Awakening is in the wounds themselves, when we perceive their “we-ness.”

We respect and tend the wounds without fixating on them as being only wounds.

Until wounds evoke our mercy and acceptance in the deepest way, we will not be able to cultivate actual compassion.

What to do around woundedness? Just as we move gently and carefully around a person with a broken arm on the subway, we exercise care and gentleness toward our own and others’ wounds.

Our wounds are the bridge to authentic compassion. We want to fix or remove them before listening to their teaching.

If others’ wounds aren’t recognized as being our own, how will we awaken?

Whatever irritates, frightens, or disgusts us about another is a portal to our own awakening, if we allow ourselves to go through the door back to ourselves right then, bravely.Whatever irritates, frightens, or disgusts us about ourselves asks our utmost care, observation, love, and gentleness; not abrasion, criticism, disdain, or chilly dismissal. We wouldn’t use Comet to wash a skinned knee would we?

We look carefully at what triggers us. We get down and dirty with the stuff we push out again and again when we insist it’s “out there.”

To be brought to an awareness of the depth of woundedness is a great gift, not something to be shunned, feared, or ashamed of: it is the universal condition, expressed in our particularities.

Being brought by sometimes painful collision with our wounds or limitations to that awareness can evoke insight into the First Noble Truth: there is stress, there is suffering, there is dissatisfactoriness.

Without this insight we cannot gain benefit from a liberative path: like building a castle on the sand.

But suffering, dissatisfaction, and misery are not the whole story. Step by step. There is a boundlessness of quiet exuberance in awakening. If we arrive at an insight into the First Noble Truth we don’t throw that wet cold blanket on others. It’s for us to awaken, not them. They will arrive when it is time. And maybe they’ve already understood, be careful.

Awakening involves holding the misery with recognition and kindness. Awakening is the process of understanding that misery is not the whole story, never was, and never will be. This is why we tend to resonate with stories of healing and redemption and growth as transcendence.

The wound itself is the healing ointment, as from it, carefully held, true compassion arises, which recognizes that no line or wall has ever existed between “self” and “other”.  When the walls turn into bridges our territory is enriched and expanded to include more possibility.