The friend that comes in peace

by Hanne Pedersen

“To be loved is to be recognized as existing” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you know the experience of standing face to face with the realization of a dream and at the same time holding yourself back from that experience? It is a most painful split.

You long for love, you long for freedom, you long to realize your creative potential and live life from a place of freedom, presence and respons-ability. When the concrete opportunity comes along – you can feel exactly how it would be to live those qualities to their fullness, but you hold back.

It may be the moment where you are about to step into your full freedom, or in the moment where you have the possibility to fully embody the love that you are, – nothing on the outside is actually stopping you, and still you do not do it. You do not go fully for what you love.

I recognize this tendency in my life. My dreams and visions may be so clear, and when the opportunity to realize comes along, they bring with them all the habits of holding back.

How do we deal with it when this happens? We may easily go to war against ourselves. We start blaming our ‘bad’ sides saying I cannot fully embody my freedom because I am ‘such a coward’. Or “If I just wasn`t so ‘emotionally dependent’ or ‘shy’ or ‘fearful’ I would be able to realize my creative potential”.

Now – what is the effect of believing in these blaming thoughts?

We create war within ourselves, a war fought towards our most vulnerable inside. We feel stuck and our pain increases.  When we try to do something about our stuckness, the inner conflict intensifies because something deep in us is resisting the expansion that we think we want, and this “something” is ignored, hated,  overpowered, suppressed, intensely fought and treated as “a problem” to get rid of.

In our intent to actualize our potential we may actually go to war against ourselves, because we do not accept the part of us who is in resistance. We may think that in this situation there are two options. Either we convince the one who doesn´t want, into wanting, or we give up, are overpowered by our resistance and resign to a less fulfilling life. This is the war. The case is just that if one of them wins, everybody loses. We will have to look deeper:

One of these days, as the inner war is going on, there is suddenly a being approaching the battlefield. It is the friend. She looks at it without doing or saying much. Her eyes search for the eyes of the one who everybody else is trying to fight; seeking her out with warmth and curiosity, seeing through all the layers, looking deeply in beneath the armour; and she can see someone there. There is a heart beating. The friend stretches out her hand and carefully feels the breath. She sits still for a long time – just sensing. The one she has found in there is a precious being.

Seen through the eyes of beauty something happens. Like a soft animal to a friendly touch, something hard starts softening, something frozen starts melting. “Is it safe? Is it safe to be? Are you not going to demand anything from me, analyze me, try to capture me and keep me a prisoner? Are you not going to tell me how I ought to be? How I ought to feel? May it be that it is actually okay to just be? To just be like I am?”

As a response the friend whispers: “I am not leaving you. I am not leaving you. I am here to stay.

….Will you show me what you love? “

After a lifetime of practicing doing, it may be easy to ignore the one in us who just IS, and longs to be honoured in her beingness. We find her at the depths of our most rigid patterns and our most defensive strategies. We find her at the depths of the warrior soul, and in the core of our most controlling and suppressing structures. The presence that we are – and who’s only wish is to be recogniced as existing.

As Zen Coaches we seek to honour ourselves and others in our beingness, and value the meeting of beings here and now. I experience again and again, in myself and others that when the soul is received with friendliness and curious allowance, something in us opens, softens and unfolds. We start breathing. Opening like a soft animal to a loving touch, or like a bud receiving the nourishment of warm sunlight, we can open to receive ourselves in what we truly feel, in what we truly need, as who we really are.