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Don’t Vacillate | Reflections

April 14th

#53 – Don’t vacillate
Pema: If you train in awakening compassion only some of the time, it will slow down the process of giving birth to certainty. Wholeheartedly train in keeping your heart and mind open to everyone. 

Note: I have decided to post these the next morning vs. the end of the day since I want to be compassionate to myself and enjoy resting in the evening. 

This card precedes yesterday’s card. I chose to do them out of order as that is what Pema suggested which is to choose the card at random. Is it really random, though? I think not. Every message that comes my way is not at random but intended for a purpose for that particular moment or day. 

I have to be honest, part of my day I felt irritable at everything. The Insight Meditation class I taught in the morning was helpful, yet, within a couple of hours, the irritability phased in. Part of it, I know, is working through some other health matters, but there were other sticky thoughts. It wasn’t constant but it rolled in and out of my psyche. 

Perfection occurred when surprisingly I had no one enroll for the Noon class. I entered my Zen Den, which is also broadcast center, just in case someone decided at the last minute to attend. No one did and I knew that this was the opportunity to sit with my discomfort. I did so for about 40 minutes.  

Sitting with discomfort is well, not comfortable. Yet, it is compassionate and loving toward myself. Shrugging the irritability off just delays the inevitable. This is a form of aversion. Aversion is resisting or pushing aside that which we do not want to place our awareness. 

As I became aware of what was alive in me, I held myself kindness and gentleness. I recognized that I was not my usual self, not only irritable, but unhappy. It was not pleasant; it did not provide me a calm mind.  

As I investigated a little further, I realized that several situations in the last few days and weeks had not achieved the outcomes I had wished, including an area of my health. I had shoved the feelings aside with the thought that those were the best decisions at the time by either myself or the others involved. True that may be, yet, the emotions were still an undercurrent.  

There appeared to be second guessing, thoughts of inadequacy, frustration, letdown and other thoughts and emotions milling around. I felt these mostly as a tightness in the chest, with some faint feelings of nausea. The stress of it loomed. As I allowed what was present to be here in the moment. I stayed with the sensations in the body, breathing compassion into each area. 

My eyes welled with tears as I spoke words of comfort, knowing that I did the best that I could do in the moment and made the decisions that I needed to make. Same as previous, but this time really listening to how my heart, mind and body felt about it. With my hands on my heart, I breathed and allowed tears to flow. “I am safe, I will have my opportunities soon, You are always doing the best that you can, You are never alone, I love you.” These and other words brought comfort. Some I said to myself, other phrases I felt a deep connection to my Higher Self sharing these love notes with me. 

When I felt complete, I reflected on the experience. It is worth the time to stop and be with myself no matter how seasoned I think I am in these mindful practices. It is a “practice” as that is the key word. It’s a continual practice of being with what is alive in me in the moment. As I apply mindful loving awareness to what is, it lights the way to liberation from any suffering I may feel. This was true to this case. 

Don’t vacillate means just that. If I need to stop, I stop. An open heart and mind of compassion is essential to my life and with all of those I interact on a daily basis. This is living mindfully. 

The next card for 4/15 is #12 – Drive all blames into one. 

I wonder what will arise today. 


Pema Chödrön’s Compassion Cards – This practice is lojong (mind-training slogans) and they are powerful reminders on how to awaken our hearts. They are also found in “The Compassion Book.” You choose the cards at random, read the commentary, and then try to live by the meaning of the slogan throughout the day.

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