By Brandon Nappi
Weekend Wisdom is a weekly sharing from Copper Beech Institute’s founder, Dr. Brandon Nappi. The following are Brandon’s recent reflections, originally posted on social media each Sunday. We hope these simply lessons inspire, rejuvenate, and support you on your inward and outward journey.
The willingness to meet
the pain of life with courage
is at the heart of our practice.
We get hurt, we hurt others, and we die. No matter what, this is our fate. Hopefully, in between, we also love, laugh, rest, eat chocolate, and serve others. As a practitioner of mindfulness and meditation, I cherish these practices because they’re nothing special — they’re completely ordinary and don’t require any special set of conditions. Mindfulness practice offers us a deep reservoir of presence no matter what is happening. The most sturdy and reliable resource we have is the power of our presence to meet reality as it is. We suffer to the degree that we try to avoid or numb ourselves to what is actually happening in the moment. Mindfulness does not exclude any situation, but includes the entire spectrum of the human experience by bringing curiosity and compassion to whatever is arising, however painful or disappointing. This willingness to meet the pain of life with courage is at the heart of our practice.
Your inner critic
will only be healed by love.
This inner critic doesn’t need to be conquered; it simply needs the same thing that every other being needs: our love and compassionate presence. More hatred of the inner critic simply produces more hatred in an already violent world. The inner critic is not an enemy and there is no war to fight. When the inner critic appears, observe it with curiosity and gentle awareness. Carefully notice each thought with tenderness and compassion. Lean in to look carefully at the very thought that seems to want to crush you. The very act of observing your thoughts of “never enough” itself is healing, because this observation reminds you that who you are is vastly larger than any thought form. This kind of nonjudgmental presence toward ourselves and even our inner critic is the birthplace of love.
Disagree without demonizing.
Only compassion will heal our cynicism.
The marketplace of ideas at the heart of any healthy democracy has devolved from passionate civil discourse to an exercise in diagnosing pathology. In this climate, the people with whom we differ are no longer simply wrong, they are commonly characterized as neurotic, scheming, foolish and pathologically evil. Personal attacks have not only become acceptable but expected. We need a new humility of speech. An era of growing fragmentation calls for us to use language with deep care. Without compassion, we will unwittingly poison our own hearts with toxic cynicism and paranoia. In the end, we become what we hate. Let’s practice compassion together and walk the courageous path of choosing to see the infinite worth of all people even those with whom we disagree.
Live life for yourself
but not only for yourself.
Copper Beech Institute is a community of souls who wish to be of service in the world. We seek to love ourselves AND to love others…to serve others AND to allow ourselves to be served…to receive AND to give. So honor your truth, listen to your intuition, speak your voice, care for yourself, surrender your need for approval, trust your inner guidance...AND, AND, AND do so in a way that serves not only your highest purpose, but also the highest purpose of the community of beings that you share this earth with. To fail to live life for yourself is to live an exhausted, unbalanced existence in which you are shackled to the whims and demands of others. To live life only for yourself is to live in bitter isolation, shackled to an inner narcissist who will crave love but never find the mutuality and affection that you crave. We practice mindfulness so we can learn to do both.