Standing By One’s Core

Glimpsing someone thoroughly being their true self is akin to catching a peony the moment it opens in the sun. Being in the presence of someone courageous enough to hold nothing back is like witnessing the perfect curl of surf give itself over to a thirsty shore. It is always stunning and subtle, essential and elusive. It refreshes your own courage and sense of being here. How can you be inspired to better stand by your core?

Solitude does not mean living apart from others; it means never living apart from one’s self.
–Parker Palmer

The Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa sees the heart as a pilot light for all the vital energies. Whether you are inclined to Buddhist tradition or not, this is an apt metaphor for standing by one’s core. In regard to our souls, it is essential for each of us to learn: What is the pilot light for us? What form of heart and practice keeps it lit? And what can the pilot light illuminate, warm, and ignite in the world?

In the Middle East, the Aramaic word for heart comes from a root that means passion, courage, and vitality. It literally refers to the heart or center of one’s life, the consciousness of one’s core. If we are to stay vitally alive, we need to continually realize (make real) how we are linked to the center and how our awareness grows for living there.

In deep and crucial ways, the work of heart and mind is to stand by the center of life (accessed most intimately through the center of one’s own life), and the work of consciousness is to listen to what that ever-present center continually says, though it may speak in languages other than the ones we are used to.

The ancient Tao can be understood in these terms. Our ongoing work is to stand by the Tao, that mystical current of life, as we would a mountain stream in spring and to drink from it, not just to sustain our bodies, but as a way to imbibe its way. Till we think and move like a mountain.

Adapted from Facing the Lion, Being the Lion by Mark Nepo (Conari Press, 2007). Copyright (c) 2007 by Mark Nepo. Reprinted by permission of Conari Press.
Adapted from Facing the Lion, Being the Lion by Mark Nepo (Conari Press, 2007).


Jeff J.
Richard N9 years ago

Nice post...

Elly Yule
Past Member 11 years ago

I am Robin! For me the core is our Soul Fire, it is essential that we keep that lit and provide it with the fuel it needs to survive. Listening to what it needs, acting on that and most of all honouring it so that we can ignite our potential and manifest it in this life.

Robin Rice
Robin Rice11 years ago

Beautiful thoughts!!! When all else fails, the core stands... for what is the question. For me, core is beauty. I need it. Not to be it, per se, but to see it, in the actions of others, in the mountains (I was in Otavalo, Ecuador, last week...oh my oh my!), in the waters. Keep your core happy, cleansed, vital, passionate...and all else follows. Who is with me? Hugs, Robin