Pulled by our own attachments, we are always chasing phantoms. Terrified, we run away from monsters created from our own aversions. So long as perception is distorted, we are unable to see the true nature of what is in front of us—nothing but an ever-changing collection of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and thoughts or concepts.
We can be mindful of the dharma as we go about our lives. Then we notice our imperfections, but rather than becoming frustrated by our inability to rid ourselves of these shortcomings, we notice that our interdependence with all life also brings us kindness and joy, unconditionally.
Moral resolve is like this. A noble person does not do good because of willpower. She does it through a combination of, on the one hand, modesty about self, and, on the other hand, faith in a higher purpose, a higher meaning, in powers more potent than self-will. Such a person is not moral through gritted teeth. She is at ease in goodness.
Finding a way to extend forgiveness to ourselves is one of our most essential tasks. Just as others have been caught in suffering, so have we. If we look honestly at our life, we can see the sorrows and pain that have led to our own wrongdoing. In this we can finally extend forgiveness to ourselves; we can hold the pain we have caused in compassion. Without such mercy, we will live our own life in exile.
When attachment arises in the place of love, it sees the other as separate; it grasps and needs. Attachment is conditional; it seeks control and it fear loss. Ask your heart if attachment has replaced love. If we speak to our heart, it will always tell us the truth.
When we learn to let things be, they gradually lose their power; they cease to disturb us. As we allow what is true, space comes into the body and mind; we breathe and soften and come to rest. In accepting it, we become free. Then we can ask: “Do I have to continue to reply to this story? Do I have to hold on to these losses, these feelings? Is it time to let this go? The heart will know.