There’s no need to banish our longings or our aspirations, because we can recognize the gold and the beauty at the center of them. When we relate to them wisely, they can fuel our practice. They can be onward-leading.

That said, if we forget to invite openness and kindness, our longings can fuel tension or over-efforting. And then we start to shame and blame ourselves when our practice at the current moment doesn’t match up with our aspirations.

That’s when the inner critic can come in and make our inner world feel so untenable and so oppressive that we don’t even want to practice. So we want to protect our aspirations and the gold within them, making sure that they’re not hijacked by the inner critic and over-efforting.

From Tricycle’s July 2021 Dharma Talk series “The Steadying Power of Patience” with Dawn Scott