On this episode of Healing at the Edge, Dale chats with writer Anne Lamott about spirituality and politics. They discuss keeping an open heart and finding compassion while navigating the divisive political landscape.
We are reminded by Anne and Dale that surrendering to compassion means having compassion for ourselves and our enemies, as well as our friends. Showing compassion for ourselves allows us to overcome our imperfections by accepting them. It is simply up to us to surrender to compassion.
00:44 – Being raised as Christian and practicing Buddhism, Dale believes in the philosophy of practicing kindness and compassion. However, he sees so many of his friends having a hard time showing compassion towards those who on the other side of the political aisle. Anne reminds us that we all struggle with our ego which tends to favor our own opinion above others. As a strategy to avoid the inevitable conflict with loved ones over politics, Anne avoids engaging in the debate. Instead, she chooses to embrace all the good in her life and be thankful for her blessings.
07:40 – “Love and prayer are learned in the hour when prayer becomes possible and the heart turns to stone.” – Thomas Martin. It can be difficult to open our hearts and minds when discussing politics with others. Often in Buddhism, compassion is talked about as compassion for another person. Dale feels instead, that compassion is a two-way street. Surrendering into compassion means showing it to everyone, including ourselves. Anne Discuss the process of surrender and resisting what she knows is harmful to her.
18:30 – Dale talks about using a spiritual practice to overcome the fear of showing compassion. Anne teaches her Sunday school kids to remember that they are made out of love to help overcome this fear.
27:05 – “We are all perfect, but there is still room for improvement.” – Suzuki Roshi. Despite his decades of spiritual practice, Dale’s neurosis and the judgmental ego remain. The difference today is that fact doesn’t bother Dale as much, he has accepted his imperfections. Instead of worrying about his shortcomings, Dale continues with his practice and moves on.
32:50 – There is a way of feeling profoundly sad without losing our spiritual connection. Dale tries to help people grieve consciously. He teaches them to be aware of their grieving and showing compassion for themselves. Anne speaks of having a “dual citizenship” of sorts. We all have an innate spiritual connection with the infinite while being raised in a brutal world of mortality. Compassion allows us to balance these paradoxical states of being.