Pause for Presence | Radical Compassion


From Tara Brach’s Radical Compassion, Chapter 11:

Especially when strong emotions like fear, shame, and anger are running the show, we’ll do almost anything rather than be right here feeling our raw and unpleasant feelings. When we’re caught in our reactive trance, it’s as though we were on a bicycle pedaling away from the present moment, and the more stressed we feel, the faster we pedal.

Whatever your deepest regrets about your life—ignoring your children, addictive bingeing, causing an accident, staying in an abusive relationship—all arise from being trapped inside a reactive trance. When we’re in trance, we’re unable to swerve, unable to respond to ourselves or to others with kindness.

Pausing for presence begins in RAIN when we Recognize and Allow what is here, and stop pedaling. We are learning to let go of the habitual controls—of all our strategies for avoiding unpleasantness and discomfort, and grasping after pleasure. Practicing these pauses informally throughout the day might be uncomfortable or scary, refreshing or relieving. No matter what it feels like, pausing is the gateway to presence—to living aligned with our hearts.

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