Jack Kornfield – Ep. 53 – Wounds and Gifts with Duncan Trussell and Raghu Markus

Wounds and Gifts

Jack sits down with Raghu Markus and Duncan Trussell to talk about finding the gifts in suffering that transforms how we interact with the world.

This podcast was recorded at the 2016 Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat, where the theme was finding the beloved and touching the compassionate heart. Jack, Raghu, and Duncan share stories and perspective on searching for love in dark times. They remind us that out of our deepest wounds and insecurities are born our greatest gifts.

Show Notes

A Hard Lesson (Opening) – Raghu shares an embarrassing story from his time in India with Maharajji. A lesson for Raghu on learning to give without holding anything back. Maharajji taught him to see the beauty in giving everything he has to another.

Wounds and Gifts (5:30) – Initiation is another word for the kind of wounds and gifts that Raghu talked about. In many traditional cultures, you are not considered an adult without a spiritual initiation. That initiation can be a kind of brush with death or something you must give your whole being to. Jack discusses the quality found in someone who has gone through something very difficult and come out stronger for it.

“There is some part of you when you become initiated. When you have gone through something. Not only that you have your wounds, but when you have used them in a way to find your dignity. Like Nelson Mandela walking out of 27 years in prison. When you use them to find a kind of unshakeability. It changes you and it changes almost everything.”

Our Buddha Mind (12:20) – Duncan discusses his experience of connecting to something bigger than himself through suffering. Through everything, he found freedom in realizing that at the end of the day everything is alright. The group talks about the concept of the Buddha mind and the truth of it that can be found in every tradition.

They discuss the nature of the mind and what is the “right” awareness to have. There is no fixed state of awareness found in enlightenment. Jack teaches us to see our changing awareness as a tide that goes in and out, finding freedom in the ebb and flow.

Love It All (24:30) – The path to intimacy asks us to embrace those parts of ourselves that keep us separate. We spend so much effort in trying to fix parts of ourselves that are not ideal. Instead, we need to bring tenderness to those places and nurture them.

“We do not need to perfect ourselves, we need to perfect our love.”

Being Human (34:30) – It’s ok to be human, the good and the bad. Raghu talks about why accepting this fact is necessary to transforming ourselves. Jack shares examples of how to accept our human nature and use that to overcome undesirable reactions. We have to remember not to come at our problems with anything but love.

Even Gandhi Wasn’t Gandhi (42:15) – In regards to social action, there is no waiting until we are perfect to go out and do something. We have to do what we can every day to work on ourselves as well as work on the world. Jack reminds us that we can’t wait until we are Gandhi to go be Gandhi because even he was a man who struggled and had work to do.

Jack and Duncan discuss the inherent suffering found in this incarnation and our adversity to it. Through practice, we can increase our capacity for both joy and sorrow. This allows us to tolerate the pains in life that in turn enables us to truly be with the beauty of life.

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Photo via Mary Godschalk