Our relationship with our self has a big range of implications in our life. This week I’d like to draw out in our discussion the interactions between self acceptance, ideas of self, and how that relates to our ideas of integrating practice in our lives (outside of LMC meetings).
There are two ways we can look at self acceptance (to my mind).The most obvious is by considering all the ways that we do/don’t accept ourselves, such as loving our hair but hating our habit of judging others. We can thus improve self acceptance by working with these patterns. The more subtle and equally helpful is to also check in with our ideas and expectations of what a “self” can do.
The idea of an integrated practice weaves into this discussion by looking at our life and ourselves more holistically and honestly. Recognizing our patterns of self we can find a better appreciation for the ripples of formal practice outwards, and also appreciate that the divides between formal practice and the rest of life are less solid than we may otherwise be judging them to be. Further, we can also set more wise (and effective) goals/expectations/supports for ourselves to continue developing into the person we aspire to be.
I’m really looking forward to talking with you about this and will be spending the next few days gathering my thoughts on the topic. To help you do the same, here are some ideas of questions to ask yourself:
- Consider how or when you don’t feel like you’re accepting yourself.
- Do you have any old patterns of mind you know you have in relation to yourself? If so, what are they?
- What does it feel like when you’re in a moment with a strong sense of self (eg you’re congratulating yourself on a job well done)
- Do you have a sense of how you want practicing mindfulness and buddhist practices to grow/change you?
- What would an integration of practice and life look like to you? How would you do that?