If you saw last week’s blog post, you know I recently enrolled in an incredible online class from two of today’s foremost mindfulness meditation teachers, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.
In one of the Q&A video sessions, a woman stood up to ask her question. She was struggling with a food addiction. She talked about how it upended her daily life, how much she wanted to change, but found she couldn’t. She asked what advice the teachers had for her.
Tara Brach, in the kindest way, replied that she had a question for the woman.
Of course, as a coach, I was all ears. In my work, I see each day how powerful questions can be, how the right question can connect a person to their wisdom and resourcefulness, and how the wrong question can do just the opposite.
I really wanted to know: what question did Tara Brach, the wise and compassionate teacher I so admire, think was most relevant here?
Would it be about this woman’s willingness to change?
Would it be about the “why” of this addiction, the underlying needs that it filled?
Would it be about whether she had hit rock bottom yet?
Tara’s question wasn’t about any of those things. It was not a question I could have predicted.
She said, “In the midst of the pain of this addiction – and I really do know the pain of it, because addiction has been in the mix in my world – how are you relating to yourself? What’s your way of relating to the fact of, ‘Okay this addiction is here?'”
Tara explained that, in her vast experiences as a therapist and a meditation teacher, often when there’s a major shift for someone, it’s not catalyzed by a change in habits or even in their understanding of the problem. Rather, it’s a change in how the person is talking to themselves, relating to themselves, around whatever they are struggling with.
It was a powerful reminder to me: we can be kinder to ourselves about everything. Acceptance of what’s here now is the foundation for any kind of profound personal change.
So my question for you today is this: whatever you are bothered by most in yourself or in your life, whatever you are struggling with most, can you see you own suffering, your own trying, your own dear heart, and be kinder to yourself about it?
Last but not least, I want to invite you to join me for this incredibly special course. It’s a beautiful format – with video, journaling, and a very special mentorship component.
It’s for anyone who wants to start, or rekindle or strengthen a meditation practice. But beyond that, it’s truly for anyone who wants to feel a greater sense of calm and freedom in their life, and to make wiser, more clear-eyed decisions.
It has done all that for me. I hope you’ll join me! You can learn more here.