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This is a truly wonderful, enlightening interview with Gregg Braden who speaks to us about, among other things, taking a step back and observing our negative judgments about an experience and instead understanding that ALL experiences teach us, especially those that may cause us pain. The pain that we feel is caused by our past experiences, by our old wounds, our childhood, our ego, our conditioning… What we don’t realize is that those experiences can be the greatest blessings in our lives. We can respond to a negative judgement and to any experience that causes us to hurt by asking ourselves,”What does it tell me about my life?” We can choose to bless the hurt that is giving us information about ourselves.
By neutralizing our negative thoughts and judgments as they flow through us, we can begin to turn something potentially toxic into something truly beneficial and revealing and use it as a tool that can help us to tap into the power we all have to cultivate a higher consciousness.
I transcribed some of his words from the interview here because I couldn’t find them anywhere else.
ON BAD FEELINGS:
Our experience is only an experience, not positive, not negative. Until we judge our personal experience, until we give it an importance based in our perceptions and our beliefs, until we do that, it is simply an experience.
So the question is, why are we judging ourselves and how do we judge ourselves? And the healing comes from allowing ourselves to feel whatever it is that the world gives to us to feel and to acknowledge that feeling and say, “hmm.. Yes, this is a feeling.” Sometimes it’s a good feeling, sometimes it’s a bad feeling, but to allow the feeling to unfold without judging what the feeling means or being afraid of how it may affect something else in the world.
The feelings that we call negative are simply indicators, indications that something has crossed our path that is now inviting us to examine this experience. “Why do i feel this way? What is it saying to me?” And they become a problem only when we ignore them, when they go unresolved. ‘Unreconciled feelings’ is the term that we use when the feelings are unresolved and we bury or mask our hurt or our frustration or our anger or our jealousy or our rage and we do that month-after-month, year-after-year and that feeling is buried inside of us looking for an expression. That’s where we begin to have the problems.
But the feeling itself… when we have a feeling.. I have negative feelings and I don’t judge them, I Say, “Hmm… I’m having a feeling about this person or about this situation.” And then I have to check with myself and say, “Why am I having this feeling? What does it mean to me? What is it telling me about my personal beliefs and my personal experience?” And in that way, the negative feelings become our best friends because they actually serve us rather than hurt us. It’s all based on our beliefs and the judgement that we attach to that experience.”
ON ‘THE SINGLE EYE OF THE HEART’:
When we are experiencing judgement and ego, what is that saying to us really?
Well, the first thing it’s telling us is that we are not in our heart because the heart has no judgement and the heart has no ego. When we are experiencing those qualities, it is coming from our mind. It’s coming from our inner child. It’s coming from our fear, from our families, our perceptions, our conditioning. It’s not coming from our heart.
In the English language, the language is not designed for this conversation. Other languages are. Sanskrit for example, ancient Sanskrit. In Sanskrit there is one word that means the energy body of the human, it is ‘Prana.’ In English there is no single word for Prana so we have to take other words and put them together… And the same is true when we speak about the language of the heart. There is no word in the English language that describes the language of the heart. Part of my heritage is Southeastern Cherokee, Native American Cherokee and in that tradition there IS a word that means ‘the single eye of the heart’; the eye that doesn’t see right and wrong and good and bad… that simply sees what has happened with no judgement. And that word is ‘chante-ishta’ = the single eye of the heart.
And so the goal of many ancient traditions, early Christian, early Jewish, early Buddhist, Native American, and now the scientific principles today, is to find the way to view the experiences of life, what happens in the world around us; our relationships, our finances, our health, through the single eye of the heart, the eye that says, “yes, this is what has happened.” without saying that what has happened is good or bad or right or wrong. And when we find ourselves having those experiences, we are in our mind … and the way they say to transcend, to get through the judgement that we find ourselves in, it sounds strange at first, but what they invite us to do is this: When something hurts us in life, when something crosses our path that causes us pain, our first reaction is to move away from it, to say, “I don’t want that.” And that is when the judgement comes in. If we can embrace the experiences when someone (or an experience) hurts us in life, not that we like the experience or that we want to have it again, but the ancients say that we should bless the experience. And this sounds very strange, to bless the things that hurt you, but here’s what happens: When we begin to bless the things that cause us the pain, the blessing is simply the acknowledgment. When you say, “I bless the person who has just been dishonest with me. I bless the person who has violated my trust, betrayed my confidence” and you say that again and again and you say it out loud, what begins to happen is, the verbal expression brings the physical energy up from the heart into the body and soon your body becomes warm and you have tears in your eyes and you say, “I bless this person. I bless this person.” and it is the blessing that relieves the charge of the judgement for just a moment. And that’s all we need because for just a moment, when the charge is relieved, we can replace the hurt with something else. And the ancients say that that something else is what we call ‘beauty’.
