We are heavily defended creatures. We are wired this way. Healthy cells defend themselves against invaders, and so do nations. The Buddha was said to have cosmic vision so he could see defensiveness at work on every scale and level. He could see that the ego and all of its ways is a defense against psychic pain. Humans long to open and connect with others, to be seen and loved, and yet there is this elaborate system that defends against it. What can help? Attention.
We can picture the Buddha as an archeologist, patiently and attentively working his way down and down into the heart of life, attending to each unearthed artifact with care and curiosity, seeking the deeper story under the surface story, the truth buried under the misconceptions. The Buddha did not deny the darkness. He found a light in the midst of it. In the midst of our defensiveness and grasping and delusions there is a light of attention that sees without judgment. Moment by moment, we begin to see that there is within us a source of wisdom and compassion, not in words, but in awareness. We begin to discover, from the inside, how it feels to be seen with loving eyes.