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Saturday, November 13, 2021

Embracing the Shenpa

“All of us, in our essence, are Love. 

A big part of our healing journey is to embrace and, thereby, release the SHENPA (which is blocking the beautiful expression of that gift), opening the pathway for our true nature to reveal itself.”

                            Ken Porter


EVERYBODY has experienced the very distinct sensation of being triggered by something upsetting...we feel a tension, a tightening in our emotions.  And it happens lightning fast.  And before we know it our default reaction has registered and been expressed.

In many (and I would venture to say most) cases that default is not so pretty.

One big example of the default is an ADDICTION. 

We feel stung by a remark or an event.  It hits a point of insecurity...or an emotional wound that we have not dealt with... and we immediately turn to our "comfort" of choice (and it's not something on the health and wellness list). 

Or, we might become immediately defensive or respond to our perceived hurt by  "counterattacking".


And, when all is said and done and the dust has settled, we don't feel so great about our choice or outburst.   But we were feeling so very helpless;  everything seemed so out of our control... like the issue (read TRIGGER) took over our consciousness.

And that space...the very quick space of time after the trigger was activated... is 

the Tibetan concept of shenpa.  

It's the flash that occurs BEFORE we act.  It's the upsetting emotion.

And it's VERY powerful.  

Especially when we back away...literally RUN away from that HOOK and grab on to something that will calm our upset and anxiety.

It's the backing away that is the problem.  

We don't want to go there.  But that space...the shenpa...is the very place we NEED to go so that we can EMBRACE this mystery...this force which drives our behavior.

When we open ourselves to the shenpa...

when we embrace it and let ourselves feel what is happening inside us...

we begin to see what Pema Chodron, notable American figure in Tibetan Buddhism,  calls "the whole chain reaction".  

Chodron says that "somehow, learning how to open up the space without putting [any] particular form of scratching into the equation is important."

And that is when release occurs...when  we EMBRACE this uncomfortable feeling which, if unexamined, leads to unhealthy choices and  behavior.

Chodron (and Porter) believe  

"there's some wisdom that is based on a fundamental desire for wholeness or healing- which has nothing to do with ego-grasping.  It has to do with wanting to connect and live from your basic goodness, your basic openness, your basic lack of prejudice, your basic lack of bias, your basic warmth. Wanting to live from that. It begins to become a stronger force than the shenpa and itself stops the chain reaction."

What we resist, persists.

What we embrace and experience reveals itself to us.


This act of courage..of bravely facing ourselves... seems resonant with what we have come here to do and I believe it helps us access the resources we need for the work of our journey.

Now the shenpa doesn't feel so scary.  

And we are rewarded with a sense of perspective and can see the choices of response in our behavior available to us and the merits of those choices and we can more easily choose the response path of Higher Self, the self we aspire to be.   

And, in that moment, WE MEET THE SHENPA with the strength and power of our shared divinity.  And  Love once again becomes the instrument which comforts, soothes and sustains us.

                                Marie Helena 


image from elephantjournal.com.

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