The Dalai Lama

This weekend’s dharma talk by Jack Kornfield titled, “Respect and the Dalai Lama” really jiggled my heart strings, as the Truth often does.

One story in particular that Kornfield shares…

A woman who had been in prison for killing her husband was telling the Dalai Lama about the violence she and so many other women in prison endured before they ever considered committing a crime. Abuse, rape, trauma. She felt he needed to know what these women had been through, what led them to where they were. Upon hearing this, the Dalai Lama began to weep.

As I was listening to the talk… in my kitchen, making butternut squash soup… and Kornfield is finishes the story, “Upon hearing this, he began to weep,” I felt almost shocked, like, electrically. Stunned into feeling, heart split open in compassion. Instantly, my eyes welled. Time stopped for a moment. I could imagine what it would be like to feel, to touch, so sensitively, the pain of another person, the pain of the world.

Reflecting on this later, it dawned on me how much protection there is over my “heart”… my feeling heart. How insensitive I can be sometimes.

I have to say, I consider myself extremely sensitive. (Some have said “overly” sensitive.) It hurts so badly to pass a cattle truck, it’s almost unbearable. In that moment I do feel connected to the bigger hurt of the world. The geese, for God’s sake. I mean, I’m a sensitive gal.

And still, today I got that in many ways I am protected and guarded and keeping pain at arms distance.

This is the practice: To be with What Is… without grabbing on, without pushing away.

To let the heart open to the pain and joy of life.

I don’t know if I know how to do this without being overwhelmed.

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5 Responses to “The Dalai Lama”


  1. 1 kimstarot November 23, 2009 at 5:13 am

    I am the same way at times, especially with those emails about dogs who are euthanized because they are a “vicious breed.” Yet there are times when I feel my insensitivity too.

    These electric flashes are very empowering, and I’m always grateful when they come. Beautiful post!

    ~Kim

  2. 3 Bob November 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    At times, overwhelm is what is.

  3. 5 Tami November 25, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    when you figure it out, can you let me know?


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