What are we running from?

The most common, and often deadly, form of human unconsciousness is the perennial confusion of inside and outside.
We think we perceive something in the outside world when actually it is a projection of inner content.
The result could be stalking, scapegoating, genocide or the billion he said/she said arguments going on any time of the day or night.
Unless we are taking the contra naturum path of rigorous self-examination, we live in a state of continual projection.
– Jonathon Zap

When we’re putting up the barriers and the sense of “me” as separate from “you” gets stronger, right there in the midst of difficulty and pain, the whole thing could turn around simply by not erecting barriers; simply staying open to the difficulty, to the feelings that you’re going through; simply by not talking to ourselves about what’s happening.
That is a revolutionary step. Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being – staying open to everything we experience, letting the sharpness of difficult times pierce us to the heart, letting these times open us, humble us, and make us wiser and more brave. Let difficulty transform you. And it will.
In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.
– Pema Chodron

Hi everyone.

Caring vs. Caretaking. Who am I really helping? Me or you?

Caring vs. Caretaking. Who am I really helping? Me or you?

I felt sad when I read first thing this Monday morning that the U.S. has the highest prison population in the world. (See: Why are so many Americans in prison?) What role does projection play and how is it affecting the way we perceive punishment?

In our culture that hyper-values strength, beauty, status, and success, it is inevitable that tenderness, authenticity, and vulnerability get de-valued. We stay up in our heads and tune out the deep feelings and sensations of our bodies. And this in turn can contribute to our confusion about the difference between “the inner and the outer”. How often are we are too afraid of feeling our own internal distress to empathize with others? If we are very unsure of our own worth and lovability it can be pretty difficult to risk identifying with weakness, woundedness or mis-steps we see in someone else. Instead our own deeply buried inner self-rejecting, self-punitive beliefs get acted out on others in judgmental attitudes. In our insecurity, it feels utterly unbearable to say, there but for the grace of God go I.  We grow ever more addicted to feeling justified in our contempt. Yet, is it really serving us well?

If Pema Chodron is right, we just need help in learning how not to run away.

This is one aspect of what we seek to address in Living Ubuntu. Our ongoing Ubuntu group, retreats and upcoming Caring vs. Caretaking series are intended to provide enough safety to take the emotional risks we typically avoid. We all need help in being able to explore, embrace, and bring healing to whatever we find within us.

In order to learn to not run, often it is not only courage that is required, but the willingness to seek out safe and supportive relationships where we feel deeply accepted for who we are, warts and all.


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu

[Ubuntu] n. A person is a person through other persons.  “I am because we are”


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