Beauty is a powerful force in our world and it already exists everywhere. The ancient Essenes and the Native Americans alike, they say that beauty is already everywhere, in everything. Our job is to find that beauty, to seek it out.
Mother Teresa was a master at this. She would walk down the streets of Calcutta, India and she would see dead bodies on the street and decay in the gutters… and in the dung, in the gutter of the streets of Calcutta, she would find a flower growing and in that flower she would find beauty in the streets and that experience allowed her the strength to find even more beauty in life. So, rather than judging the experiences, when they come to us, if we can look at each experience as a blessing and when we find ourselves hurt say again, “Yes, I feel hurt.” So, acknowledge it first. Secondly, what is this hurt saying to me? What voice am I hearing? What does it tell me about my life? and bless the hurt now that is giving us information about ourselves.
“This experience of the heart, prayer, is not something that we do, it is something that we become.
It is something that we live in our lives.
Life becomes the prayer.
Every moment of every day is the prayer.”
It’s called ‘the lost mode of prayer‘; feeling-based prayer. Because the prayer is based in a feeling and we could have a feeling all the time; we could have a feeling in our cars driving on the highway, we can have a feeling in the office, in the school, with our families, alone in the park, we can always have a feeling and that means we can always be in prayer. But it’s not something that we do in a moment, it’s a way of living. It’s a way of life. It’s something that we become. And when we do that, the prayer never ends and that is the secret.
ON THE FORCE THAT HOLDS THE UNIVERSE TOGETHER:
The Abbot in Tibet was so clear when he said this, the new Abbot: I ask him the question through the translator, I said, “What is the force that holds the universe together?” We had already had the conversation that there is something out there so I was asking for specifics from his Tibetan Buddhist perspective.
I said, “What is it that holds the universe together? What connects everything in the universe?”
And he had a conversation with the translator and then he answered me with one word.
He said, “Compassion.”
And I said, “Well, wait a minute. I thought that compassion is a feeling, an experience that we have in our bodies and in our hearts. I’m asking you what is the force that holds everything together?”
And he answered me again and he said, “compassion.”
And I said, “Is it an experience or is it a force?”
And he said, “YES. It is both.”
And to me that is SO powerful because it reminds us that we are born into this world with a power in our hearts that we already have, that we don’t have to learn, it’s already there! And it’s a power that aligns us with the framework, with the matrix of the universe itself… And from the Tibetan Buddhist perspective, they recognize that the experience of compassion, it’s not just feeling sorry for someone or saying, “Ohh… poor person! They’re having a bad day!” In western tradition sometimes people think of compassion that way and that may be a part of it, but from the Buddhist perspective, it’s much deeper than that. It is living life awake and conscious and present in our hearts, in the moment, knowing that we are part of all that is and that what we do in every moment of life is affecting not only us, it’s affecting the other side of the universe. It is consciously living our lives respecting and honoring that relationship. It’s such a beautiful way to live.
New York Times best selling author Gregg Braden is internationally renowned as a pioneer in bridging science and spirituality. For over 22 years, Gregg Braden has searched high mountain villages, remote monasteries, and forgotten texts to uncover their timeless secrets. Combining his discoveries with the best science of today, his original research crosses the traditional boundaries of science, history, and religion offering fresh insights into ancient mysteries. In doing so he has redefined our relationship to our inner and outer worlds, while sharing his life-affirming message of hope and possibility.