Better for Being Broken Dharma Talk

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The poet teacher and lawyer John Shawn Doyle had this to say about Kintsukuroi,

“In Japan there is an art form called kintsukuroi which means “to repair with gold”. When a ceramic pot or bowl would break, the artisan would put the pieces together again using gold or silver lacquer to create something stronger, more beautiful then it was before. The breaking is not something to hide. It doesn’t mean that the ceramic bowl is ruined or without value because it is different than what was planned. Kintsukuroi is a way of living that embraces every flaw and imperfection. Every crack is part of the history of the object and it becomes more beautiful, precisely because it had been broken and people are the same way”

This is a poem about Kintsukuroi

“I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold.”

― Peter Mayer

A lot of times in our world, in our lives, we don’t believe that we’re better for being broken.

We believe that we are flawed beyond repair. We believe that if people would see the truth of who we are that they wouldn’t love us, talk to us, connect with us, care with us.

That the story of who we are – we need to filter and post only the best parts. Show the world only the most beautiful moments and those other parts that aren’t so beautiful we push down deep. We hide away and we repress and we think that they’re gone but they’re not. They are not. They are stuck deep within you. Deep within you.

Two weeks ago I had a person and I knew it, they had posted something that just seemed innocent but I knew something was wrong in their lives.

And I was like oh I need to call I need to call cuz everybody else might think everything’s ok but I know this was a cry for help.

And they ended up calling me which was a big thing cuz a lot of times if you’re calling me you’ve hit the bottom and you need somebody that can see you and hold you and be close.

And they – they knew something wasn’t right. There was something. They felt off and every so often when no one was looking the pain would seep through.

“But I’m fine Ian. I’m fine.”

I was like, “Oh dear, no you’re not. You’re not fine. You’re hurting. You’re in pain. The pain that you haven’t dealt with for ten years, that you’ve pushed away because you’ve been too busy, there wasn’t the right time or the right moment, the right situation to sit with it.

You’ve pushed it away because the world tells us that we need to be positive and keep a stiff upper lip and hold our heads high…

And that had helped her – got her to a certain point she was able to get stuff done.

There was a whole aspect that she had locked away, suppressed, pushed down deep – pushed down deep – because it wasn’t beautiful.

It was an ugly truth.

Pain.

To live in this world means many things
And one of those things is that we shall be wounded and we shall wound.
We will be hurt by others and we will hurt others
You will not get through this life without being scarred in some way and without scarring others.

Anybody heard Leonard Cohen? I’m not a big fan of Leonard Cohen but he has this one set of lines…

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Ring the bells that still can ring that harkens to like, “Yeah – you’ve been hurt, you’ve been wounded, there’s some pain there but there’s still beauty and there’s still much more of this story ahead so ring the bells.”

Feel the vibrations
Hear the sounds

And if in that moment those sounds are full of sobs then that’s what they are. That’s what they are.

Just so happened I stumbled upon a TED talk recently by this psychologist Susan David she said

“Being positive has become a new form of moral correctness. In a survey I recently conducted with over 70,000 people I have found that a third of us – a third of us judge ourselves for having so-called “bad emotions” like sadness, anger, or even grief and actively try to push those feelings aside. We do this not only to ourselves but also to the people we love like our children. We may inadvertently shame them out of emotions seen as negative and jump to solutions and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable.”

The other day – I have kids a boy and a girl – my son he’s 10 and something was happening and he started to cry and then he realized he was crying and (he pushed down those feelings) and I was like, “Hey hey. No. Just let it flow man. These are feelings that you have inside that were triggered by this thing and we can’t just suppress them and push them down. We have to see them let them unfold and let them go.”

She says (Susan David)

“Normal natural emotions are now seen as good or bad but when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is not as we wish it to be.

I’ve had hundreds of people tell me what they don’t want to feel. They say things like ‘I don’t want to try because I don’t want to feel disappointed.’ or ‘I just want this feeling to go away.” and I and she says and “ ‘I understand’ I say to them but you have dead people’s goals. Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings. Only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experienced a disappointment that comes with failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don’t you don’t get to have a meaningful life, a meaningful career, raise a family or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”

Remember back back back back – ten weeks ago – the four sufferings?

The Four Sufferings
Physical suffering
The suffering of unbearable things
The suffering of change
The great underlying suffering

So part of the Four Noble Truths right so usually they’ll say like the first noble truth is suffering but it’s actually this word called dukkha and dukkha has means a lot of different things right, physical suffering, stress, unease, disappointment. Lots of different things.

And some some traditions break it out into four different types

The Four Sufferings

Physical Suffering
this is the inescapable suffering that we experience because we are mortal beings with an impermanent body. In this category is the suffering of sickness, old age and death. This is the pain of stubbed toes, belly aches, and migraines. We go through life believing that it should be all rainbows and unicorns that this body should be doing what we want all of the time in a perfect optimal fashion. How dare it get a migraine. I don’t have time for a migraine.

The suffering of unbearable things
This is the suffering of having to put up with things we don’t like. Everyday situations like traffic, our boss, noisy neighbors and annoying people and of not getting what we want like that promotion, an ideal partner, or that new car.

The suffering of change
Even when life is totally awesome when everything is going our way we know deep down inside that this will not last forever. But even though we know this – that all external situations and conditions will change – no matter how blissful and perfect they are we try and control situations and people in order to keep things from changing and we expect everything to stay the same. But life is changing changing changing changing

The great underlying suffering
That is the great existential suffering. People have given words to it like, “There’s got to be something more to life than this?”

