In this dharma talk, Joseph Goldstein explores connecting to our capacity for Metta, or loving kindness, and how we can work skillfully with fear as it arises.
What is the connection between Metta, or loving-kindness, and fear? Joseph begins by exploring how spiritual practice helps us gather our attention, which settles the mind, creates some inner spaciousness, and starts spontaneously cultivating Metta. He talks about how we feel is ultimately up to us.
“As we settle into this space of less defensiveness, less projection, more openness, more willingness to be with the whole range of experience, something very beautiful starts to happen, and that is we begin to experience feelings of Metta, feelings of loving kindness, arising quite spontaneously in the practice.” – Joseph Goldstein
Ram Dass shares a tale from a fierce Zen Buddhist retreat on Here and Now Ep. 162
Suffering, Compassion, and Fear (25:46)
Once we settle into feelings of Metta, we’re more open to situations that involve suffering, and Metta can be transformed into compassion. But some suffering is too much, and we pull away out of fear. Joseph talks about the value of exploring the edge of our comfort zone, and how we all fear different things, including pain and discomfort.
“In order to connect more deeply with love and compassion and a more full awareness, we need to investigate how these fears are arising; we really need to see clearly this process and how fear can be transformed into a very liberating understanding.” – Joseph Goldstein
Painting Tigers (42:05)
Joseph talks more about the different types of fears people face, including fear of certain emotions and fear fueled by thoughts about the future. It’s like we paint scary tigers in our mind that we forget aren’t real. He explores the potential for a powerful heart connection when fear leaves us open and vulnerable, and shares some wisdom on how we can skillfully work with these fears.
“Even though fear is present, it does not have to limit us. We can act anyway if we’ve developed this ability to be accepting of the fear.” – Joseph Goldstein