When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Paul McCartney wrote this famous song about his own mother Mary, who died when he was 14 years old. Something deep inside us knows what we need in times of trouble. It turns out this is not advice. In our hours of darkness, broken heartedness, and or worry it turns out that we don’t need very many words at all. What we need is a nonjudgmental and caring presence that lets it all be. What we need is an attention that is like a big, warm hug, embracing the whole of what we are, including our pain and anger and confusion. What we need is your own loving acceptance.
“Darling, I am here for you.” The great Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn composed this “mantra of true presence.” Please consider saying this to yourself. Look in the mirror in the morning and say it. Say it late at night when you can’t sleep. Say it all the time. Offer yourself the gift of kind attention. Have the kind intention to let yourself be.
“Darling, I know you are there and I am so happy.” This is another mantra from the Zen master. What a wonderful thing to hear! We have all secretly hoped to hear such a thing from another person. And why wait? We can say this mantra anytime, and lots of times. And it may be that tiny moments of letting ourselves be, offering ourselves the reminder that we are wonderful just as we are, literally full of wonder, can change our lives.
Let it be. Let the body be the body, just as you find it today. Let the feelings be the feelings. Let the thoughts be the thoughts. Let the world be the world. If there is to be an answer or an insight, if there is to be healing of the heartbreak and soothing of the pain and trouble, it starts and ends here. We accept reality. And we dare to show ourselves just as we are to a greater, nonjudgmental attention. We know that we are lovable.
Another mantra of true presence from Thich Nhat Hahn is: “Darling, I know you are suffering. That is why I am here for you.” The last and most challenging is: “Darling, I suffer. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me.” This is the most challenging, because it means admitting to a loved one that they are making you suffer.
Undertaking this practice of letting be and offering ourselves a kind, nonjudgmental attention, we begin to glimpse what awakening might be. It might not be a thunderbolt or not just that, but a slow process of growing roots in the earth and opening, moment by moment, daring to take our place in the sun.