of the Womb – Four Key Steps in Transforming Suffering a talk given on January 25, 2017.]

[read the full transcript: Darkness of the Womb: Four Key Steps in Transforming Suffering – a transcription]

There is power and potential in a time of darkness to remind us of what we really cherish. In this reflection, we practice ways of paying attention that can help us transform suffering into freedom, in our own lives and in the world around us.

The reflection closes with a reading of “School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman:

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.[1]

[1] Ackerman, D. (2000). School Prayer. In I Praise My Destroyer (p. 3). New York, NY: Vintage Books.

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