There is a seed in all of us, that wants to thrive, to open, to deepen, to be free. Evolution is part of life and also part of human nature. Entering a path of self-development is a gift we make to this deeper Self: we decide to water the seed.
"Our compassion is our Buddha seed or Buddha nature, our potential to become a Buddha." Geshe Kelsang Kyatso
My approach is based on compassion and love, which are in my experience the most powerful forces of transformation. Known and cherished by all religions for thousand of years, new researches in neuroscience as well as therapeutic developents show how important compassion is for healthy development of children, for healing trauma and stress, as well as for general wellbeing of our body and mind.
In Mahayana Buddhism, compassion is defined as a mind (loving awareness) that is motivated by cherishing other living beings and wishes to free them from suffering. To feel compassion we must love and cherish others. And so it is with self-compassion. We must love and cherish ourselves, to develop self-compassion and then act out of these values.
Compassion has nothing to do with being "nice", soft or weak. Being compassionate is a sign of courage - a courage to turn towards suffering as a fact of life, instead of runing away or ignoring it. Only a courageous heart can look into the face of a difficulty - in ourselves or in others - and decide to feel empathy and also do something about it.
We do not only need to see, accept and understand ourselves compassionately, but also to add active loving - just like we love our dear and closest ones. Love adds another quality to our relationship with ourselves and others, it gives us another value. When we love a person, we automatically mirror her best aspects and potentials. We "vibrate" differently towards this person and become an important resource. It is even more important to become that resource for ourselves, by practicing self-loving.
I believe, compassion and love are the forces that can save our planet and create peace and prosperity on Earth. To create more love and compassion in the world, we must start with ourselves, with each individual. So self-compassion and self-love is where all the work of inner and outer transformation starts. Without truly embracing ourselves, we can not change. And by compassionately embracing ourselves, the positive change unfolds by itself.
What is actually personal development? Personal development means that we grow towards developing a fearless heart - a courageous heart, that is ready to face difficult emotions and serious problems. A heart that can hold more aspects of ourselves and include a wider range of life situations, instead of running away, ignoring or shutting down.
Like in any developmental process, also in personal development we work with our "edges". In most of the cases, we will start dealing with inner issues when we face a problem - inside or outside - that we can not solve and that badly influences our life quality: when we face some kind of suffering. Suffering allways shows us, that there is a part of ourselves or part of life, that we reject, that brings up fear and that we want to run away from. When we notice that running away does not bring us inner peace, we start diving inside and getting to know our deeper self. By opening to our vulnerability - something that only a courageous heart can do - we bring awareness and compassion to these rejected parts of ourselves. We learn and understand our unconcious ways of dealing with problems and choose new solutions. We embrace our parts, hold them in love and nourish them with qualities they need. By bringing awareness and acceptance to more of ourselves, we become friendly and at home with new resources. In this way our "edge" moves to the next level and we become "bigger". Our inner vessel grows and with it also our strength, our compassion towards ourselves and also towards our world. This new won space allows new solutions. By actively implementing our new wisdom, we start building up our own unique "mastery" in living our lives more fully, more open, more free and more at peace.
To walk our growing way we need all our resources. We need clarity, intelect and awareness to recognize what is going on inside of us and to find out where our inner "edge" is. We need inner strength, stability and emotional intelligence to stand at the edge and allow whatever feelings come up. And we need a power of a brave loving heart to accept, include and embrace our vulnerable parts and give them the right nourishment and guidance. The last step is the one that makes transformation.
The way of personal (and spiritual) growth is the way of INCLUDING whatever comes on our way, with compassion. The more we include, the stronger and more fearless we become, and so more free. While walking our way of personal development and moving our edges to the next level, we strengthen our heart and inner capacity to deal with difficulties. On that way we discover that inside any suffering is love. That is what I call the Golden Alchemy of turning suffering into gold, into the jewels of inner wealth, jewels of wisdom and love, that is our true nature.
After a time of practicing this Golden Alchemy, we will stop being affraid of suffering. We will see it as a possibility, as an invitation to dive deep to our core and come up with new jewels. In time, suffering and happiness melt in each other. Our tears of pain will turn into tears of happiness by giving a meaning and love to ALL our experiences, until one day we can't make a difference any more. This is the way of the fearless heart, that enables the re-birth of our original innocence and the emerging of the pure essence of our being.