You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.
We now see that the only way that we could love ourselves is by loving others,
and the only way that we could truly love others is to love ourselves.
The difference between self-love and love of others is very small,
once we really understand.”
― Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion:
In the Collective Kensho of that era, many of us had been to the mountain top. There, we were touched deeply by the One Love that permeates and transcends the universe. We saw the Real Deal.
But seeing it -- and even believing in it -- isn't enough.
In English, love could be the word that attempts to describe the spiritual glow that emerges from the ethereal domain of unconditional, unselfish agape on the one hand. Or, just as readily, the word could be used to indicate the self-absorbed fiery emotion that erupts from the nether realms of green eyed monsters and wrathful, jealous gods. (It's pretty clear that "I love you so much that I'll kill anyone who looks at you, and then you," isn't exactly what Jesus and Buddha had in mind when they taught about Love.)
It seems that a bit more precision would be helpful.
Love Is More Than A Four-Letter Word!
Unfettered by a preoccupation with self-referenced ideas of good and bad (which are most often cloaked variations of "what's in it for me?), we engage Mindful Awareness. Totally opening our hearts and minds to what is, not just to what we want it to be, Love becomes our natural state.
Just Sit On It, Buddhy!
It may seem preposterous to claim that Just Sitting Still could ultimately lead to the realization of True Love but, for some of us, that's the deal. The process of being Present to one's own breath, bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, and awareness can open the Gateless Gate to our True Nature.
It's just that simple.
Of course, simple doesn't mean easy. A regular meditation practice takes commitment and courage. It takes the willingness to face yourself -- and all that you've denied and repressed -- openly and honestly. It takes getting out of your head and into your heart to face, and embrace, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Again and again and again.
Yet, with persistent and gentle effort, Mindful Awareness emerges and deepens. With Practice, our minds clear and our hearts open to embrace and explore all the patterns of feeling, thought and action that diminish and distort our ability to be peaceful and loving. Over time, both on and off the meditation cushion, we see clearly that the conditioned patterns of grasping and pushing away, and the resultant pains, fears, and resentments that emerge in ourselves and in others, are the root cause of human suffering.
We also come to see clearly that, like everything else, those feelings are just energies. They are fundamentally insubstantial and impermanent. They are just clouds passing through the infinite expanse of a vast, clear sky.
This changes everything.
At a certain point, its power over us dissolves. Our True Nature emerges -- and we are free to Be who we truly are. At that point, Life itself becomes a Love Affair.
It just takes Practice.
Originally posted, April 24, 2015. Revised.