love

The heart is made up of four chambers and the kanji for “heart” is a schematic for it.  What I love about the script is the openness, the way it rolls off the brush to sit on the paper, an upright bowl ready to hold anything.  In our mindfulness courses, I describe a 3-stage breathing meditation that begins with allowing everything in the sense perceptions to fall into awareness, into a bowl.  Let it all drop into the well of awareness without judgment of or preferences for it.  A spacious containing of all that is present in that in- and out-breath.

When we let the entirety of our experience sit in the bowl of awareness, we begin to develop an understanding of what these perceptions, experiences are.  Usually though, we tend to push it away at first twinge or consume it ravenously at first delight with barely a sense of what it was.  Letting all the elements of our experience show themselves, their true nature, is an invitation to intimacy.

This is love.

Simple, bare awareness that is already open, accepting, and encompassing.

Love is the first of the Four Divine Abodes or the Four Immeasurable Minds.  It is known as maitri or metta.  It is not sentimental or cloying.  It is an honest, courageous willingness to be open (vulnerable) to the whole tidal cycle of our life – moment by moment.

Favourite books on metta:

Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg

Eight Mindfulness Steps to Happiness by Bhante Gunaratana

Happiness by Mathieu Ricard

in the service of true effort

Etena sacca vajjena sotthi te hotu sabbada

By the firm determination of the truth, may you ever be well.

Mette Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1.8

How we interpret the vows we take, how we choose to meet the aspirations we hold, is up to each of us.  Perhaps, for me, it will only ever be a process of knowing when I’m not in balance.  And, at that point of imbalance, putting in the effort to find a better way to be in service.

Thank you for practising,

Genju