Caring: Finding Beauty and Radiance in Difficult Times
The Nyingma Institute often offers Nyingma Psychology classes based on Tarthang Tulku’s newest publications, including Caring. This online class, taught by Pema Gellek and Hugh Joswick, helps students cultivate inner resources to care more fully for themselves and to open to the possibilities of beauty, friendship, and meaningful action even in the most challenging of times.
April 25, 2020 —
How would you describe this class?
Pema: It’s a practice oriented course with contemplations, practices and discussion on the theme of finding beauty in the midst of a dark, tough time. The beauty is of any kind – the natural world, human qualities and actions that connect and uplift us, aesthetic, cultural and intellectual inspiration that speak directly to this moment.
Hugh: Bringing care to our experience is to make space for beauty. In this class we cultivate opening the heart so as to open our capacity to care. Care operates in both an immediate way, responding to the needs of what is cared for, and a more expansive way connected to the nature of awareness.
What do you hope that students learn or are able to take into their lives?
Pema: We want to encourage stillness, resilience, attunement to beauty, and the possibility of caring at all times, especially when we feel the most challenged. We will be shifting from regime of mind to direct experience of the senses and a knowing that powerfully integrates the head and the heart. Each moment we can undo the knots of the mind and heart by pressing in deeper on the presentations of mind and taking a stance of questioning, curiosity and gratitude for the miracle of our embodiment.
Hugh: By learning to care more directly for our embodiment we begin to explore the shimmering, receptive quality that is present before perceptions crystalize. Through discussion, practice, and development of attention, we encourage the perception of beauty as an element available in every moment. Beauty becomes a guide to the cultivation of care. How often do you notice beauty during a day? What do you notice when you notice something beautiful?
What types of practices or content will be shared?
Pema: We will do breath practices, different practices working with the senses, and weekly “beauty challenges.” We will discover the radical possibility, the daringness of finding beauty that heals and liberates in the thorniest of moments. We come to realize this is not just relevant to this moment but a life-long practice of how we can accept our pain and our worst fears as teachers that reveal the very nature of our existence, always full of polarities, but offering the possibility of integration through beauty and caring.
Hugh: It is not exactly a meditation class, but a serious reflection on the nature of caring and the awareness of caring in the act of perception. It will encourage students to practice caring in all aspects of their experience: Beauty is another way in to the power of caring.