Teen Buddha

an open discussion, extending old methods for modern problems

Tag: acceptance

The Urge to Run Away

Often times when we find ourselves in unpleasant situations our first reaction is to flee. Family houses can be loud, uncomfortable and hectic places, and sometimes I find myself wishing to disappear. Though some might call this a healthy conclusion that may help me grow and move away one day, there is something else to be gained from this experience besides motivation.

Going beyond the initial thought of “let’s get out of here! retreat, retreat!” we can sit a bit longer in the situation. Simply observing the chaos, and noticing our aversion, our distaste with the situation.

You might feel this need to escape from family and home, from loud and crowded places or from difficult people. And it is okay to step away for a time, to collect yourself quietly and take space. But it is also wise to realize that situations like these will always be around. As we step into the world we experience many overstimulating and uncomfortable instances. It is a fact of life.

By stopping and noticing our predicament we create a little bit of space for inquiry. To view the scene ahead of you with a sense of light inquiry, with a non judging view, can shift the reactions you are strongly feeling. What happens when we swim against an ocean current? We end up fighting the waves, exhausting ourselves in the process. Sure, we can simply remove ourselves from the water at times, but other times we cannot. That is why it is helpful to learn to swim with the current.

We can swim with the current by accepting things as they are, by realizing the fleetingness of the situation and by choosing to respond with love. Sometimes my family members are loud when I am trying to do something quietly, or interrupt me when I am concentrating, or reprimand me when I am having a hard day. But it is my choice how I react.

Sometimes I think of it this way: we are living in an after image. Everyone around us, everything we react to is already gone. The way we respond and the feelings we reply with are with us forever. When the mirage of the problems we face go away, we are only left with our strong unhappiness, our anger, our resentment.

I do not want to hold onto these ways of feeling, so I let them go before they are fully triggered. I try to choose how I want to feel about the situation, I realize I’m holding everything. It is my choice what I choose to hold. 





What Is Compassion?

A pink lotus flower and lily pads with saturated color

When asked by his attendant Ananda”Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is a part of our practice?” The Buddha replied, “No. It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice.”


We might consider compassion an emotion we have not felt enough. We are certainly not saints and we are very caught up in our own narratives. Yet still we all feel compassion, in ways small and large. Whether we might feel the urge to lessen an animals pain, or a comfort a weeping child, loving kindness is a quality we have experienced before.

The Dalai Lama says that compassion is inherent in our nature. It begins with birth, and our mother. Compassion comes with a sense of selflessness, the sort a mother feels for her baby. At such a young age we experience a great amount of love. We start life with this sort of relationship. We are small and helpless, and someone cares for us when we cannot use words or walk, or hold up our heads.

But what about the idea of self love?

Self compassion is a radical thought. Why worry about “loving” ourselves? Isn’t that selfish? Isn’t that what ego is all about? No. I would argue that self loathing is just another form of self obsession and that in accepting ourselves we disrupt this pattern. This pattern of: “Why can’t I be more ___? Why can’t I stop these habitual thoughts? Why can’t I be less full of ego? Why can’t I be good?” Instead of fighting to get over ourselves or putting ourselves down- we forgive ourselves.

A sort of healing takes place when we stop and say, “Its okay.” “You are still worthy of love and happiness, regardless of your negative qualities” Besides, we know ourselves best, and that means we judge ourselves very harshly. By creating a wave of love for ourselves, and beginning where we are – we find that all of this rubbish, this “baggage” is compost for growth.

It is what makes us beautiful.

How could we ever begin to love someone else unconditionally unless we offer this acceptance to the one we know best? It begins with compassion for ourselves. Right now.

Not when we are successful, or when we break our bad habits, or when we achieve something in the future. But now, when we think we deserve it the very least. Now, when we are hurting and judging and afraid.

If we can begin to appreciate the good qualities about ourselves, and view the difficult ones as compost- we are finally at peace with ourselves. Instead of falsely holding up things we think define us like our jobs or social standing; instead of thinking these external labels are what make us good, we instead draw attention to the inherent beauties we have. Our patience, our kindness, our sense of justice, our ability to constantly rise from depression and sadness.

When we appreciate our inherent goodness, we are celebrating the inherent goodness of all beings. When we are experiencing our own suffering, we are sharing in the suffering of all beings. When we feel compassion for ourselves, we feel compassion for all beings. In this way, it is all of our practice.