The one who bows and the one who is bowed to
are by nature boundless.
That is why the communication between them
is inexpressibly perfect.
This gatha is chanted at the beginning of the ritual of touching the earth (prostrations). Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Teachings on Love that when we practice touching the earth, we
surrender our pride, notions, fears, resentments, and even our hopes,
and enter the world of ‘things as they are.’
On Monday, I described a breathing meditation that began with opening to the entirety of our experience; an expansive bowl in which everything sits, non-judgmentally, non-preferentially. The second stage of the breathing meditation is to bring our attention to the breath at the nostrils. Rest there, allowing the bowl of awareness to simply sit on the rise and fall of the breath. In this stage, we rest. Awareness rests. Thoughts, desires, wilfulness, control all rest. There is nothing made, nothing contrived, nothing given, nothing taken away from the experience in this moment. This is equanimity.
The practice of equanimity is a practice of love. It is another chamber in the heart that beats for all beings. Like lovingkindness and resonant joy, it is a practice of surrender. We are asked to hand over all our ideas and opinions about this moment, this person. The stories of attachment and betrayal, the tales of joy and woe – check them in at the cloakroom and don’t ask for a ticket to reclaim them.
Only then can we enter the boundless nature of relationship.