Nourishing an Undefended Heart

A nine-minute practice to direct our awareness toward what pains us.

So, what does care look like in the presence of difficulty? I think we can safely say that we all care, but are we caring about the right things? These are the words of Hafiz, a poet from antiquity: “My dear, is it true that your mind is sometimes like a battering ram, running all through the city, shouting so madly inside and out about the 10,000 things that do not matter?”

I think we all have moments in our lives that wake us up to what matters most. I have one: when my son Valentino was about a month old, I had to rush him to the hospital. It’s there that we learned he needed emergency surgery. It wasn’t even me running into that hospital with him—it was every parent who ever carried their sick child or sick baby. It’s easy to forget in those moments that what we’re actually doing is learning something about this human condition. 

How do we train the heart to relax so we can learn about this phenomenon of being human? And how do we make it less about our individual pain, but connect instead to THE pain, and all the beings who share…


Get practices, tips, and special offers delivered straight to your inbox

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
About the author

Vinny Ferraro

Vinny Ferraro has been a practitioner of insight meditation (vipassanā) since the early 1990s. He is a co-Founder of the Dharma Punx and co-Guiding Teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. He is also a nationally recognized leader in designing and implementing interventions for at-risk adolescents and is currently Senior Trainer for Mindful Schools. In 1987, he began leading groups in drug rehabilitation centers, juvenile halls, and halfway houses. In 2001, he began teaching for Challenge Day, a nationally recognized, social & emotional learning program, eventually becoming their Director of Training and leading workshops for over 110,000 youth on four continents. Vinny is also a board member and former Training Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project and is the principal author of MBA’s mindfulness-based curriculum for incarcerated youth. Vinny has received national media coverage for his work with adults and youth; his work is the subject of the MTV series “If You Really Knew Me…”