And it’s true – that that no matter how many trips we take, how much good food we eat or how ever much money we make none of this will ever truly make us feel fulfilled and satisfied. What we truly desire and longed for is within and as long as we’re not exploring, tapping into and expressing our spiritual potential we could become the ruler of the world but even this wouldn’t truly make us happy.

I call this , “Welcome to being human!”

You’re gonna have the body – it’s gonna fall apart right.
You’re gonna have a boss.
You’re gonna be stuck in traffic.
Things are gonna change all the time and you will question everything – including your existence here.

But we push all of that away cuz it’s uncomfortable. Right? It is uncomfortable – to talk about these things so we don’t. And we don’t know how to. We’re not equipped. It’s not something that comes up in everyday conversation.

Within the Vajrayana traditional Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said this,

“To be a spiritual warrior one must have a broken heart. Without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability that is in oneself and all others your warriorship is untrustworthy.”

Yeah Kintsukuri – We don’t value the pain that we’ve been through. We don’t value the struggle. We want to push it away and that we believe that life is only good when it’s easy breezy beautiful. Pina coladas on the beach…

You have to see the beauty,,,

This is another poem – this is by Janine Sanderson…

Wrapped in my weakness
I found my truth strength
Wrapped in my perceived flaws
I found my greatest beauty
Wrapped in my fear
I found my unconquerable spirit
Wrapped in my foolish moments
I found great wisdom
Wrapped in my sorrow
I found the depth of my true joy

I have found some of my most valuable gifts
Wrapped in adversity

But we don’t believe that that pain, that terrible moment, that loss is a gift – that softens us, that connects us, that opens us up, helps us explore what it means to be who we are.

I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for all the terrible beautiful catastrophes of my life and now I’m in the ideal situation where I can share those and that because of all these terrible things I’m able to connect with so many different people and understand them, see them, feel them, be with them – because they are me, I am them.

Here’s another poem…

For this one here let’s go into a little bit of meditation…

I’m gonna get you to close your eyes – take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth – breathing in and breathing out

Breathe My Dear Breathe
(by zen master e)

Breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close
Stop pushing away your pain
It’s actually a portal to your own potential
It may not seem like it now
When your heart feels like it’s been shattered into a million tiny pieces
And tears fill your eyes to blurring

But breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close
You will be better for being broken
More beautiful from this burden you have bared
These wounds and they’re winding paths
Which seemingly have taken you far away from all that you love
Have actually brought you home

So breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close
Because it’s the rarest of jewels
And soon you’ll reluctantly realize
That it’s preciousness and power
Can only be discovered
By opening up
Letting go
and giving it away
Again and again

So breathe my dear breathe

Take a deep breath in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth.

Kintsukuroi

The poet, teacher and lawyer John Sean Doyle had this to say about Kintsukuroi,

“In Japan there is an art form called kintsukuroi which means “to repair with gold”. When a ceramic pot or bowl would break, the artisan would put the pieces together again using gold or silver lacquer to create something stronger, more beautiful than it was before.

The breaking isn’t something to hide. It doesn’t mean that the ceramic bowl is ruined or without value because it’s different then what was planned.

Kintsukuroi is a way of living that embraces every flaw and imperfection. Every crack is part of the history of the object and it becomes more beautiful, precisely because it had been broken.

People are the same way.”

I’m Like One of Those Japanese Bowls

“I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold.
― Peter Mayer

To Live in This World

To live in this world means many things
And one of those things is that we shall be wounded
and we shall wound
We will be hurt by others
and we will hurt others
You will not get through this life without being scarred in some way
and without scarring others

Forget Your Perfect Offering
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen

The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage – Psychologist Susan David Ted Talk

Being positive has become a new form of moral correctness.

In a survey I recently conducted with over 70,000 people I found that a third of us, a third, either judge ourselves for having so-called bad emotions like sadness, anger or even grief or actively try to push aside these feelings.

We do this not only to ourselves but also to people we love like our children. We may inadvertently shame them out of emotions seen as negative jump to solutions and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable.

Normal, natural emotions are now seen as good or bad but when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is not as we wish it to be.

I’ve had hundreds of people tell me what they don’t want to feel. They say things like I don’t want to try because I don’t want to feel disappointed or I just want this feeling to go away

I understand I say to them

But you have dead people’s goals.

Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings.

Only dead people never get stressed never get broken hearts never experience the disappointment that comes with failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don’t get to have a meaningful career or raise a family or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort  Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.

“Write what you’re feeling. Write like no one is reading.”

To Be a Spiritual Warrior

To be a spiritual warrior,
one must have a broken heart;
without a broken heart
and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability
that is in one’s self and all others,
your warriorship is untrustworthy.
~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The Gifts I Have Found

Wrapped in my weakness
I found my true strength.

Wrapped in my perceived flaws
I found my greatest beauty.

Wrapped in my fear
I found my unconquerable spirit.

Wrapped in my foolish moments
I found great wisdom.

Wrapped in my sorrow
I found the depth of my true joy.

I have found some of my most valuable gifts
Wrapped in adversity.
~ Jeannine Sanderson

Hold That Tender and Broken Heart Close by Ian Paul Marshall

Breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close

Stop pushing away your pain
It’s actually a portal to your own potential
It may not seem like it now
When your heart feels like it’s been shattered into a million tiny pieces
And tears fill your eyes to blurring

Breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close

You will be better for being broken
More beautiful from this burden you have beared
These wounds and their winding paths
Which seemingly have taken you far away from all that you love
Have actually brought you home

So breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close

Because it’s the rarest of jewels
And soon you’ll reluctantly realize
That it’s preciousness and power can only be discovered
By opening up, letting go
And giving it away
Again and again

So breathe my dear breathe

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