His shoulders sagged. He was tired. He knew he messed up—and big. Nothing he said to himself made him feel better. Cheating on his girlfriend made him sick. He didn’t even love the other woman. In fact, if he never saw her again, he’d be happy. His girlfriend possessed everything he ever wanted from a woman. Her sweet nature and grace captivated him the first time he met her. And she was the goofiest, funniest person he knew. They laughed often and hard. So why? Why did he do it? He felt he deserved nothing. He felt worthless.
She curled into a ball, the quilt that her mama made her twisting into her. If she could follow her mama, she would. Life without her seemed impossible. She prayed for the oblivion of sleep to take her far far away.
Bombs shook the ground. The little girl clung to her older brother. He was the only one left. Her brother held her, but she could feel the quiver of his muscles. The children just wanted to smell their mama’s cooking and hear their papa laugh again. War is hell.
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Suffering… It comes to each of us, in micro and macro doses. As I’ve promised from the beginning of launching The Creator’s Compass, I will not sugarcoat things. There is too much of that in modern spiritual dialogue. But I do understand and empathize with the sugarcoating. After all, we tend to gravitate towards words that soothe us. It comes from a good place of craving to relieve our pains and the pains of others, from the seemingly insignificant crying of a newborn baby, to the fear of a terminally ill person. In the end, we all want peace and joy.
I believe, down into the marrow of my bones, that true relief from suffering comes to us by both letting go of control, in all senses of that phrase, and intellectual study. These two practices are not easy, to put it lightly. But both raise our awareness of Source. In Buddhist understanding, when our awareness unfurls into its unbounded expanse, suffering transforms into wisdom and compassion.
How do you practice letting go of control? I can think of a few major categories of merging into a state of letting go, of flowing, of letting be what is: Prayer, meditative movement, formal meditation, actively loving without expectations, and creative expression.
In Tibet, there is a figure called Green Tara, a fully enlightened female buddha, born from the tear of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of immeasurable compassion. Tara embodies pure active compassion, ready to step into anyone’s suffering and help them find their worth, and immense innate beauty that no mistake or hideous situation can sully or even touch.
In the stories of Green Tara, she is youthful, beautiful, cloaked in green and adorned in jewels. Typically, you will see her sitting crossed-legged, with one foot extended out symbolizing her active compassion to all sentient beings who are afraid and suffering.
Prayers to Green Tara are very common in the Tibetan Buddhist community, and, in this way, she serves as a means of letting go of control. She isn’t a “real” being in the normal way we think as real. She is a representation of an aspect of ultimate reality. The practice of Green Tara so beautifully and gently brings us back home to our eternal never-sullied-by-any-action-or-circumstance nature.
Green Tara’s mantra is— OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.
A common prayer to Green Tara is — “I pray to noble lady Tara. Please take care of us and protect us from all suffering and fear.”
Some of us are curled into the suffering of a loss right now. Some of us are trapped in war, huddled with loved ones in absolute terror. Some of us have face-planted in the mud of unsavory behavior. There is so much suffering. When I am able not to weep for all that non-stop suffering and remember our untouchable nature, there is a softening in my awareness, an opening, an exhale of faith that life is good.
As a way to sink my feet deeper into the ground of loving-kindness for others and for myself, I painted Green Tara in watercolor. What emerged was strictly my interpretation, deviating from original Tibetan depictions. I enjoyed breaking free from the expected norm, finding my own artistic voice.
I hope, if you have suffering, that your pain softens with the comfort of Source’s unbounded love for you. OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA💚
I send you light and love,
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