This painting was part of a turning point in my life and is the only painting that I have done so far that is not for sale. It hangs in the corner where I meditate every morning.
I have been a sincere meditator for many years and through my practice I was able to avoid much of the pain inherent in a life of personal growth. When things got uncomfortable in relationships or challenging situations I could go to a still, peaceful place inside. It was a good tool and my life was good but I felt an element of harshness and that there may be richer ways to experience life.
I am a musician and after an embarrassingly horrible gig I was awake in the night going over how awful it was. I thought that I could get up and meditate and get to a more peaceful space but I had been reading about the Buddhist practice of Tonglen where you breathe in pain and breathe out compassion. I decided to go into the pain rather than avoid it. I started to understand some of the blessing of experiencing pain. As I connected with that part of myself I felt more connected with others. I experienced some understanding of the pain we all suffer and a door opened to compassion. As my caring nature started to grow I became a little less judgmental of others. I feel like I became more fully human.
Since that time my practice has changed. I invite some of the pain of life and the world into my meditation each morning and into my daily life. I find it is a human experience, rich in opportunity for learning. I do not feel I am in danger of being controlled by pain through this practice; by staying with pain and going deeper it transforms into a powerful experience of my humanity and ability to feel and love. My hope now includes the growth of compassion in myself and in all of us.