The holidays are upon us. The dark has moved in.
My son is home from college.
We begin our traditions. My
human sentiments come upon me strong.
The passions of our attachments to people and situations in our life are
strong and wonderful even though,
in Buddhist terminology, they are attachments. They are often a major part of the meaning of my life,
my roles as wife, lover, mother, sister etc. I am struck with the lyrics from “How do you keep the music
playing?” A song written by Alan
and Marilyn Bergman that sings “the more
I love, the more that I’m afraid.”
How true that is. “The
more I love, the more that I’m afraid.” If I dare to open my heart as wide as it can be and the
deeper I allow love in, the more I am afraid of the losses that will inevitable
come. One of our impermanence
verses declares "meeting will end in
separation." Oh dear, what do I
do about this deep, painful, human predicament; that to deeply love, we have to
be willing to deeply grieve.
For me, this is the exact point where having a deeply
spiritual life is a necessity. How
do I fully love and fully feel loss without going crazy or shutting down or not
allowing love in the first place?
How can I be completely open to my karmic life so that I can deeply
experience this one precious human life?
What does it mean to have Buddha’s heart? Open and all-inclusive. In order to have Buddha’s heart, I have
to increase my capacity to be intimate with suffering. I have to learn the deep, deep patience
of acceptance so that I can live in this one day and experience it fully. This is the great practice and the
demand of a Buddhist life. Being
intimate with suffering with no escape.
Not only that, but once you open your heart, other’s suffering become
your own. In that case, there is
not a single day where the tenderness towards suffering can be avoided or not practiced.
I have been writing holiday notes to my friends who have
experienced harsh suffering in the past year. What do I say?
I have found myself saying that I hope they can find the small joys of
the day; the dawn light, a smile, a feeling of love, the sound of the trees,
that can help them sustain themselves through the difficulties.
Going to one of the loving-kindness slogans: May loving kindness sustain me. May I accept the ups and downs of life.
The development of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity
is the basis of our Buddhist practice and yet it is not easily attained. We have to practice in many small ways
every day so that when deep trouble and loss comes, we have a stability to our
understanding that will allow us to receive our life as a Buddha, not attached
to gain and loss, but willing to be very, very intimate with joy and suffering
Then, perhaps, we can be unafraid to love.
Labels: acceptance, Buddha's heart, gain and loss, love and grief., loving-kindness phrases, the divine abodes, the four immeasurables, the four worldly winds