In the past few years, Senior Trainer Vinny Ferraro has been a guest speaker on love for James Baraz’s program, Awakening Joy.
James, a leading teacher in the field, defines mindfulness as ‘simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
He writes about Mindful Schools in his best seller, Awakening Joy:
Vinny spoke specifically about ‘What gets in the way of love?’ He moved a crowd of several hundred adults and caregivers with another 1,000 or so tuning in online. He spoke of wisdom from many of the greats – Twain, Hesse, Merton – but woven together in some of his own words. Here is a transcript of his talk.
I want to welcome all of you. This practice is a radical invitation to the whole of us.
On ‘not withholding love from myself, till I act right.’ This kind of emotional extortion has never made people act right, it’s just not an effective strategy. No one has ever hated themselves into becoming a better person. This inclination we have which sounds like “if only” takes us out of the present moment, which is the only place freedom is actually possible.
Don’t postpone arriving. It’s hard because we were conditioned to always think some other moment is going to contain what this one doesn’t. ‘All you need is already within you, only you must approach your self with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors. Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of love you bear for your self, all I plead with you is this: make love of your self perfect. Deny yourself nothing — glue your self infinity and eternity and discover that you do not need them; you are beyond.’ (Nisargadatta Maharaj)
We make love of ourselves perfect, not ourselves perfect; this is an important distinction. I don’t know about you, but when I look back on my life, the moments I needed love the most, were the times when I felt the most unlovable. So what if you cared for yourself, like you take care of the ones you love? Like that, just loving them, even when/if they’re grouchy, sensitive, uptight, tired. Because it’s easy to love somebody when they’re being lovable, that ain’t love, that’s common sense.
When we love what’s hard to love, that’s what makes you a great lover. ‘Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.’ (Margo Anand)
More about Vinny:
Vinny Ferraro is a long-time mindfulness practitioner and instructor and a nationally recognized leader in designing and implementing interventions for at-risk adolescents. The child of an incarcerated father, Vinny spent the majority of his teenage life hustling and living on the streets. In 1987, after recovering from drug addiction, he began leading youth groups in drug rehabilitation centers, juvenile halls, schools and halfway houses … [Read more]
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