Last week I was lecturing over skype about the mask, or persona, which is the face we present the world to stay safe and get what we want. Sometimes wearing a mask works out, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not a bad thing. But if we go through life unconscious of our mask, it is certain to leave us exhausted, alone, anxious and with all sorts of unintended consequences in our lives.
So, as the teaching yesterday was winding down, a student asked, “How do you make friends with your mask?” Great question.
It’s the same as making friends with any other defensive adaptation. Just recognize the original intention is to avoid pain and seek happiness. Then cultivate compassion for the part of you that wants out of pain so badly that you would contort yourself and pretend to be someone you are not. And cultivate lovingkindness for the part of you that wants happiness so badly and is confused enough to think it can be found through hiding the beautiful truth of who your are. If we take this compassionate perspective further, we might even come to the ironic conclusion that the mask is really just compassion and kindness in disguise. And that’s a disguise worth befriending.
by Lionheart Teacher, Jonathan Bessone